A version of this story first appeared in D.C. Diagnosis, STAT’s weekly newsletter about the intersection of health and politics. Sign up here to receive it in your inbox.
WASHINGTON — It’s that magical time, when government staffers trade in their badges and their lowly government salaries for jobs at some of Washington’s most powerful (and highest paying) law firms and lobbying shops.
But this transition could be a little different.
One recruiter who specializes in placing government officials as lobbyists told STAT he’s already seen K Street bristle at hiring Trump administration officials. He added that officials seen as less political are showing themselves more likely to be hired.
“I have had a lot of people reach out … and sadly, I haven’t been able to help most of them,” said Ivan Adler, who previously specialized in recruiting for K street at the McCormick Group and now runs his own recruiting firm, and goes by “the Lobbyist Hunter.”
“I feel legitimately bad for them because they have wives, and kids, and colleges, and houses, and boats — it’s a challenge, no doubt about it,” Adler added.
Nonetheless, some of the most respected health staffers in the Trump orbit are already being scooped up by K street. Here are the moves that are catching our eye.
- Kimberly Brandt, who served as principal deputy administrator for operations and policy at CMS, will now become a partner at the lobbying firm Tarplin Downs & Young, the firm announced yesterday. TDY represents a slew of drug makers including Merck, Pfizer and Eli Lilly.
- Greg D’Angelo, who served as associate director for health programs at the Office of Management and Budget, is now a vice president at the Nickles Group, which represents virtually everyone in the health care space from the American Hospital Association to big drug makers like Bristol Myers Squibb and smaller companies like Editas and Bluebird Bio.
- Virginia Heppner McMillin, who previously served as special assistant to the president for legislative affairs and a health advisor to Senate HELP committee chair Lamar Alexander, is opening up a D.C. office for Jazz pharma, according to two people familiar with the news.
- Will Brady, who served as chief of staff to HHS Deputy Secretary Eric Hargan, was hired by Optum last month.
- Jeet Guram, who served as senior advisor to both FDA commissioner Stephen Hahn and CMS administrator Seema Verma, is rejoining his previous employer, McKinsey & Company.
- Lowell Schiller, who served as senior counselor to former FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb and the agency’s principal associate commissioner for policy, is now the chief legal and regulatory officer for Aetion, a health care technology company.
- Brian Stimson, who served as HHS principal deputy general counsel, was hired by McDermot as a partner this month. Stimson “counsels clients on how to navigate complex disputes that present overlapping legal, regulatory, public policy and business considerations.” His hiring was first announced in November, before the Capitol uprising.
- Matthew Hittle, who served as a senior policy advisor to CMS administrator Seema Verma, joined the law firm Akin Gump in December. He is advising clients “on health policy and regulatory compliance issues, including coverage, coding and pricing; value-based payment; health innovations; and COVID-19.” He has not yet registered as a lobbyist.
- Stacy Cline Amin, who served as FDA chief counsel stepped down yesterday, January 11th. It’s unclear where Cline Amin will land next.
- Ryan Long, who served as staff director for the Energy & Commerce Committee under retired chairman Greg Walden (R-Ore.), announced earlier this month that he was leaving the committee, but it’s not clear yet where he’ll end up, either. This was Long’s second stint with the E&C: He served as health counsel from 2004 to 2013 before taking a brief sojourn at the lobbying firm BGR Group. Long’s departure follows the October departure of staff director Mike Bloombquist, who is now a partner at the law firm Venable.