There is an old adage in Washington: “If you’re not at the table, you’re on the menu”.  Not being part of the discussion can cost businesses and associations dearly when legislators and bureaucrats negotiate laws or rules under which we must operate. Every day, decisions are made inside the Beltway which have dramatic effects on the people who make America work. Lobbyit was formed to take back the lobbying industry. We provide basic and transparent services starting at just $995 per month. Our structure and ethos eliminate the barriers to entry for those who, for too long, could not afford to participate in decisions that impacted their lives, businesses and industries. Lobbyit’s new breed of lobbyists know the United States is supposed to be a government of the people and for the people. Let us help you amplify your voice in the corridors of power.

MEET THE TEAM

Our core staff is quite simply the best there is. Managing the day-to-day operations of our rapidly expanding practice takes the brightest talent available. We are proud to call them ours.

Paul Kanitra, Founder & President

Paul Kanitra, Founder and President of Lobbyit, is a prominent, nationally recognized leader and innovator at the forefront of a groundbreaking movement in the Washington lobbying industry. Paul brings with him over a decade of unique and varied legislative experience and a political background that includes work in Congress on behalf of large and small corporations, non-profit associations, municipalities and Native American reservations. He currently serves as a member of the Board of Directors for the Association of Government Relations Professionals and as Chairman of the Standards & Ethics Committee.

After many successes in the lobbying industry, Paul has leveraged his contacts, expertise, resources, and reputation to establish a dynamic, cutting-edge lobbying firm with a revolutionary business model. His firm, Lobbyit provides comprehensive, professional, and affordable representation to a diverse clientele. By making the services of Washington DC lobbyists accessible to a broader client population, Lobbyit provides a voice to companies and organizations that have had little or no representation in the past.

Featured in prominent national publications such as The Washington Post, WallStreetJournal.com, and Worth Magazine, Lobbyit has quickly become a major player in the DC lobbying industry. Since founding the company early in 2009, Paul has scored significant victories for a wide range of clients in appropriations, taxes, licensing, data access, consumer protections, and land usage. He has led efforts and built alliances that have resulted in regulatory changes, widespread Congressional support, and numerous legislative successes.

As the leader of this new class of lobbying firms, Paul is especially proficient at building coalitions and mobilizing grassroots efforts to strengthen his clients’ voices. His prowess at government relations ensures he is able to meet his client’s numerous legislative and regulatory goals. Paul believes strongly in running a lobbying firm for the rest of us.

Originally from Point Pleasant Beach, NJ, Paul graduated from Texas Christian University in Fort Worth, Texas, with a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science. He is a member of the American League of Lobbyists and active in multiple philanthropic organizations such as Hoops for Hope and Clean Ocean Action.

Max Perkins, Vice President

Max Perkins began his career on Capitol Hill in 2008 as a non-partisan staffer for the U.S. Senate Committee on Rules and Administration. While serving the Rules Committee, Mr. Perkins worked under the direction of distinguished leaders in Congress, such as Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) and current Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-NY), as well as former-Senator Robert Bennett (R-UT). Mr. Perkins’ responsibilities at the Committee included research and analysis of Senate rules and procedure, including legal research of the Senate’s filibuster rules; assisting in the management of Committee operations, serving as a staff liaison to Senators assigned to the Committee; and coordinating and moderating the annual Summer Intern Lecture Series, which brings high-profile lecturers from politics and pop culture to Capitol Hill. He fondly recalls successful engagements with former Defense Secretary Robert Gates, Supreme Court Justices Sonia Sotomayor and Ruth Bader Ginsburg, U.S. Army General (Ret.) Colin Powell, famed political prognosticator Charlie Cook, political journalist Cokie Roberts, and MSNBC Political Contributor Chris Cillizza.

Before joining Lobbyit as its Vice President in 2017, Mr. Perkins spent 7 years at Van Scoyoc Associates, the largest independently-owned lobbying firm in Washington, D.C., representing state, county, and local government agencies. Mr. Perkins continued his non-partisan professional development while at VSA, assisting state and local agencies with issue development and advocacy before Congress and the Executive Branch. Mr. Perkins covered a broad swath of domestic policy areas including appropriations and budget initiatives, natural resources management, transportation and water infrastructure policy and funding, public health and safety initiatives, floodplain management policy, and regulatory intervention. Most notably, Mr. Perkins successfully advocated for National Flood Insurance Program reform, which prevented the federal government from mandating flood insurance coverage and local building restrictions for communities already protected by resilient flood control structures. The elimination of the problematic language from the 2012 NFIP policy reauthorization legislation saved individuals, businesses, and governments nationwide hundred of millions of dollars in unnecessary flood insurance premiums and protected community redevelopment initiatives nationwide. Max has also been successful in advocating for federal funding for gray and green flood control infrastructure, water desalination plant construction, community engagement programs for Alzheimer’s patients, community redevelopment projects, and wildfire resiliency initiatives.

As Lobbyit’s newest team member, Mr. Perkins serves a diverse client roster, including industry associations, professional societies, municipal governments, non-profits, and privately-owned corporations. He brings a non-partisan approach to advocacy; seeking to build lasting relationships in government for his clients. Mr. Perkins offers strategic intelligence and advise that allows Lobbyit’s partners to successfully navigate the often treacherous waters of the Federal City.

Mr. Perkins is especially honored to have had the unique opportunity to serve as a Staff Assistant to the Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies in preparation of the 2009 swearing-in ceremony of President Barak Obama. He was trusted with organizing and coordinating over 100 volunteers on inauguration day and will forever remember spending time that day with Barbara Bush, Henry and Jenna Hager, and former Heavyweight Champion Muhammed Ali.

Mr. Perkins received his Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from The Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C., and lives in Alexandria, VA with his wife, Caitlyn, and son, Luke.

Michael Blake Bezruki, Vice President

Michael Blake Bezruki began his career working on a U.S. House of Representatives race in his home state of Illinois, assisting with strategic communications and outreach to community leaders. In 2014, Michael Blake went on to serve as a Government Affairs Consultant for a Washington, D.C.-based public affairs firm, advising the firm’s trade association clients on best practices in lobbying and grassroots advocacy.

Prior to joining Lobbyit, Michael Blake was the Advocacy Director for Wells Fargo, based in Washington, D.C. where he oversaw the legislative and political engagement of Wells Fargo’s senior corporate leaders and more than 260,000 employees nationwide. In this role, Michael leveraged Wells Fargo’s unique company story and national footprint to help advance and restore the bank’s reputation with policymakers on Capitol Hill, as the organization undertook efforts to support its customers through the Paycheck Protection Program and other COVID-19 economic relief efforts. In this role, Michael Blake also worked to establish Wells Fargo’s reputation as a leader in corporate responsibility by launching the bank’s national voter education campaigns and policymaker engagement series, partnering with community and government organizations to support Wells Fargo’s customers and employees engaging in policy and the political process.

Before his role at Wells Fargo, Michael Blake served on the government relations team at the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) as their Director of Grassroots Programs. In this position, Michael Blake helped lead the trade association’s advocacy efforts on a number of issues critical to the housing industry with federal, state, and local policymakers. He also worked to elevate the organization’s national political profile through the implementation of NAHB’s Congressional Endorsement and Defender of Housing programs.

As an experienced political operative, Michael Blake is a two-time recipient (2017 & 2018) of Campaign & Elections Magazine’s Reed Award for excellence in political advocacy. Michael Blake is a graduate of Eastern Illinois University and resides in Washington, D.C., where he spends his free time serving on the boards of two non-profit organizations focused on advocating for policies supporting the development of affordable housing in the Washington, D.C. area.

Jason Ortega, Vice President of Legislative and Regulatory Affairs

Jason Ortega, a licensed attorney and MBA, began his career as an Intern at Lobbyit in 2014. One year later, he re-joined the firm in a full-time capacity as Manager of Legislative & Regulatory Analysis. During his time away from Lobbyit, Jason worked as a policy assistant at Monument Advocacy, a government relations firm with offices in Washington, D.C., San Francisco, and Seattle. In addition to his advocacy experience, Jason practiced law with a real estate due diligence law firm in Columbia, Maryland and served as a senior aide to a D.C.-city council campaign.

Since starting at Lobbyit as an unpaid intern, Jason has risen through the ranks to become Vice President, providing expert counsel and professional advocacy services to entities of varied backgrounds. He currently manages a portfolio of clients which includes many of the firm’s industry associations, directing their government relations strategies on a range of domestic and international priorities, such as healthcare, technology development, education, and labor law. On behalf of his clients, Jason monitors all relevant legislative and regulatory activity in Washington and in many state legislatures across the country, produces in-depth analysis and strategic advice, and provides expertise on accessing federal government assistance through Congress and the Executive Branch. Additionally, Jason provides an invaluable presence within the firm’s business operations hierarchy; working in every aspect of the firm’s management activity, he oversees operations and vendor relationships, and assists in developing partnerships with industry stakeholders.

Mr. Ortega hails from Chattanooga, TN, and earned his BS in Business from Southern Adventist University, and his JD/MBA from The Ohio State University. He is licensed to practice law in Ohio.

Jake Kohn, Director of Government Relations

Jake Kohn joined the LobbyIt team in June 2021 as Director of Government Relations. Jake plays an important role in the continued development and execution of all strategic initiatives on behalf of a large and diverse client roster. He works to define and advance policy and advocacy issues, perform background research, and organize and lead meetings with internal and external stakeholders.

Jake came to LobbyIt after founding his own firm, Kohn Law & Policy, where he provided legislative and regulatory analysis for clients at the state and federal level. Prior to that, Jake worked as a legislative associate at Rapoza Associates, where he developed his skills in legislative affairs, advocacy, and coalition management. He was the policy lead for the National Rural Housing Coalition and his portfolio focused on rural housing and development along with federal community financial investment policy. During this time, he generated and maintained relationships in Congress, planned and executed conferences and briefings on the Hill, acted as a federal agency liaison, prepared testimony, submitted regulatory comments, and distributed legislative updates and advocacy opportunities.

Before Rapoza Associates, Jake served as legislative counsel for the Washington D.C. City Council Committee on Finance and Revenue. While working for the City Council he managed a policy portfolio including budget, transportation, and judiciary issues. When Jake first arrived in the District in 2015, he worked as an associate at American Bridge, an opposition research firm, where he performed policy and legal research and worked as part of a team to produce reliable and actionable information. Jake started his political career working on campaigns in New York at the city and federal level.

Jake grew up in West Bloomfield, Michigan. He earned his BA from Yeshiva University and his JD from Brooklyn Law School. He is licensed in Washington D.C. and New York.

Justin Lewis, Government Relations Director

Justin Lewis joined Lobbyit as the firm’s Government Relations Manager in January 2020 and was promoted to Director in April 2021. He leads representation of Lobbyit’s international affairs and defense related clients, along with several domestic trade associations and clean energy companies. In December 2020, Justin successfully advocated for the expansion of Paycheck Protection Program eligibility to 501(c)6 nonprofit organizations.

Prior to joining Lobbyit, Justin was the External Affairs Manager at the Fuel Cell and Hydrogen Energy Association (FCHEA) in Washington, D.C. At FCHEA, Justin assisted with the association’s government relations and communications priorities. During this time, he helped attain record-high appropriations for the U.S. Department of Energy’s Hydrogen and Fuel Cell R&D program, reinstate tax incentives critical to the industry’s early-market success, and elevate the profile of fuel cell technologies on Capitol Hill.

Before FCHEA, Justin served as the Legislative Representative at Alliance Management Group, a boutique trade association management firm. In this position, he advocated on behalf of the National Retail Federation’s supply chain policy agenda, among other clients’ priorities. Working with a coalition of retail industry representatives, Justin helped secure several important provisions for multimodal transportation in the 2015 Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act.

Justin grew up in Cherry Hill, New Jersey. He holds an MA in National Security Policy from Georgetown University and a BA in Political Science from the George Washington University.

Ashley Solle, Policy and Operations Associate

Ashley joined LobbyIt as a Policy and Operations Associate in November 2020. Her responsibilities include providing strategic support for client policy initiatives, conducting research and analysis, assisting with the firm’s business development activities, and managing the intern program. Ashley’s work covers a wide range of industries and policy areas, including education, workforce development, healthcare, small businesses, criminal justice, environmental, foreign affairs, and manufacturing.

Prior to joining LobbyIt, Ashley worked in business development at a large legal services company in Chicago, supporting clients in the energy, manufacturing, consumer services, technology, and education industries on project management for legal and regulatory matters.

Originally from Grand Rapids, Michigan, Ashley attended the University of Michigan and completed her BA in Political Science and International Security, Norms, and Cooperation in 2019. Throughout her 4 years at Michigan, she worked as a policy research assistant focusing on cybersecurity, human rights, civil conflict, and African politics.

While completing her undergraduate degree, Ashley interned with ECPAT-USA, a UNICEF-affiliate NGO focused on anti-trafficking and child protection. There, she supported government relations and corporate social responsibility efforts. Ashley has also interned for a youth-focused refugee and immigrant services non-profit, and volunteered as an ESL teacher, both internationally in Quito, Ecuador and through local youth programs and refugee resettlement organizations.

Want to become a part of the Lobbyit team? Find out about our career opportunities.

LET’S START A DISCUSSION

CAPITOL HILL OFFICE
430 New Jersey Ave SE, Washington, DC
202.587.2736 | info@lobbyit.com