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 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.
Richard Hoar, Executive Vice President
Richard Hoar is Lobbyit’s Executive Vice President. He manages the firm’s team of lobbyists and provides government relations and political intelligence services to the firm’s clients. His policy areas of expertise include travel & hospitality, education & workforce, trade & commerce, and defense & security issues, gained from eight years of experience in the government relations sector and another decade of service as a senior staff member on Capitol Hill.
Prior to becoming a government relations professional, Richard served 4.5 years as the Deputy Chief of Staff and Legislative Director for U.S. Representative Gus Bilirakis (R-FL), where he served as the congressman’s chief policy advisor, providing legislative and political advice on all issue areas as they relate to the congressman’s policy goals and congressional district.
Prior to joining Rep. Bilirakis’ office in 2010, Mr. Hoar served for six years as a professional staff member for the House Committee on Education and the Workforce, where he worked on legislative issues regarding labor and workforce policy, helping Republican committee members pursue policies and oversight that encouraged and allowed employers to provide jobs to the economy, workers with safe and healthy work environments, and reforms to the federal government.
Hailing from the Tampa Bay area and a former military intelligence officer in the Army Reserve, Mr. Hoar earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from George Washington University.
Michael Blake Bezruki, Vice President of Government Relations
Michael Blake Bezruki brings nearly a decade of government relations experience to Lobbyit, having represented both major corporations and trade associations on Capitol Hill and in state capitals across the country. Prior to joining firm, Michael Blake Bezruki served as 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 Blake 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 worked for the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) as a Director on the Intergovernmental Affairs team. 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.
Michael Blake 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. Michael Blake then 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.
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.
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 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 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.