Select 'Print' in your browser menu to print this document.
For This GC, Small Business is a Big Deal
The work Tom Sullivan does as the Bipartisan Policy Center’s new general counsel is no small business.
Sullivan started as the center’s first general counsel on May 1 and will be responsible for issues ranging from compliance with Internal Revenue Service and lobbying disclosure rules to advising the think tank’s policymaking efforts.
Sullivan moves to the Bipartisan Policy Center after years of working with small businesses. Most recently, Sullivan was a partner with Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough, where he ran the Small Business Coalition for Regulatory Relief and represented clients during the regulatory and rulemaking processes.
“I’m a regulatory nerd,” he says.
Before his work at the firm, he was taking care of business at the National Federation of Independent Business, where he was the original executive director of its legal center, which was recently the lead plaintiff challenging the Affordable Care Act.
“I like taking credit for starting something that became a remarkable advocate for small business,” he said. “It’s neat having the opportunity to represent small business, and then having the opportunity to create a new entity.”
Sullivan also served as the chief counsel for advocacy at the U.S. Small Business Administration under President George W. Bush. During his seven-year term with the SBA, Inc. magazine named him one of “an entrepreneur’s best friends in Washington, D.C.”
Sullivan first became interested in public policy when he spent two summers at the Environmental Protection Agency as an intern during law school at Suffolk University.
“Those first two summers I spent at the EPA were incredible,” he says. “People call it ‘Potomac Fever’; the idea that you can work hard and make a difference for a lot of people is really intoxicating.”
Sullivan, who has fought for reduction in regulatory constraints for small businesses and is a registered Republican, says that his strong views and experience will be an asset in his new position.
“The Bipartisan Policy Center wants its staff to have strong political opinions, so I fit right in,” he says. “Making sure the organization follows the law has nothing to do with being a Republican or Democrat.”