Republican candidate Jeb Bush addresses Thumbtack employees in San Francisco. (Jason Doiy / The Recorder)
Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney has formed an affiliation with former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and his consulting firm Jeb Bush & Associates, the firms announced Monday.
The move comes two years after Buchanan Ingersoll significantly expanded its Florida lobbying presence through the merger of Fowler White Boggs, and a year after it added seven lobbyists to its government relations practice in Tallahassee, making Pittsburgh-based Buchanan Ingersoll one of the largest lobbying shops in Florida.
John “Mac” Stipanovich, chairman of Buchanan Ingersoll’s Florida government relations practice, is a longtime friend and adviser to Bush. And the new affiliation will focus most of its efforts in Florida, where Bush was a two-term governor.
“Those of us who have had the pleasure of working with the governor in the past now have the opportunity to do so again, and those who haven’t can look forward to a truly rewarding experience,” Stipanovich said in a statement. “This is an exciting development for the firm and for our clients.”
Under the terms of the deal, Bush will act as a strategic consultant to Buchanan Ingersoll and its clients. Buchanan Ingersoll CEO Joseph Dougherty said in a statement that few people have the experience Bush brings to the table in both the public and private sector.
“We live in a complex business and political environment, and I believe that putting my knowledge and experience together with Buchanan’s professional acumen will help Buchanan’s clients grow and prosper,” Bush said in a statement.
A spokeswoman for Buchanan Ingersoll said no one would be commenting on the affiliation.
While the statement announcing the deal included information on Bush’s political career and work in the private sector, it did not mention his recent run for president in the 2016 Republican primary. Bush refused to endorse the victor of the primary and ultimate winner of the election, President-elect Donald Trump. And Bush’s friend and adviser, Stipanovich, did not hold back during the campaign on his thoughts about Trump.
In the weeks leading up to the election, Stipanovich was quoted as saying, “I will try to gut Donald Trump with a dull deerhandler,” adding that he thought “the country faces a significant danger from a Trump presidency.” And in an open letter to fellow Republicans after the primary concluded, Stipanovich urged them to vote for Hillary Clinton or not vote at all.
But any potential ill will may not come into play too much for this new affiliation. Buchanan Ingersoll has always focused more of its lobbying efforts at the state level. And Bush’s work will not come in the form of lobbying, but instead will focus on business counsel to Buchanan Ingersoll’s clients, the firm said.
The firm has nearly 500 attorneys and government relations professionals in 18 offices in the United States. There are about 90 lawyers and government relations professionals in Florida. Aside from its lobbying work in Florida, Buchanan Ingersoll also has a strong government relations practice in Pennsylvania.
Jeb Bush & Associates was formed shortly after Bush left the governor’s office in 2007. According to a Washington Post report, Bush has advised the likes of Lehman Bros. and Barclays and has earned speaking fees through the company. Bush’s ties to Buchanan Ingersoll go beyond Stipanovich. Mike Harrell, who was one of the seven lobbyists who joined Buchanan Ingersoll last year in Tallahassee, is a longtime friend of Bush. And Rhea Law, the former chairwoman of Fowler White who is now with Buchanan Ingersoll, was appointed by Bush to the Florida Council of 100, a nonprofit focused on improving the lives of Floridians through better business-driven public policy.
Gina Passarella can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org. On Twitter @GPassarellaTLI