Michael Best Strategies, the consulting and government relations business affiliated with law firm Michael Best & Friedrich, has tapped former U.S. Rep. Steve Israel, a Democrat from New York, to sit on its advisory board.
Israel is a former chair of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee who spent 16 years on Capitol Hill as the representative for a Long Island congressional district, before finishing out his time in government in 2017. As the latest member of Michael Best Strategies’ board of advisers, he’ll join chairman Reince Priebus, the former head of the Republican National Committee, who also had a stint as White House chief of staff in the early months of the Trump administration.
In the new role, Israel is expected to advise the Michael Best Strategies team while also collaborating with Michael Best, the Milwaukee-based law firm, on personnel, business development and policy issues, according to a statement issued Thursday.
“As a veteran legislator, Steve was the chief architect of numerous House campaign strategies,” Priebus said in a statement. “He has developed a vast network of local, state and federal officials throughout the nation on both sides of the aisle. He is highly respected in Washington, and he will be a considerable addition to our group of other former government and public policy professionals.”
In an interview Thursday, Israel said he was looking forward to working with Michael Best Strategies, where his role will focus on the intersection of public policy and emerging industry and technology issues. Israel won’t be lobbying. Instead, he will tap into his experience in government to advise Michael Best on a strategic level, he said.
“I think politics and governing are as volatile and complex as we’ve ever seen,” Israel said. “My role’s been defined as providing that strategic insight into the rapid changes in industries and technology as they relate to public policy.”
He continued, “One of the things we’ll do is explore emerging industries and the impact of public policy on those industries, and the impact of those industries on public policy.”
Beyond the board member role at Michael Best, Israel has been using his time outside of public office to write novels—the latest, “Big Guns,” is a comedic story involving a Long Island town, Washington politics and the firearm lobby in the U.S., according to Israel’s personal website. Israel has also served as a political commentator and op-ed columnist for the Washington Post, New York Times and CBS’s “60 Minutes,” among other media outlets.
For Michael Best and its government relations arm, bringing Israel on board at Michael Best Strategies is the latest in a series of notable hires over the past couple years.
In January 2017, Michael Best Strategies hired lobbyists Denise Bode, a former CEO of the American Wind Energy Association and president of the Independent Petroleum Association of America, as well as Thomas Schreibel, a former chief of staff to U.S. Rep. F. James Sensenbrenner Jr., R-Wisconsin.
Michael Best followed those hires with the October 2017 addition of Priebus, who had spent an earlier part of his career as a partner at the law firm before moving into national politics. Back with Michael Best, Priebus is both chairman of the advisory board for Michael Best Strategies and president and chief strategist for the law firm.
The law firm side of the business has grown recently as well. Among its recent pickups was Stefan Passantino, who overlapped with Priebus in the Trump White House and joined Michael Best in September as a partner and chair of the firm’s government relations, political law and public policy practice group. A former head of Dentons’ political law practice, Passantino worked in the Trump administration as a deputy to former White House Counsel Don McGahn, who left his government post in October.
Prior to that, in August, Michael Best added a seven lawyer group in Colorado through an acquisition of Modus Law, a small firm focused on representing startup companies.