Former NSC Staffer Joshua Steinman posted a thread on Twitter explaining how corporations run the federal government.
He explained in five steps how corporations gain their power in influence.
The five steps are: Build the door, hire the doorman, outside game, create revolving door, and moving chess pieces on the board.
Build the door was explained as running regular programs at think tanks in Washington DC. They invite top Capitol Hill staffers to the lunches as a way to create relationships.
They then move on to the hire the doorman step. This means they hire a senior committee staffer to run their government affairs department.
The third step is using the media. Steinman says they write up press releases about their events and send them to journalists looking to “copy and paste” stories. This is to get their name in the news.
The fourth step is going after senior policymakers. Steinman says “while you can’t **exactly** tell them what to do, they’ll not forget where they came from.”
The fifth and final step is them putting their allies in key parts of the government. Corporations try to have 1-2 senior government touchpoints in any given administration according to Steinman.
What the heck, I’ll just do a quick thread to open-source what few people know but don’t want to admit:
How this op often gets run in Washington.
(thread on how to “work” the current system in DC)
— joshua steinman (🇺🇸,🇺🇸) (@JoshuaSteinman) November 15, 2022
BUILD THE DOOR.
> Pick out a few key think tanks and start running regular programs there.
> You want “BROOKINGS LUNCH AND LEARN ON [your topic] [presented by ~company~]” events every quarter
> Target top hill staffers with free lunch
SBF was all ofer this
The “lunch and learn” should cover issues similar to those facing your company, not direct. Don’t make it too obvious.
Use attendee list to buidl a rolodex of folks your “GA” (government affairs) personnel will make regular point to point contact with, IRL.
These programs will grow. The Think Tank presidents will ask you to endow programs, chairs, etc.
Then you get to have a say in who gets those jobs.
All of a sudden, you have built yourself a small pipeline from the Hill to a Think Tank.
That’s one door.
HIRE THE DOORMAN.
Now that you’re running regular GA engagement in DC, time to hire a hotshot senior committee staffer to run your GA **shop**.
Nominally, these are “head of policy” title roles, and their job is to keep tabs on what’s happening in DC for you.
Be mindful of who you are hiring.
Party control of Congress is important, as is who controls the Executive Branch. But PROS balance D & R.
Usually your top candidates will have “Hill” experience AND “Executive” experience relevant to your company’s area.
Your head of GA should be doing things like:
> hiring the right lobbyist(s)
> tracking both AUTH bills and APPROPS bills
> keeping tabs on major POLICY debates inside the Exec branch and responding to NPRM’s, &c.
And they should be LEVERAGING their ROLODEX to do this.
You built the door. Hired the doorman. Now you need to create the illusion. That means running press ops.
A good COMMS leader or contractor should be able to start getting you quoted in stories, driving news cycles. They should have a plan.
Use your new THINK TANK effort to drive content.
Work w their press team to write-up your events. Send those to content-starved journalists who are looking to basically copy/paste their stories. Throw in a few juicy quotes… boom.
Read “Trust Me I’m Lying” to learn more.
Time to upgrade your earlier door to one that REVOLVES.
Now that you’ve got programs at think tanks (and you should have expanded to academia as well, creating more of an echo chamber), and your GA program, you can start to cultivate “SENIOR POLICYMAKERS.”
This can be done on the cheap as well, by having your GA staff write for DC blogs in the policy-adjacent space. Takes less than 10h a month to put out 1-2 high quality articles, this should be part of their job.
It’s cheap and effective.
As you grow, your GA staff should start living a double life, working for you, but also running the party circuit in DC.
You’ll know this is working once they start telling you what’s going to happen, before it happens. Because secrets are rarely secret in “this town.”
Real SUCCESS? When one of your people (your GA director, an academic you’ve been sponsoring, a think tanker you’ve supported) gets the nod to be a “Senior Administration Official.”
“Deputy Assistant Secretary of…” at an AGENCY or “Director for…” at the WH, etc.
Soon they’ll be a policymaker. And while you can’t **exactly** tell them what to do, they’ll not forget where they came from.
PLUS, the fact that you have a “pre-existing relationship” (this is the ethics loophole) means that you can continue to socialize w them.
“Pros” won’t do more than 1-2 years in an administration, so they can get out while their contacts are still useful.
They’ll then move up again, to be a top rank lobbyist, or a VP job at a company (yours or another).
And become a think tank “non-resident fellow”.
Moving chess pieces down the board.
Real fast movers can run this play 2-3 times depending on how good they are, and how favorable the environment is for their political inclinations.
And those who are lucky create the pipeline for SENATE CONFIRMED players.
So a WORLD CLASS government affairs program will essentially have a funnel so that they have a good shot at having 1-2 senior government touch points in any given administration.
Goldman is the gold standard here. They essentially own the Treasury Department. Not kidding.
What can regular people do to keep the government accountable?