Former Top Aide to Coons, Manchin Heads to Capitol Counsel

  • Jonathan Kott has worked for key Democrats in the Senate
  • Capitol Counsel is one of the top lobbying firms by revenue

Jonathan Kott, a longtime aide to Sens. Chris Coons and Joe Manchin, has joined the top lobbying firm Capitol Counsel as a partner.

Kott’s final day with Coons (D-Del.), whom he served most recently as communications director and strategic adviser, was last Friday. Before that, he served as executive director of a 501(c)(4) group called the Big Tent Project and worked as communications director and strategic adviser to Manchin (D-W.Va.).

“Jon understands the whole picture: policy, messaging, and politics. He brings those skills to the team and will offer our clients valuable counsel as we navigate this closely divided Congress,” said Shannon Finley, a partner at Capitol Counsel, in a statement.

Both Coons and Manchin are important figures in the Senate—the former has the ear of President Joe Biden and the latter is a moderate Democrat with significant power in a 50-50 chamber where his party has only narrow control.

“It seems like Joe Manchin and Chris Coons are in the middle of a lot of issues on the Hill right now. And as somebody who worked for both of them, I hope that I can help people understand their thinking and navigate those issues,” Kott said in a telephone interview.

Photographer: Al Drago/Bloomberg
Sen. Chris Coons (D-Del.) said he relied on the advice of his former aide Jonathan Kott who was hired by a top K Street firm, Capitol Counsel. Kott also previously worked for Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.).

Kott cannot lobby Coons or his former colleagues in that office, but is free to lobby Manchin, the rest of Capitol Hill and the Biden administration, according to ethics rules which impose a one-year ban on former senior Senate staff lobbying their most recent employer.

He says that he intends to lobby on a range of issues at the firm, which has a number of clients working on tax, financial services, health-care, telecommunications, and energy issues.

Capitol Counsel earned more than $19 million in lobbying fees in 2020, making it one of the top 10 firms in Washington by revenue. Its blue-chip clients include the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, Edison Electric Institute, Walmart Inc., AT&T Services Inc., Delta Air Lines Inc. and Intuit Inc.

Coons is the chairman of the Senate Ethics Committee, in addition to having seats on the Appropriations, Foreign Relations, Judiciary, and Small Business and Entrepreneurship committees.

Kott “served as a trusted advisor and close confidant, helping shape and steer my communications and relationships in Washington. I’ve relied heavily on his candid advice, strategic insights, and vast media and political network,” Coons said in a statement.

Manchin, who also called Kott a “trusted advisor,” is chairman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, in addition to sitting on the Senate Appropriations, Armed Services, and Veterans’ Affairs committees.

To contact the reporter on this story: Megan R. Wilson in Washington at mwilson@bgov.com

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Bennett Roth at broth@bgov.com; Loren Duggan at lduggan@bgov.com

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