Dec 18, 2023 - Politics & Policy

Exclusive: Former McCarthy chief of staff launches firm, will work with Barr


The Capitol at sunrise. Photo: J. Scott Applewhite/AP

Machalagh Carr, former chief of staff to Speaker Kevin McCarthy, tells Axios she's launching a boutique consulting shop, Quell Strategies.

Why it matters: Her first big project will be to partner with former Attorney General Bill Barr to lead the Center for Legal Action (CLA) at the budding American Free Enterprise Chamber of Commerce (AmFree). He's chairman of CLA and she'll be president.

What we're hearing: Carr, a lawyer, told Axios her firm, based in Virginia, got its name because "quell" means "to calm a crisis, or put an end to disorder."

  • Carr says CLA "will focus on reining in the regulatory state, ensuring regulators operate fairly, and promoting free enterprise."

Backstory: Carr worked on the Hill for 12 years — the past four as McCarthy's general counsel when he was minority leader and speaker, then as his chief from last May through October.

What they're saying: McCarthy said Carr "has seen all the angles of Washington — she can understand the big picture, anticipate problems before they arise and present and expand opportunities to solve them. She is a tremendous talent and AmFree's members will be well served by her leadership."

  • Barr said: "We are excited to team up with Machalagh. Her legal acumen and ability to navigate the Hill will be a great asset to our members."
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