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For your radar: Aides propelling tech policy

Maria Curi
Mar 23, 2023
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Illustration: Tiffany Herring/Axios

Behind the scenes in Congress, it’s the staff who’s working and reworking the tech legislation that could one day become law. Here’s an initial look at whom to pay attention to.

  • We’ll be updating this list as the 118th Congress advances.

Chuck Schumer’s office: Jon Cardinal

Details: Cardinal, the Senate majority leader’s director of economic development, has held various positions in the upper chamber for nearly 15 years, according to his LinkedIn.

  • He advises Schumer, manages his relationships with the private sector, and leads an economic development outreach program.
  • Cardinal’s experience connecting economic development initiatives with federal funding through an outreach program stems back to his time as then-Sen. Hillary Clinton’s staff assistant.

Our thought bubble: Cardinal played a key role throughout Schumer's legislative push on tech industrial policy, which ultimately became law as the CHIPS and Science Act.

  • He's poised to continue this work in implementing the bill, which funnels billions of dollars in federal funding to boost the U.S. semiconductor industry.

Energy and Commerce Committee: Tim Kurth

Details: Kurth, E&C's chief innovation, data and commerce counsel, has been with committee Republicans since 2017, according to his LinkedIn.

  • Before that, he was a lobbyist at Heartland Strategies, where he advocated for telecom and tech clients.
  • Kurth’s clients included Motorola, Verizon and USTelecom, according to his lobbying disclosure forms.

Our thought bubble: Kurth’s experience in the private sector could be useful for the committee’s efforts to pass a privacy law, which must garner support from consumers and companies alike.

House Judiciary Committee: Katie McInnis

Details: McInnis is the new chief Democratic counsel for the antitrust subcommittee.

  • McInnis’ boss will change when panel ranking member David Cicilline, a champion of antitrust legislation, retires at the end of May.
  • Before joining the committee, McInnis advocated for antitrust reform on Capitol Hill as the senior public policy manager for DuckDuckGo.

Our thought bubble: McInnis will be a lonely but key voice in the House.

  • With Jim Jordan and Thomas Massie at the helm — coupled with Cicilline’s departure — calls to break up Google, Amazon and other tech giants will be much weaker in the House this year.
  • But McInnis could be an important point of contact for senators, especially Amy Klobuchar, and their staff who are still committed to the cause.

Editor’s note: This story has been corrected to reflect that Kurth’s lobbying clients included Motorola, Verizon and USTelecom, according to his lobbying disclosure forms, but not Google and AT&T.

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