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Capitol Hill veteran served as chief of staff and top legislative aide to House members; represents local governments, corporations, nonprofits and educational institutions in governmental relations work in DC.

Washington, DC (July 10, 2014) – Adding a major new player to its deep bench of Capitol Hill veterans, Venable LLP announced that Thomas C. Downs has joined the firm as a partner in the Legislative and Government Affairs practice in Washington.

Mr. Downs comes to Venable from Patton Boggs, where he was also a partner. He previously served as chief of staff and senior legislative aide for members of Congress, including House Appropriations Committee member and former House Budget Committee Chair Martin Olav Sabo, and George Hochbrueckner, a member of the House Armed Services Committee.

Mr. Downs handles high-stakes public policy and legislative issues for government entities, corporations, nonprofits and educational institutions. He focuses on legislative matters, appropriations, competitive and discretionary grants and public-private partnerships.

Among Mr. Downs’ notable representations include:
  • Municipal governments from seven different states obtaining legislative authorization, appropriations and grants;
  • Congressional appropriations to advance leading-edge information technologies and systems;
  • Highway construction and highway interchange reconstruction projects, transit system expansion, intelligent transportation systems and other transportation and infrastructure improvements;
  • Federal appropriations and grants to improve learning systems and educational programs for colleges and universities, community colleges, K-12 school systems and nonprofit educational organizations;
  • Working with health systems, hospitals, medical research and health care advocacy organizations in 20 states;
  • National, regional, faith-based and community organizations that serve at-risk youth and families through treatment, counseling, mentoring and other services;
  • Legislative and agency initiatives involving drinking water and wastewater systems, wetlands protection, open space preservation and parkland acquisition; and
  • Legislative authorization and appropriations for the newest Smithsonian National Museum (National Museum of African American History and Culture), as well as funding and support for other projects involving American history, culture and the arts.

“Tom Downs brings a wealth of knowledge and experience about the inner workings of Congress and the keys to navigating the legislative process, which seems to grow more complicated each year. His success in appropriations and grant funding matters will be a tremendous benefit for our clients,” said William Nordwind, Venable’s co-chair of the Legislative and Government Affairs practice group.

Mr. Downs joins Venable’s strong bi-partisan team of government insiders from both Capitol Hill and the Executive Branch. The firm’s partners include former U.S. Senator Birch Bayh; James Burnley, former U.S. Secretary of Transportation; Bart Stupak, a nine-term Congressman from Michigan; Raymond Shepherd, former staff director and chief counsel of the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations; Andrew Olmem, former Chief Counsel and Deputy Staff Director at the Senate Committee on Banking Housing and Urban Affairs; and Mr. Nordwind, a former Counsel and Policy Coordinator for the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Telecommunications.

“Venable has one of the most effective government relations practices in Washington, representing a broad range of interests in matters that dovetail closely with my practice,” Mr. Downs said. “Reflecting that great track record and history of success, the firm has an all-star roster of former government officials – the very advisers who understand and can guide clients through the most challenging and sensitive legislative and executive branch issues. The firm presents a perfect platform for me to continue serving public and private stakeholders in accomplishing their goals and objectives in the nation’s capital.”

Mr. Downs received his J.D. from the American University’s Washington College of Law and his B.A. from Brown University.


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Note: Venable is an American Lawyer Global 100 law firm serving clients globally. Headquartered in Washington, DC, with offices in California, Delaware, Maryland, New York and Virginia, Venable LLP lawyers and legislative advisors serve the needs of our domestic and global clients in all areas of corporate and business law, complex litigation, intellectual property, regulatory, and government affairs around the globe.