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Part II: Interview With Tom Sheridan, Lobbyist to the Stars


Here's the continuation of our interview with Tom Sheridan, the lobbyist who works with Bono on his ONE campaign to end global poverty. Liberty took in a ONE campaign panel with Ben Affleck, Madeleine Albright, and Tom Daschle at the convention yesterday — more details on that event soon! Here's the continuation of our conversation with Tom:

Who else do you work with?

Julia Ormond is another great example, she's a client of ours who is doing work on human trafficking and slavery, and speaking out before anyone was really talking about. She wasn't only talking about it, but she was immersed, was deeply immersed in the substance of it. You know, what are the major policy issues that need to be launched in order to track people, things like a universal birth certificate. She was on top of that stuff before anyone really wrote about this.

What makes a celebrity seek you out?

To see his answer and more, read more.

What we look for and what we really love working with are celebrities who are about those two Cs. We're not your usual K Street lobbying firm. We represent almost only not-for-profits and are about taking those tough issues into the Washington environment. We're a little off the beaten path, so for people like Bono and Julia Ormond to find us, they really have to be committed in a much deeper sense. Bono doesn't need anyone to open a door for him, he's perfectly capable of opening his own doors — and he'll tell you that — that is not the hard part of my job with him. The hard part is how will we ask for what we want when we go in, how will we defend what we asked for last time, and why are we defending a taxpayer investment in a place called Africa and for a disease called AIDS. He's got to have real answers for those questions and thoughtful policymakers ask those questions. So my job is to make sure he is always well-positioned in the playing field and very well informed.

How does he become the perfect advocate for ONE?

To his credit, he gets on an airplane and he goes to Africa and gets on the ground so that he can say to people, "Look I just came from there and there's a village in Uganda where they've cut their maternal transmission of HIV rate from 70 percent to 10. He can speak to it with the level of passion that you can only have if you seen it and felt it. A good actor I guess can put on any emotion, but there's another whole dimension when it doesn't come from a place of craft.

We'll be unpacking more tidbits from Tom soon. Stay tuned!

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