Most lobbyists stay in the profession for five years, but John Chwat has passionately remained in the lobbying industry for 40+ years. Whereas most lobbyists start off thanks to a familial connection with an elected official, John started out driving through the countryside of Kentucky, New York, and Tennessee searching for his first clients — the same ones that he helped along the way as he served as a top staff member in Congress. John got his first clients in this face-to-face way; it was hard work, but he enjoyed it and will continue to enjoy lobbying as new Congress members and staff members come to power.
John Chwat became interested in politics early on. His deep passion for lobbying, or government relations, started in High School, when he began campaigning for a number of different positions. His dedication paid off: he became the Student Body President at the Brooklyn Center, Long Island University and the President of two Republican Clubs (one at the University and one in Queens).
Since then, Mr. Chwat has grown into a successful and respected lobbyist on Capitol Hill, and has earned a reputation for his unique professional perspective and extensive experience. He has been all over the country for the last 30+ years, providing strategy and tactics for his clients in their state and local lobbying activities. Mr. Chwat has developed a “Coalition Building Initiative (CBI)” that networked many diverse groups in support of the corporate lobbying at the state and federal levels. This lobbying expertise also assisted the Lockheed Martin Corp in their “Keep Aegis Sold” which competed against the Seawolf Submarine appropriations, and developed a major national civilian weather radar supported by Congress called “Phased Array Radar.” These lobbying activities have multiplied greatly over the years helping smaller companies secure millions of research dollars for their products and services, and fighting for industry positions and bills.
For John, the greatest thrill is to have a Congressman, Senator or key staff member contact him for input on legislation that will become law. In many instances, John’s impact has resulted in policies and laws being implemented or altered to best serve his clients’ interests. Mr. Chwat particularly enjoys assisting museums and military foundations in their pursuit of sponsorships and Congressional recognition.
Serving on Capitol Hill
Prior to joining the private sector as a lobbyist, John Chwat worked on Capitol Hill for Congressional members on both sides of the Isle. Valued for his professional experience and unique Capitol Hill perspective, John has worked extensively in both the House of Representatives and the US Senate.
During his Congressional tenure, John served two Republican Members — the late Rep. Seymour Halpern (R-NY) and the late Sen. Jacob Javits (R-NY) — and served as Chief of Staff for two Democratic Congressmen, the late Rep. John Breckenridge (D-KY) and Rep. Bill Boner (D-TN). John served on a Committee legislative staff on the Senator’s Committee (Labor and Human Resources), worked as a legislative assistant in the Congressman’s office, and even held a prominent research position for Congress in the Congressional Research Service, Foreign Affairs and National Defense Division.
After leaving Congress, John Chwat served as a lobbyist in the Congressional Affairs office of COMSAT Corp. At the time, COMSAT was the US representative on INTELSAT (International Satellite Consortium) and had subsidiaries in Maritime Communications, telephone and other telecom services. Working out of the COMSAT Headquarters, John advised the corporation on a host of issues. He monitored the major statute that created COMSAT (the Communications Act of 1962) and played a critical role in advising on new technologies that could expand telephone and ship-to-shore communications via satellite. John worked for all of the Attorneys out of their General Counsel’s Office and their public affairs and corporate affairs offices on legislation, committee hearings, strategic advice, and meetings on Capitol Hill.
John’s professional background has given him the ideal set of skills to take on a lobbying career with gusto. His time in law school trained him to summarize dense written documents into a succinct page or less, his activities in politics prepared him to talk and preset before small gatherings and large groups, and his work on Capitol Hill gave him insight into the inner workings of Congress, Legislature, and parliamentary procedures. Perhaps most importantly, Mr. Chwat’s experience in DC has given him the ability to effectively represent a client, including knowing when to listen and when to speak up for a client’s best interests.
John left COMSAT to form his own government relations firm, The Chwat Group, where he has represented a variety of clients before Congress and the states, including small and large businesses, trade associations, museums, and corporations. In the 30+ years working for his clients, John Chwat has developed a special expertise in lobbying that includes learning and teaching. It has been extraordinarily gratifying for John to teach a new generation of students about Congress and how our government works.
While he was still in Congress running Congressional Offices in the ‘70s, Mr. Chwat assisted the Washington Center, which represents over 300 colleges and universities. It places intern students in Mr. Chwat’s firm to teach them lobbying and provide opportunities on coursework and assignments during their semester with his staff. Over the last forty years, Mr. Chwat has taught 800-900 young people, from both the US and abroad. In fact, he’s had interns from Belgium, Holland, Canada, Japan and Mexico in his Office in just the last two years! Mr. Chwat’s Congressional interns have gone on to pursue careers in lobbying, city or county management, elected office, Congressional staff, lawyers, Public Relations specialists and many other pursuits. He is exceedingly proud of this ongoing tradition of training and educating the next generation’s brightest lobbyists and political activists.
Lectures & Public Speaking
During his lobbyist career, Mr. Chwat also embarked on a very long and detailed series of lectures in the US and overseas on the matter of Congress & Lobbying Tactics. These lectures were based not only on Mr. Chwat’s Congressional experience, but also his client interactions and connections on Capitol Hill, as well as his experience representing both large industries and corporations (e.g. Lockheed Martin Corp and Philip Morris).
Mr. Chwat is one of the few lobbyists to give a steady series of lectures in China — sponsored by the US Embassy — over the last 20+ years. He has given lectures to nearly every Chinese Ministry, academic “think tank,” and university throughout the country that studies US policy in general and Congress in particular. This lobbying expertise brought Mr. Chwat to the PLA National Defense University on four occasions, and to other entities in the country who represent the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
In addition to China, Mr. Chwat has also lectured in London, UK and several other locations overseas including Phom Phen, Cambodia, Hanoi, Vietnam, Ulan Batar, and Mongolia. These lobbying lectures continue to this day, but Mr. Chwat now spends much more time giving lectures to lobbyists on advanced lobbying issues. To that end, Mr. he has spoken in front of the US Chamber of Commerce “school,” at the University of Del. and given over a decade of seminars and lectures in front of The American Society of Association Executives. Mr. Chwat has also taught courses on lobbying at Marymount College (DC), George Mason University (VA), and Northern VA Community College, and has given guest lectures all over the US.