Leading Government and Public Affairs Firms Join Together to Establish Advocus Partners

Bipartisan Team with a National Footprint Provides Comprehensive Advocacy Offering

WASHINGTON, D.C. (March 21, 2024) – Eight of the nation’s top government and public affairs companies have joined together to form Advocus Partners, a comprehensive advocacy company with a nationwide footprint. Advocus provides a full suite of advocacy disciplines from lobbying and strategic communications to polling and grassroots mobilization. Advocus is well-positioned to develop and execute large-scale public policy initiatives and advocacy campaigns at the federal, state, local, and international levels.

Advocus member companies include BGR Group, California-based Capitol Advocacy, Florida-based Capital City Consulting, The Herald Group, Ohio-based Hicks Partners, Hilltop Public Solutions, Stateside Associates, and The Tarrance Group. They operate independently and collaborate to serve clients.

Advocus was formed to bring together top lobbying and public affairs firms from across the country to provide comprehensive and customized solutions to clients’ advocacy needs. Organized as a holding company, Advocus Partners is bipartisan and geographically diverse and offers every tool of government advocacy.

“Advocus Partners represents the best of the best in consulting and advocacy from across the country,” Capitol Advocacy Managing Partner John Latimer said. “With 19 offices covering the most important markets in the country,  the companies of Advocus are uniquely positioned to offer integrated and comprehensive advocacy solutions for our clients. Our collective history of successful advocacy efforts and campaign operations give clients the confidence that we can address any challenge they face.”

“Our firm is proud to be part of Advocus Partners,” BGR Group Chairman and CEO Bob Wood said. “Advocus’ bipartisan team excels at providing public affairs support, policy analysis, and strategies designed to achieve results. We’ve already seen how our Advocus team members and clients have benefited from this expanded collaboration and offering.”

“Advocus Partners is designed to provide clients with every component of advocacy campaigns regardless of scale or location,” said Craig Pattee, Managing Director of Advocus Partners. “We have the team, the tools, and the experience to execute both broad and targeted advocacy. Our partners are already working together to serve clients’ needs and achieve success.”

Advocus offerings include Corporate Advisory Services, Federal Government Services, State & Local Government Services, Strategic Communications, Coalition Development, Grasstops & Grassroots Mobilization, Polling & Research, Government Markets & Procurement, International Relations, Crisis & Litigation Support, Public Affairs Campaigns, and Digital Advocacy & Paid Media.

For more information on Advocus please visit advocuspartners.com.

CONTACT: Doug McGinn, The Herald Group (dmcginn@theheraldgroup.com)

Utah, North Carolina, Colorado, Texas, Wisconsin Are 5 Best States for Asian Investment

New Index from BGR Analytics Draws Data from 136 Categories





WASHINGTON, D.C., March 6, 2024BGR Analytics — the data practice of BGR Group, Washington’s leading government affairs and public relations firm — has launched the 2024 BGR Best States for Asian Investment Index, which ranks all 50 states based on their desirability for Asia-outbound investment in the U.S.

Utah is the best state for Asian investment, followed in order by North Carolina, Colorado, Texas and Wisconsin, according to the new Index, which draws data from 136 categories, organized into 10 Data Category Groups.

The BGR Best States for Asian Investment Index is the most recent product created by BGR Analytics. It joins the BGR Impact Index, the BGR Energy Security Index and the BGR Investment Security Index.

Asian investment in the U.S., which has been on the rise over the past decade, has accelerated in the wake of the passage of the Inflation Reduction Act and the CHIPS Act.

Combined with the 50-state advocacy and policy analysis firepower of BGR Group, the BGR Best States for Asian Investment Index will be an indispensable tool for Asian governments and companies that wish to establish and expand their U.S. manufacturing and operations footprint.

“When governments and corporations are poised to make billion-dollar investments in the U.S., they need the best, most comprehensive data, combined with on-the-ground support and relationships,” said BGR Group CEO Bob Wood. “This new Index, coupled with the best-in-class state advocacy practices of BGR Group, will further differentiate us from our competitors.”

Utah: Best State for Asian Investment

Utah achieved the top spot among all 50 states by ranking in the Top 15 in eight of the 10 Data Category Groups: Economic Profile (Roman numeral I in the chart below), Business Climate (II), Demographics & Asian Assimilation (III), Manufacturing Advantage (IV), Connectivity & Infrastructure (V), Innovation & Knowledge Management (VI), Strength of Workforce (VII), Competitive Pay (VIII) and Public Health and Safety (X). Cost of Living (IX) is the remaining Data Category Group.

Utah has strong demographics in terms of population growth, labor force participation and high level of educational attainment. It also enjoys one of the lowest income inequality and unemployment rates and has high quality-of-life appeal.

Its inflation of economic input was modest, meaning the input cost for state economy remained low. Combined with Utah’s diverse industries, the state had one of highest COVID-rebound (2019-2022) economies.

In recent years the state also demonstrated solid growth in the manufacturing sector in particular. For example, between 2018 and 2022, manufacturing GDP growth averaged an annual 9.3%, compared to manufacturing stalwart states such as North Carolina’s 3.1% and Indiana’s 4.8%.

Utah also boasts a good public health and safety record and has the best aggregate household financial health (lowest mortgage, student loan, auto and credit card delinquency rates), all of which contributes to an optimistic outlook.

Utah is already the home of more than 20 Japanese businesses, and the state government has led trade delegations to Japan, South Korea and Taiwan.

The only Index Data Category Group where Utah performs below the middle of the pack percentile is Cost of Living. Utah ranks 35 among all 50 states in cost of living. The strong economy and rapid population growth have driven up housing demand, raising prices. That, combined with high interest rates and the overall desirability of quality-of-life, have contributed to Utah’s relatively high cost of living.

North Carolina, Colorado, Texas, Wisconsin

Each of the other Top 5 states has seen significant investment from Asia, thanks to their overall desirability, as seen in the Index rankings. Vietnamese automaker VinFast broke ground in North Carolina last year for an electric-vehicle manufacturing plant. Japan’s Sumitomo Corp. is investing in a carbon-capture venture in Colorado. South Korean chip giant Samsung is building a new semiconductor fabrication plant in Texas. Japan is a large investor in Wisconsin, with manufacturing facilities for construction equipment, medical technology and food firms.

Methodology and Sourcing:

The BGR Best States for Asian Investment Index serves as an aggregate, one-stop roadmap for U.S. stateside inbound investment interest. A total index score was calculated for each state. The total score was the summation of scores from the 10 Data Category Groups which, in turn, comprise the 136 individual indicators. Each indicator was normalized and scored from 0 to 100.

Data for the Index was collected from open sources and created by BGR Group using proprietary methodology. Data sources include: U.S. Census, Bureau of Economic Analysis, County Business Pattern, the State Business Incentives national database, George Mason University, the Equable Institute, National Right To Work, the Tax Foundation, the New York Federal Reserve, the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, the American Society of Civil Engineers, the Department of the Interior, the National Science Foundation, the Carnegie Foundation, the Department of Housing and Urban Development, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Zillow, ADP, the National Science Foundation, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, PitchBook, the U.S. Energy Information Administration, the International Trade Administration, the Social Security Administration, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Department of Justice, the Kaiser Family Foundation and BGR proprietary research.


Frank Ahrens

BGR PR Principal, Head of BGR Analytics




About BGR Group (www.bgrdc.com)

Founded in 1991, BGR Group is a premier government affairs and public relations firm with offices in Washington, D.C., London, Austin, Texas, and Atlanta, Georgia. BGR specializes in four key areas: bipartisan government affairs, strategic communications, business advisory services and analytics. BGR brings together some of the most accomplished policy experts, public opinion influencers and issue advocates from across the political spectrum.

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BGR Advisory Board Member Heather Nauert speaks about her recent trip to Ukraine

BGR Advisory Board Member Heather Nauert speaks about her recent trip to Ukraine traveling 1,300 miles by car throughout the war torn country.

Listen to the Vandenberg Coalition Podcast, Vandenberg Flash Focus to hear more about the trip.

Listen Here


Watch The Record With Greta Van Susteren to see live footage from the trip.

BGR Group Names Jo Maney Chief of Marketing and Engagement

Washington, D.C., (January 30, 2024) — BGR Group, the premier lobbying and communications firm in the nation’s capital, today promoted Jo Maney to the newly created position of Chief of Marketing and Engagement.

Jo will oversee advertising and promotion for BGR Group, manage the brand and the extensive content produced by BGR’s practices, and continue to lead the firm’s public engagement. She will remain a principal in BGR’s Public Relations practice, BGR Group’s communications company, and the president of the BGR Foundation.

“BGR is thrilled Jo has agreed to take on this new responsibility, which will help us continue to grow and innovate,” said Erskine Wells, president of BGR Group. “We wanted a strategic, respected, and dedicated colleague to head our engagement efforts. Jo was the natural choice.”

Jo has been with BGR Public Relations for 12 years. She previously worked as communications director for the House Rules Committee under Chairman David Dreier (R-California) and in other congressional offices prior to that. Her new position takes effect immediately.

About BGR Group (www.bgrdc.com)

Founded in 1991, BGR Group is a premier government affairs and public relations firm with offices in Washington, D.C., Austin, Texas, London and now Atlanta, Georgia. BGR specializes in three key areas: bipartisan government affairs, strategic communications, and business advisory services. BGR brings together some of the most accomplished policy experts, public opinion influencers, and issue advocates from across the political spectrum.

BGR Group Elects Three New Firm Principals

Washington, D.C. (January 25, 2024) – BGR Group, Washington, D.C.’s premier bipartisan lobbying and public relations firm, today announced Robin Colwell (Commerce), Dan Greenwood (Defense), and Fred Turner (International), have been elected by their colleagues to be principals in the firm.

“BGR is proud to have team members like Robin, Dan and Fred,” said Erskine Wells, President of BGR Group. “Each is known for their outstanding work ethic and command of the issues on which they work. Robin, Dan, and Fred continue to provide exceptional service to our clients and are excellent colleagues as well. Congratulations to Robin, Dan and Fred on their election as principals.”

About BGR Group (www.bgrdc.com)

Founded in 1991, BGR Group is a premier government affairs and public relations firm with offices in Washington, D.C., Austin, Texas, London and now Atlanta, Georgia. BGR specializes in three key areas: bipartisan government affairs, strategic communications, and business advisory services. BGR brings together some of the most accomplished policy experts, public opinion influencers, and issue advocates from across the political spectrum.

BGR Group Expands with New Atlanta Office

Will Serve Clients in Georgia and throughout the Southeast Region


Atlanta, GA, (January 25, 2024) – BGR Group, Washington, D.C.’s premier bipartisan lobbying and public relations firm, today announced the opening of an office in Atlanta, Georgia. Building off the firm’s successful expansion in Austin, Texas in 2018, the Atlanta office will provide strategic representation and advocacy for clients in various industries at the local, state and national levels. The new office will physically expand the firm’s presence in the Southeast and enable the delivery of effective and innovative advocacy solutions to clients before state and local officials across the region and country.

BGR will be represented in Georgia by Thomasville, Georgia native William Crozer, a firm Principal and Co-Head of the firm’s bipartisan State and Local Advocacy Practice, and metro-Atlanta native Labriah Lee Holt, a Vice President and the newly named Managing Director of the Atlanta office. With the support of the entire firm’s bipartisan lobbying team, William and Labriah will focus on representing Georgia-based clients in Washington, D.C., as well as growing the firm’s bipartisan work in the City of Atlanta, State of Georgia, and throughout the Southeastern region.

Georgia is consistently ranked as a top state for business, and Atlanta has the nation’s third-largest concentration of Fortune 500 companies. “BGR ‘s history is rooted in the southeast and Atlanta is the epicenter for business and politics in the booming region. The best policies come from state and local decision-makers, and Georgia has some of the best public servants in the nation today,” former Governor and BGR Founder Haley Barbour said. “Having William and Labriah based in Atlanta will enable the firm to effectively service our clients with deep issue expertise and critical relationships and help drive synergies between the state and Washington.”

Before rejoining BGR in 2021, William served as a Special Assistant to the President and Deputy Director of the White House Office of Intergovernmental Affairs (IGA) beginning in 2018. IGA serves as the primary liaison between the White House and the more than 500,000 state, local, territorial, and tribal leaders from the 50 States, 5 major Territories, and the District of Columbia.  He previously served in the Counsel’s Office for then-Georgia Governor Nathan Deal. Labriah most recently served as State Government Affairs Director for Microsoft, based in Atlanta, where she led engagement across the southeast region with state and local officeholders to advance policy. Before joining Microsoft, Labriah worked with federal, state, and local leaders throughout the country on some of the most pressing foreign policy issues as AIPAC’s National Director of Outreach.  Labriah started her career as an Intellectual Property Attorney at Alston & Bird LLP in Atlanta. Labriah currently serves on the Business Council for the African American Mayors Association (AAMA) and is a Board Member of the CareerRise, a workforce intermediary in Atlanta.

William Crozer commented, “With world class infrastructure, a competitive economic development and tax environment, a dedicated workforce, and a leading education system, businesses from around the world are thriving in Georgia’s economy. While remaining focused on BGR’s national and regional engagement, I am excited to provide a more concentrated level of support for clients with the state’s bipartisan Congressional delegation, the Governor, and other state and local officials. Having a full-time presence in Georgia will help BGR position our clients to be part of Georgia’s continued success.”

Labriah Lee Holt offered, “I am honored to open a new BGR office in the city that helped raise me and that has remained at the forefront of economic development and innovation in the Southeast.  Atlanta is not only a great place to do business, but also a vibrant hub of culture, creativity, and diversity. Atlantans know this vital culture influences everything from business, film production, sports teams, cutting edge technology, to the music industry. I have extensive experience working with governors, attorneys general, mayors across the region, and I look forward to helping our clients navigate the opportunities and challenges they face. I joined BGR to help its state and local team continue to expand, and I’m thrilled Atlanta will anchor the firm’s growth in the Southeast.”

BGR’s Atlanta office will be located at One Buckhead Plaza, 3060 Peachtree Road, Suite 1880, Atlanta, GA 30305.

About BGR Group

Founded in 1991, BGR Group is a premier government affairs and public relations firm with offices in Washington, D.C., Austin, Texas, London and now Atlanta, Georgia. BGR specializes in three key areas: bipartisan government affairs, strategic communications, and business advisory services. BGR brings together some of the most accomplished policy experts, public opinion influencers, and issue advocates from across the political spectrum.

BGR Deep Dive: Delay of SEC’s Proposed Climate Disclosure Rule Process Raises Key Questions

By Keaghan Ames, Vice President, BGR Financial Services Practice

When the Security and Exchange Commission’s (SEC) proposed climate disclosure rule was first announced in March of 2022, it consequently caught the attention of every publicly-traded company. In what many consider to be the most onerous enhancement to the securities disclosure regime since the Securities Act of 1933, the rule, if finalized, would change the way publicly traded companies view the climate’s impact and the risks associated not only in their public disclosures but potentially throughout their entire business.

Will Scope 3 be Included and When’s it Getting Finalized?

The two questions everyone is asking: will Scope III be included and when will it be finalized? The final rule has been expected for many months, with initial speculation as to its release beginning in Q3 of 2023. Yet, the rule continues to be delayed. Why?

The short answer is that the decision around whether to include Scope III is dragging the process out, due to the concerns over its ability to withstand legal scrutiny.

The longer answer is that SEC Chair Gary Gensler finds himself in a difficult position. For starters, if Scope III requirements are included in the overall rule, numerous outside groups have publicly warned the SEC it will face litigation, which is the last thing the head of the agency wants. Beyond the very real litigation risk and external political pressures detailed below, there are internal political factors for Chair Gensler to consider as well. The SEC’s decision-making boils down to three viewpoints:

(1) Chair Gensler’s, who would like to see Scope III included, but not at the expense of the rest of his regulatory agenda;

(2) Democratic Commissioner Caroline Crenshaw’s, who believes Scope III should be mandatory and may not vote for any final rule without the inclusion of Scope III (thereby shelving the proposal as any rule would require all three Democratic votes); and,

(3) the Office of the General Counsel’s (OGC), who understands that Scope III is potentially a stretch of SEC authority and contains near-certain litigation risk.

While the rumors will continue to percolate as to when the rule will come out, the real answer is either (a) when these three parties come to an agreement or (b) negotiations end and there is no compromise to be struck between those three viewpoints. If the likelier latter scenario (option B) plays out and Gensler determines that he would like to include Scope III, it is foreseeable that Gensler pushes finalization as close to the Congressional Review Act (CRA) window as possible. The CRA window, Congress’ 60 legislative days-long period of time to overturn any given rule by a majority vote, is usually sometime in mid-May heading into an election year. According to the congressional schedule set by leadership in both Houses, the deadline, for now, is estimated to be May 14, 2024.

At the time of this post, the rule is rumored yet again to come out next month (that being said, the same rumor has circulated every month for the last six months). That timeline is certainly possible, and the public will be given a five-day Sunshine Act notice prior to an open meeting to consider the rule. However, if Gensler was truly worried about balancing the rest of his regulatory agenda (all items require OGC’s attention and focus) and getting the climate disclosure rule with Scope III finalized prior to the CRA window, it would seem fitting that the rule is finalized in late April or early May.

As always, we continue to track developments on the rule and will continue to update the group and your clients accordingly.

Process Background

The SEC’s proposal seeks to standardize climate disclosures through mandatory tiers of climate exposure:

  • Scope 1: registrants’ direct greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions;
  • Scope 2: indirect GHG emissions from purchased electricity and other forms of energy separately disclosed, expressed both by disaggregated constituent greenhouse gases and in the aggregate, and in absolute terms, not including offsets, and in terms of intensity (per unity of economic value or production; and,
  • Scope 3: everything else associated with a company’s activities including emissions from third-party contractors, employee commuting, business travel, purchased goods and services, leased assets, etc.

Comprehensibly, the entire proposed rule could prove onerous for several publicly traded companies. The inclusion of Scope III has been heavily criticized, given the SEC prioritized its “materiality” threshold for disclosures (see SEC Chair Gensler’s argument on materiality). On the above requirements, several energy companies have long had to disclose Scope I and certain Scope II emissions under EPA guidelines. Scope I and Scope II would prove difficult (yet not unforeseen) for all non-energy companies to begin calculating and for all companies to begin disclosing to shareholders. Furthermore, Scope III disclosures would be extremely difficult for numerous reasons, not the least of which is, there is no standard methodology proposed by the SEC for calculating the universe of Scope III disclosures. Thus, companies could spend millions on regulatory burn just for the SEC to tell them their methodology for calculating Scope III is incorrect.

Argument Background

Needless to say, various industries ranging across traditional financial services, energy, healthcare, transportation, and even traditional agriculture have expressed significant concerns about the proposal over the last two years. Last week’s House Financial Services Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations hearing focused on the legal grounds for challenging the SEC’s authority to even propose Scope III requirements. (See the Chamber of Commerce’s letter stating “[h]owever, the SEC’s Proposed Rules, as currently crafted, exceed the SEC’s lawful authority and are vast and unprecedented in their scope, complexity, rigidity and prescriptive particularity.”)

Even certain Democrats in Gensler’s own party find the rule overly burdensome, such as Senator Jon Tester (D-MT).

The SEC has stated that its goal for this rule is to provide “consistent, comparable, and reliable – and therefore decision-useful – information to investors.” Ensuring that climate risk-related information is available to investors is core to the SEC’s statutory authority and a response to increasing investor demand for this information. Opponents argue that the SEC is overstepping its authority as Scope III disclosure would require publicly traded companies to obtain information from privately held companies, who are outside the SEC’s regulatory authority. Opponents also point to privacy and confidentiality concerns given the amount of data that may need to be disclosed. The SEC has faced notices of potential legal action should Scope III make it into the final rule but has also received pressure from left-wing and climate groups and some Democratic lawmakers to keep Scope III included.

BGR Briefing: 2023 State Election Results and 2024 Outlook

BGR Group State and Local Advocacy Practice Co-Head and Principal, Loren Monroe, was joined by Libby Schneider, DNC Chief of Staff, B.J. Martino, President and CEO of the Tarrance Group, Dee Duncan, President of the Republican State Leadership Committee, and A.B. Stoddard, columnist for The Bulwark, to discuss the 2023 election results and what’s to come in 2024.

BGR Releases 2023 State Elections Recap

State and local elections were held around the country on November 7, 2023. Read BGR’s breakdown of key takeaways and analysis of results by clicking below.

Read More Here

BGR Group Welcomes Raghav Aggarwal to Bipartisan Health and Life Sciences Practice

WASHINGTON, D.C. (November 1, 2023) – BGR Group, Washington, D.C.’s premiere lobbying and public affairs firm, has welcomed Raghav Aggarwal as a Vice President with its bipartisan Health and Life Sciences Practice. Raghav is a leader in federal health care payment policy, having held a variety of senior roles within the Executive Branch and on Capitol Hill. He possesses deep knowledge and expertise in drug pricing and Medicare payment policy and the federal regulatory and legislative processes.

“Raghav is an outstanding addition to the bipartisan BGR team,” Health and Life Sciences Practice Group Co Head Remy Brim Mason, PhD, said. “He has been involved in every major health care policy debate at CMS and on Capitol Hill over the last several years and his policy expertise is second to none. Raghav’s experience and insider knowledge of federal health care policymaking will be a tremendous asset to BGR and our clients.”

Before joining BGR, Raghav most recently served as Senior Advisor for the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) leadership and helped oversee a vast array of policy and operational work for the Agency related to a more than $400 billion per year health care portfolio, including the implementation of the drug pricing and payment reform provisions of the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022.

Raghav also served on detail as Senior Health Policy Advisor with the Majority Staff of the U.S. Senate Committee on Finance, where he managed legislation and advised the Chairman on the prescription drug pricing, Medicare Part D, and Medicare Advantage policy portfolios, among other health care issues. During his time with the Senate Finance Committee, Raghav most notably led the development of the drug pricing and payment reform policies included in the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 and helped to successfully negotiate passage of the landmark legislation.

Raghav began his federal career during the Obama administration. Prior to and after his time with the Senate, Raghav served as a lead advisor and technical authority on the Medicare program for senior officials across the Executive Branch under three different administrations. During his time with CMS, he executed multiple initiatives including cross-cutting projects and completed special assignments for senior political and career leadership on a broad range of significant management, operational, and policy issues. He also contributed to the development of legislative, regulatory, and litigation strategies, participating in senior-level discussions and planning sessions, collaborated with policy staff to execute and brief senior leadership on complex program-related studies and data analyses to provide critical quantitative and qualitative context for policy decisions, and spearheaded the development, clearance, and implementation of policy guidance and regulations related to the Medicare Advantage and Part D programs, including the annual rate notices.

During his CMS tenure, Raghav oversaw the formulation, rollout, and implementation of significant Medicare Advantage and Medicare Part D policy changes related to the treatment of manufacturer rebates, payment for insulins, benefit design and reporting requirements, value-based insurance design, risk adjustment, applications of Medicare Advantage encounter data, end-stage renal disease enrollment and payment, Medical Loss Ratio, coverage and payment of COVID-19 vaccines and testing, plan formulary design, Parts C and D coverage and contract requirements, and Parts C and D Star Ratings.

Raghav has received numerous honors and awards for his meaningful contributions to federal health care policy, including the HHS Secretary’s Award for Excellence in Management, one of the highest honors granted by the Department and conferred by the Secretary.

He previously interned for the late U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) and served as a Fellow in the Office of the former Secretary of the Interior, Ken Salazar.

Raghav has a Master of Public Administration and Bachelors of Sciences in Economics, Mathematics, and Public Policy from the University of Southern California.