Two longtime aides to ex-Rep. Barney Frank, D-Mass., opened their own lobbying shop this month.
Former Chief of Staff Maria Giesta, who spent 23 years with the lawmaker, and senior policy adviser Joe Racalto will continue to work together — even though their former boss has retired — at Giesta Racalto Solutions. The firm will have offices in the Washington and Boston areas.
Giesta and Racalto said they are meeting with potential clients and plan to focus on regulatory compliance of one of Frank’s signature legislative accomplishments: the Dodd-Frank financial overhaul. They will also look at clients in health care, municipalities and Massachusetts entities.
“When you work for somebody like Barney, who is so good at working with his constituents — he is hands on,and I am originally from New Bedford, so I still have a lot of connections to the community,” Giesta said. “Cities are hurting, firemen, the teachers — we really want to be hands on with our community.”
Racalto and Giesta said many of their contacts in Massachusetts and in D.C. have reached out to help them set up their new business.
“All the years we’ve been on the Hill, we’ve had good relationships with folks,” Giesta said. “It’s nice to know that people are starting to hear about us and starting to approach us.”
Racalto said he hopes the firm will grow as it begins to sign up clients. “We have the drive,” he said. “Things are coming at us rather quickly.”
They noted that one of their former colleagues, K Street entrepreneur Robert Raben of The Raben Group, has been something of an inspiration to them. Raben started his firm about a decade ago with one employee and now has 45.
“Maria and Joe combine heart, experience, dedication and intelligence to their work,” Raben said. “Of the attributes that I think are most valuable, aside from access, which they have in spades, is integrity: You can trust that they will say what they can do well, and then do it. That’s important in this market.”
Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., takes a selfie with his cut-out head during the Hoops for Youth 16th annual charity basketball game held at George Washington University's Smith Center, September 8, 2014. The members of Congress team beat the lobbyist team 46-40. Buy photo here.