Politics

GOP Lobbyist Rallies Support for Hillary Clinton

Former Arlen Specter staffer says Donald Trump not fit to be president

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton could pick up some Republican backers on K Street. (Photo By Al Drago/CQ Roll Call)

A longtime Republican consultant and lobbyist is trying to line up GOP backers on K Street for Hillary Clinton's presidential bid.  

“I’ve been a Republican since high school and certainly never thought I would take any sort of public role in a Democratic presidential campaign, but I never imagined Donald Trump as the Republican nominee,” wrote Craig Snyder of Ikon Public Affairs in an email to fellow former staffers of the late Sen. Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania.  

Specter served five terms in the Senate, beginning in 1981 as a Republican and then switching to the Democratic Party in 2009.  

“Of course, I don’t presume anything about any of your views, but am writing in the hopes of finding out,” the email, obtained by CQ Roll Call, continued. “Anyone who might be interested in being associated, in any way, or to any degree, with a Republicans for Hillary effort, I would very much appreciate it if you would let me know at your earliest convenience.”  

[Related: Team Trump Adds Another Ex-Lobbyist] Snyder’s firm represented the Trump Organization in 1999, according to lobbying disclosures, but the work was done by his former business partner Roger Stone, now a Trump supporter.  

“I was around all that, watched it, didn’t participate in it personally,” Snyder said in a phone interview. “I would say that I’ve never thought [Trump] was fit to be president of the United States at any time. This year’s campaign has not been startling to many of us who have seen him in other incarnations.”  

[Related: Clinton Starts With a Decisive Advantage] Snyder said he’s reaching out beyond Specter's old network and has received a range of responses, including from Republicans who are pledging not to vote at all in the November presidential election.  He said he first met Trump through the real estate mogul’s fundraising work for Specter.    

During the 1996 presidential campaign, Snyder said he was on leave from Specter’s office and working for GOP candidate, Sen. Bob Dole of Kansas. Snyder said he was reporting to Paul Manafort, a former lobbyist and now a high-level Trump campaign adviser, and Stone, who were managing the convention that year.  

“They’re highly talented, highly skilled political operatives,” Snyder said. “They’re putting their skills this year in the service to something I find objectionable and dangerous.”  

Snyder is willing to help raise money for Clinton's presidential run as well as other outreach efforts to mobilize GOP voters, he said, though he noted that he has not yet reached out to the Clinton campaign.    

Among the recipients of his email was Dan Renberg, who also disclosed lobbying work for the Trump Organization back in 1999.  Renberg declined to comment on Snyder's pitch.  

Another recipient of Snyder’s entreaty may be unlikely to join the Republicans for Hillary movement: David Urban of the American Continental Group told Politico last month that he was helping Team Trump. 

“I’m obviously supportive of Donald Trump for the presidency on the Republican side,” Urban told CQ Roll Call.   

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