Developing and Maintaining Long-term
Relationships with our Clients
In 1987, David Johnson joined forces with Pat Griffin to form what would become one of the most respected independent government relations firms in Washington, the precursor to Peck Madigan Jones. Johnson had led the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee and been Chief of Staff to Senator George J. Mitchell (D-ME). Griffin had served as Secretary of the Senate, the highest ranking unelected position in the Senate, having been selected to the post by then Majority Leader Senator Robert C. Byrd (D-WV), and had led the government relations division of Burson-Marsteller.
Although their initial niche was Senate Democrats, Griffin Johnson quickly became known for its balanced approach to policy issues, representing blue-chip clients such as the American Insurance Association. By the early 1990's, the firm became bipartisan, and has been so ever since.
At that time, Griffin Johnson was working on what would become the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act (PSLRA). One of their clients on that multi-year campaign was Jeffrey Peck, then Managing Partner of Government Affairs for Anderson Worldwide. Peck joined Anderson after serving as General Counsel and then Majority Staff Director of the Senate Judiciary Committee, chaired by then-Senator Joseph R. Biden, Jr, (D-DE). In the fight for securities litigation reform, Peck and his colleagues had also engaged two of Washington’s most respected Republican strategists, Peter T. Madigan and Michael Boland. Their firm, Boland & Madigan, worked closely with Griffin Johnson.
During the Reagan Administration, Madigan served in a senior role providing legislative affairs expertise to James A. Baker III, when he was both Secretary of the Treasury and Secretary of State. Madigan also worked at the Office of Management and Budget under David A. Stockman. More recently, he led the transition team for Ambassador Robert Zoellick, when President George W. Bush nominated him to be the United States Trade Representative.
The PSLRA became a watershed in Washington advocacy. Supported by Republicans and Democrats, this major legal reform act demonstrated how consensus driven legislation could succeed – one large enough, and backed by a sufficient number of Senate and House Democrats, to override President Bill Clinton’s veto in December 1995.
Griffin, Johnson, Madigan and Peck maintained a close working relationship, and eventually joined forces in 2001, further placing a strong bipartisan stamp on the firm. The firm continued to expand to include for example, Janet Mullins Grissom, who had had been Assistant to the President for Political Affairs in the Bush White House, Chief of Staff to Senator Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and a senior vice president at Ford Motor Company, running all of Ford’s government affairs. During this period, Griffin left the firm for a period to become Assistant to the President for Legislative Affairs for President Clinton.
In 2003, Madigan and Peck, together with long-time political strategists and senior Clinton White House officials Harold Ickes and Janice Enright, became co-owners of the business with Griffin and Johnson. The owners then formed a holding company, which in turn owned Johnson Griffin Madigan Peck and The Ickes Enright Group, The Tiber Creek Group.
In 2008, the principals were fortunate enough to bring on as a new partner and owner Jonathon Jones, who had worked for Senator Tom Carper (D-DE) for several years, most recently as his Chief of Staff. Among other things, Jonathon helped found Third Way, reinforcing his strong moderate Democrat credentials and further establishing the firm’s leadership in bringing together pro-business Democrats and Republicans in support of multi-year major advocacy campaigns.
Throughout its history, the firm has remained staunchly independent, even as other lobbying firms were bought out by large international conglomerates with multiple subsidiaries in Washington in the same line of work. The owners were committed to sharing clients and equity equally, building a collaborative and collegial, as opposed to competitive and cutthroat, culture, and thereby avoiding the “eat what you kill” business model of many other firms. They carefully guarded their independence, which gave them a leg up in developing and maintaining long-term relationships with their clients.