Clay has worked in and around Congress for over 25 years working closely with members of the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate on a variety of matters, with a particular focus on the Appropriations Committees. He advises Fortune 500 companies and others in the defense, cybersecurity, and technology sectors. Clay has also worked with companies and non-profits in the health care, pharmaceutical, and higher education areas.
Prior to joining Taft Advisors, Clay cofounded and helped lead a successful federal government affairs team in Washington, DC that was associated with an Am Law 150 law firm.
In Congress, Clay worked in the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate for 12 years where he held several senior roles and worked for Rep. Wayne Allard (R-CO), Sen. Ted Stevens (R-AK) and Sen. Judd Gregg (R-NH) on the Senate Appropriations Committee, and Sen. Thad Cochran (R-MS) in both his personal office and on the Senate Appropriations Committee.
On the Senate Appropriations Committee, Clay served as the of deputy staff director and general counsel for the full committee. As the Senate’s largest committee with a membership of 30 senators, a staff of more than 120, and the task of overseeing every area of the federal government and providing over $1.3 trillion annually in funding, the Senate Appropriations Committee is critical to all aspects of federal policy; and it is the only Senate committee specifically required to enact legislation annually. During this time, Clay worked extensively with the bicameral Senate and House leadership, as well as with the White House and the Office of Management and Budget. He also helped oversee the successful passage of four emergency supplemental Appropriations bills during the 109th Congress. These bills provided funding for U.S. military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan and provided resources to address the aftermaths of Hurricane Katrina and the tsunami that occurred in Southeast Asia.
Clay was also a professional staff member on the Senate Commerce, Justice, State, and the Judiciary Appropriations Subcommittee. In this role, he had oversight and wrote the annual bill language that provided the funding for several of the Departments and agencies under the Subcommittees purview including the Federal Judiciary, DEA, FCC, FTC, EDA, NTIA, and SEC.
In addition to his committee work, Clay served as legislative director for Sen. Thad Cochran (R-MS) for several years where he oversaw all legislative activities in the office. Among his responsibilities was working with constituent and business groups on issues of interest to them and the state, as well as being responsible for a legislative portfolio that included defense, telecommunications, tax, trade, and small business matters. He also worked with business and constituent interests on numerous transportation and economic development projects and initiatives in the state of Mississippi.