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DNC finance director, Biden fundraiser Clayton Cox joins McGuireWoods

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The control room for the Democratic National Convention is seen before the start of the convention, in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, U.S. August 17, 2020. Morry Gash/Pool via REUTERS - RC21GI92VNTV

(Reuters) - McGuireWoods' lobbying and consulting arm announced on Thursday that it's adding Clayton Cox, the former national finance director of the Democratic National Committee and a veteran of three presidential campaigns, to its leadership.

Cox is joining McGuireWoods Consulting as a vice president of its federal public affairs team. Cox helped lead the fundraising plan for the Biden Victory Fund, which raked in $659 million last year, according to the Center for Responsive Politics' OpenSecrets.org database.

A spokeswoman for the firm said Cox will be registering as a lobbyist.

In addition to raising cash for Biden, Cox developed the fundraising launch plan for Vice President Kamala Harris as Biden's running mate. He also worked on Barack Obama's 2012 presidential campaign and Hillary Clinton's 2016 campaign.

With four years under his belt at the DNC, Cox said he was ready to find a new challenge when friends and contacts at McGuireWoods began reaching out to him about joining the firm.

"My big thing is bridge building," Cox said. "There’s a huge thing to be said right now for how people engage different groups and different partners and find people to work together."

Cox is a "generalist" who will be able to work any number of issues that matters to McGuireWoods Consulting's clients, said Jim Hodges, the president of McGuireWoods Consulting and former South Carolina governor.

"From our vantage point, he’s very knowledgeable not only about issues, he certainly knows the key players in Washington on the Democratic side of politics and knows how to get things done," Hodges said. "I think that’s a very valuable commodity for clients."

Hodges said the firm has had success with people who have transitioned from political fundraising to consulting.

Leading law and lobbying firms reported strong federal lobbying revenues in 2020 and the first quarter of 2021, driven in part by deliberations over the COVID-19 relief bill and earlier responses to the pandemic.

Multiple law firm leaders earlier told Reuters that 2021 was shaping up to be another big lobbying year due to an active Biden administration and Democratic Congress. Hodges agreed, saying the White House "has been moving a sprinter's pace on a wide range of issues."

Law firms are also poised to reap a windfall in dealmaking, litigation, and lobbying fees from an historic spending surge aimed at the country's infrastructure, fueling demand across a range of practice areas.

Cox said his new consulting role was a "natural fit," adding that he is open to helping political candidates. But he also indicated he's not eager to rush into another presidential election.

"I think my eye just cringed hearing the words '2024 election,'" Cox said.

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