Raben Group





Consulting and Lobbying


Robert Raben

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The Raben Group is a Democratic Party-aligned lobbying group comprised predominately of former members of President Barack Obama’s and President Bill Clinton’s administrations. 1 It has earned at least $50 million2 representing many left-of-center and radical interests that include the “dark money”3 Sixteen Thirty Fund;4 Islamic Relief Worldwide, a Muslim charity that the Israeli Shin Bet intelligence service accused of funding the terrorist organization Hamas in 20145 (a claim the group denies6);7 the anti-gun Mayors Against Illegal Guns group; and liberal expansionist immigration organization National Immigration Forum. 8

The Raben Group is led by founder Robert Raben, a former Assistant U.S. Attorney General who served in the Clinton administration. Raben started his career working under former U.S. Representative Barney Frank (D-MA). 9

The Raben Group has two divisions, LGBT Strategies and Latin Strategies. 10 It publishes a weekly podcast called, For The Win, which covers topics like fighting climate change, opposing President Donald Trump’s activities related to the U.S. Census, his President Trump’s alleged contribution to bigotry, and strategies to promote abortion. 11 Former Democratic Presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg received counsel from the Raben Group for his campaign. 12


The Raben Group revenue cycles spiked during the Obama administration and have appeared to decline significantly since President Trump’s election. It has represented dozens of left-of-center organizations including two “dark money” organizations: The Advocacy Fund, a member of the intricately designed Tides consortium which is a funding mechanism for many left-wing issues,13 and the Sixteen Thirty Fund,  described as a “massive dark money group” and part of “Arabella Advisors’ ‘dark money’ empire.” 14

It has represented Islamic Relief Worldwide,15 which the Israeli Shin Bet intelligence service claimed was funding the terrorist organization Hamas (a claim Islamic Relief Worldwide denies16). 17 It also represented the National Council of La Raza (now UnidosUS), a Latino-interest group supported by a number of left-liberal philanthropies including the Soros Network, the Ford Foundation, and the Tides Foundation. 18 Another client is the Immigrant Legal Resource Center, another liberal expansionist immigration advocacy group. 19

The Raben Group has also worked on behalf of the Free Speech Coalition,20 the trade association for “adult entertainment.” The Coalition has lobbied opposing the use of condoms during pornographic film production and to halt laws requiring pornographic film producers to pay for performers’ regular health checkups. 21

The Cannabis Trade Association, a marijuana industry group, hired the Raben Group to focus on legalization, legislation and policy, taxes and regulations. 22 Compassion and Choices and End of Life Choices are assisted-suicide advocacy groups that invested hundreds of thousands with Raben to advance their efforts. 23 Center for Reproductive Rights also invests significant funds with the Raben Group to support the pro-abortion movement. 24

Corporate Raben Group clients25 include Google, which was the foremost spender in antitrust lobbying,26 specifically investing on competition. 27 Pfizer invested predominately in the area of pharmaceutical drug pricing reductions. 28 American Task Force Argentina hired the group29 to halt World Bank loans to Argentina and have them thrown out of the G-20. 30 The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has been one of Raben’s top clients. The Raben Group also represents companies like Anheuser-Busch (for help with the Fair BEER Act)31 and Sprint. 32


Robert Raben

Robert Raben is the founder and president with a long career in Democratic Party politics including time as a staffer for former U.S. Representative Barney Frank (D-MA) and service in the Clinton administration. Raben hires people almost exclusively from other Democratic institutions for lobbying in support of left-of-center positions. 33

Joe Onek

Joe Onek Has spent decades representing liberal causes including through a period working for George Soros’s principal advocacy philanthropy, the Open Society Foundations,34 which has invested billions of dollars in left-wing causes in dozens of countries. 35 Onek has deep experience in Washington having served in every main branch of the federal government. He worked with U.S. Representative and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) as her senior counsel. Onek was a Deputy Associate Attorney General under President Bill Clinton and a member of President Jimmy Carter’s administration, managing his boycott of the Moscow Olympics. His experience extends to working with former liberal Supreme Court Justice William J. Brennan and former U.S. Senator Ted Kennedy (D-MA). 36

Elliot Williams

Elliot Williams serves as is a principal at The Raben Group and also a CNN analyst. He served in the Obama administration. 37 Williams has accused President Donald Trump of an “unyielding assault on the media” and of being a bully. He believes the President’s categorization of certain news outlets as fake news confuses Americans and might result in gigantic health care expenses. 38

Jamal Simmons

Jamal Simmons is a principal lobbyist and also a political commentator on shows including MSNBC, CBS, ABC and CNN. He is a regular attendee of the television shows “Face the Nation” and “The Lead with Jake Tapper.” His political career began with the presidential campaign of then-Governor Bill Clinton (D-AR) and then he served in the Clinton administration. He then supported former Vice President Al Gore’s presidential campaign and worked with the Democratic National Committee for the 2008 Obama/Biden campaign. 39

Jeanne Butterfield

Serves as special counsel for the Raben Group. She worked with the American Immigration Lawyers Association and the National Immigration Forum, an liberal expansionist immigration advocacy group. 40

She was the executive director of the Palestine Solidarity Committee, a radical anti-Israel and pro-Palestinian group. 41

Alaina Beverly

Alaina Beverly is a principal lobbyist and was the associate director of the White House Office of Urban Affairs under President Barack Obama. She worked as President Obama’s deputy political director during his presidential campaign primaries in South Carolina, Connecticut, Ohio, Mississippi, North Carolina and Michigan. In the general election, Beverly became the national deputy director for African-American outreach. 42

Other Staff

A number of other Raben Group staff are alumni of President Obama’s administration:

Michael Yudin  was formerly with the U.S. Department of Education for six years. 43

Gabriela Domenzain served President Obama as a national spokeswoman and is a Hispanic-interest activist formerly with UnidosUS. 44 She worked with Univision and Telemundo. 45 Domenzain also worked for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and Congressional Hispanic Caucus. 46

Brandi Colander and Jessica McCall served under President Obama. 47

Ryan Daniels is a director at Raben Group; he was the associate director of communications in the Obama White House. 48

Tiffany Cross is joining The Raben Group as a director after working for the National Education Association teachers’ union. 49

For The Win

The Raben Group holds weekly podcasts. Episodes included a story alleging President Trump spread online bigotry and another episode claimed he was the most anti-LGBT President in history. Another show provides the strategy on how Democrats can defeat the NRA. There is a podcast showcasing the National Network of Abortion Funds and discussing so-called “reproductive justice,” a euphemism for abortion. It claims pro-life policies hurt people of color and the pro-abortion people seek to help those most in need. An earlier podcast discusses the need to expand the Supreme Court, change the Electoral College, and make the District of Columbia a state. The first episode features former Obama administration Attorney General Eric Holder opposing Republican election-related policies. 50 

Divisions and Partnerships

LGBT Strategies

Raben Group’s LGBT Strategies engages clients like Google, Human Rights Campaign, Viacom and others on LGBT issues. 51 The group claims, “Queer culture and the arts would be much poorer without the presence and contribution of butch and stud lesbians, whose identity is both its own aesthetic and a defiant repudiation of the male gaze.” 52


Led by Larry Gonzalez, the group advises clients on engaging the Latino demographic. 53

Move to End Violence

Move to End Violence is a joint effort with the left-of-center donor the NoVo Foundation, to stop violence towards females through social change. 54


  1. “People Archive.” The Raben Group. Accessed April 24, 2020.
  2. “Raben Group Lobbying Profile.” OpenSecrets. Accessed April 24, 2020.
  3. Ludwig, Hayden. “ACORN’s Legacy Lives On in the Sixteen Thirty Fund.” Capital Research Center. Capital Research Center, January 3, 2020.
  4. Meyer, Theodoric. “KGL Investment Adds Another Lobbying Firm.” POLITICO, November 20, 2019.
  5. Staff. “Israel Bans Islamic Relief Worldwide from West Bank Due to Hamas Ties.” The Jerusalem Post |, June 19, 2014.
  6. Price, Matthew. “Audit ‘Clears Islamic Relief’ of Terror Funding Claim.” BBC News. BBC, December 12, 2014.
  7. Morgan-Chalfant. “Strickland Capitalizes on Big-Money Donors in NY, DC.” Washington Free Beacon. Washington Free Beacon, February 24, 2016.
  8. “Lobbyists Vie for Mentions in State of the Union.” Roll Call. Accessed April 24, 2020.
  9. “When Clients Come Calling.” Roll Call. Accessed April 24, 2020.
  10. “About.” The Raben Group. Accessed April 24, 2020.
  11. “‘For The Win’ Podcast.” The Raben Group. Accessed April 24, 2020.
  12. Palmer, Anna, Jake Sherman, and Daniel Lippman. “POLITICO Playbook: Trump Gives the Impeachment Crowd a Gift.” POLITICO, June 13, 2019.
  13. Ludwig, Hayden. “Why Does the Advocacy Fund Hide Its Tides Funding?” Capital Research Center. Capital Research Center, March 2, 2018.
  14. Ludwig, Hayden. “ACORN’s Legacy Lives On in the Sixteen Thirty Fund.” Capital Research Center. Capital Research Center, January 3, 2020.
  15. “Immigrant Legal Resource Center Lobbyists.” OpenSecrets. Accessed April 24, 2020.
  16. Price, Matthew. “Audit ‘Clears Islamic Relief’ of Terror Funding Claim.” BBC News. BBC, December 12, 2014.
  17. Daoud, David. “Hamas Front Group Taps Washington DC Based Lobbying Firm.”, March 31, 2015.
  18. [1] Staff, Tennessee Star. “Renata Soto, Chair of George Soros-Funded UnidosUS (AKA ‘LaRaza’), Featured Speaker at ‘Transit for Nashville’ Campaign Kickoff Supporting $9 Billion Transit Plan.” Tennessee Star. February 12, 2018. Accessed May 12, 2020.
  19. “Discover The Networks.” Discover the Networks | Immigrant Legal Resource Center (ILRC). Accessed April 24, 2020.
  20. “Free Speech Coalition Lobbyists.” OpenSecrets. Accessed April 24, 2020.
  21. “Free Speech Coalition.” Ballotpedia. Accessed April 24, 2020.
  22. “Cannabis Trade Federation Issues Lobbied.” OpenSecrets. Accessed April 24, 2020.
  23. “Compassion & Choices Home.” Compassion & Choices. Accessed April 24, 2020.
  24. “Raben Group Lobbying Reports.” OpenSecrets. Accessed April 24, 2020.
  25. “Raben Group Lobbying Profile.” OpenSecrets. Accessed April 24, 2020.
  26. “Alphabet Inc Issues Lobbied.” OpenSecrets. Accessed April 24, 2020.,+Antitrust+&+Workplace#specific_issue.
  27. “Alphabet Inc Issues Lobbied.” OpenSecrets. Accessed April 24, 2020.
  28. “Pfizer Inc Issues Lobbied.” OpenSecrets. Accessed April 24, 2020.
  29. “American Task Force Argentina Lobbyists.” OpenSecrets. Accessed April 24, 2020.
  30. “New Video on Argentina’s ‘Apocalyptic Debt’ Points to Kirchners’ Mismanagement.” New Video on Argentina’s “Apocalyptic Debt” Points to Kirchners’ Mismanagement | Business Wire, November 15, 2010.’s-“Apocalyptic-Debt”-Points-Kirchners’.
  31. Meyer, Theodoric. “GOP Takeover Good News for K Street – It’s LDA Deadline Day – Coca-Cola, Anheuser-Busch Add Firms – McNeill to Travel Association.” POLITICO, April 20, 2015.
  32. Palmer, Anna. “Thurmond to Micron Technology – Sprint, Google Hire up – Lewan to HillStaffer.” POLITICO, February 9, 2015.
  33. “When Clients Come Calling.” Roll Call. Accessed April 24, 2020.
  34. Kolodner, Meredith. “Immigration Enforcement Benefits Prison Firms.” The New York Times. July 19, 2006. Accessed May 12, 2020.
  35. Paulson, Chace. “George Soros Names New President of Open Society Foundations.” Capital Research Center. Capital Research Center, September 18, 2017.
  36. “Joe Onek.” The Raben Group. Accessed May 6, 2020.
  37. Cnn. “Establishment Dems Freak out over Bernie Sanders: CNN.” NewsstandHub. CNN, February 25, 2020.

  38. “Coronavirus Shows off Donald Trump’s Single Greatest Accomplishment as President.” Yahoo! Yahoo!, March 19, 2020.
  39. “Jamal Simmons: Speakers Bureau and Booking Agent Info.” All American Speakers Bureau and Celebrity Booking Agency. Accessed April 24, 2020.
  40. Krikorian, Mark. “SPLC Wannabes on the Right.” National Review. October 10, 2017. Accessed May 12, 2020.
  41. Yanni, Palma. “AILA – AILA Executive Committee Responds to Attack Against AILA Executive Director.” American Immigration Lawyers Association. 2003. Accessed May 12, 2020.
  42. Aleem, Zeeshan, and Mj Lee. “Suite Talk, Nov. 17, 2010.” POLITICO, November 17, 2010.
  43. Palmer, Anna, and Jake Sherman. “PROGRESSIVES LOSING PATIENCE with Bernie — ET TU, LINDSEY? Graham Caves, Backs Trump – TRUMP PASSES CLINTON in Real Clear Average — MICHELLE FIELDS’ New Gig — JONATHAN CAPEHART Engaged — NEIL IRWIN Married.” POLITICO, May 23, 2016.
  44. “Gabriela Domenzain.” Ballotpedia. Accessed April 24, 2020.
  45. Hadas. “Telemundo, Univision Push Back on MRC Report.” POLITICO, April 1, 2014.
  46. Tau, Byron. “July Fundraising Bits – RNC Outraises DNC by $2 Million – NRCC Ties DCCC – Who Lobbies for Bradley Manning?” POLITICO, August 21, 2013.
  47. Meyer, Theodoric. “Chris Cox Signs First Lobbying Client.” POLITICO, February 25, 2020.
  48. Sherman, Jake, Anna Palmer, and Daniel Lippman. “NEWSFLASH: Why DC Will Continue to Face GRIDLOCK — WHO TULSI Met with in SYRIA — REINCE Struggles to Fill Comms Director Job — JEN PSAKI’s next Move — B’DAY: Manu Raju.” POLITICO, February 9, 2017.
  49. Sherman, Jake, Anna Palmer, and Daniel Lippman. “SIX DAYS to Election Day — FREEDOM CAUCUS Plotting Post-Election Strategy Meeting Today — NEW BLOOMBERG POLL: Clinton Beats Trump 39-35 among Independents — THE LATEST Emails — B’DAYS: David Sirota, Gov. Scott Walker.” POLITICO, November 2, 2016.
  50. “‘For The Win’ Podcast.” The Raben Group. Accessed April 24, 2020.
  51. Tau, Byron. “Raben Group Expands LGBT Work with New Practice – Dickstein Loses $6.1 Million in Business – NAM Hits the Road.” POLITICO, July 15, 2014.
  52. LGBTStrategies. “LGBTStrategies (@LGBTStrategies).” Twitter. Twitter, April 13, 2020.
  53. [1] “Larry Gonzalez.” The Raben Group. Accessed April 24, 2020.
  54. “Priscilla Hung.” The Raben Group. Accessed April 24, 2020.

Directors, Employees & Supporters

  1. Robert Raben
    Founder and President
  2. Daniel Penchina
    Former Principal


  1. AARP (Non-profit)
  2. Advancement Project (Non-profit)
  3. Alliance for Excellent Education (Non-profit)
  4. Alliance for Safety and Justice (Non-profit)
  5. American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) (Non-profit)
  6. American Constitution Society for Law and Policy (Non-profit)
  7. American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) (Non-profit)
  8. Amnesty International USA (AIUSA) (Non-profit)
  9. Arcus Foundation (Non-profit)
  10. Aspen Institute (Non-profit)
  11. Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (Non-profit)
  12. California Community Foundation (Non-profit)
  13. California Endowment (Non-profit)
  14. Californians for Safety and Justice (Non-profit)
  15. Center for American Progress (CAP) (Non-profit)
  16. Center for Community Change (CCC) Action (Non-profit)
  17. Center For Reproductive Rights (Non-profit)
  18. Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) (Non-profit)
  19. Compassion and Choices (Non-profit)
  20. Democracy In Color (Non-profit)
  21. Democratic Governors Association (DGA) (Political Party/527)
  22. Everytown for Gun Safety Action Fund (Non-profit)
  23. Faith and Politics Institute (Non-profit)
  24. Farmworker Justice (Non-profit)
  25. Georgetown University (Non-profit)
  26. Google (For-profit)
  27. Hispanics in Philanthropy (Non-profit)
  28. Human Rights Campaign (Non-profit)
  29. International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM) (Labor Union)
  30. Lambda Legal (Non-profit)
  31. Laura and John Arnold Foundation (Non-profit)
  32. Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under Law (Non-profit)
  33. Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights (LCCHR) (Non-profit)
  34. League of Conservation Voters (LCV) (Non-profit)
  35. League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) (Non-profit)
  36. Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF) (Non-profit)
  37. National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) (Non-profit)
  38. National Academy of Sciences (NAS) (Non-profit)
  39. National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO) (Other Group)
  40. National Education Association (NEA) (Labor Union)
  41. National Fair Housing Alliance (Non-profit)
  42. National Hispanic Leadership Agenda (Non-profit)
  43. National Immigration Forum (NIF) (Non-profit)
  44. National Nurses United (Labor Union)
  45. National Wildlife Federation (Non-profit)
  46. Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) (Non-profit)
  47. The Nature Conservancy (TNC) (Non-profit)
  48. NoVo Foundation (Non-profit)
  49. Open Society Foundations (Open Society Institute) (Non-profit)
  50. Oxfam America (Non-profit)
  51. People for the American Way (PFAW) (Non-profit)
  52. People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) (Non-profit)
  53. Pew Charitable Trusts (Non-profit)
  54. PFLAG (Non-profit)
  55. Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA) (Non-profit)
  56. Resource Impact (Non-profit)
  57. Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) (Non-profit)
  58. Rockefeller Foundation (Non-profit)
  59. Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors (Non-profit)
  60. Service Employees International Union (SEIU) (Labor Union)
  61. Silicon Valley Community Foundation (SVCF) (Non-profit)
  62. United Nations Foundation (Non-profit)
  63. Vera Institute of Justice (VIJ) (Non-profit)
  64. Voto Latino (Non-profit)
  65. Walmart (For-profit)
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