Insights: A Conversation With Former Senator Ben Nelson

Former Senator Ben Nelson spent two terms in the “world’s great deliberative body” dealing directly with some of the most consequential legislation and political issues of our time, including the Affordable Care Act, the Iraq War, and the 2008 financial crisis. In this episode of HPS Insights, he discusses his new book, “Death of the Senate,” with Managing Director Bryan DeAngelis.  Senator Nelson talks about what can be done to overcome the current gridlock in the Senate, his unique insights on how the filibuster should be strengthened, and why members of Congress need to spend more time in Washington—not less. Throughout the podcast, Senator Nelson emphasizes that the Senate needs to return to its civil, bipartisan roots through cross-party luncheons, congressional delegations, and other activities that build up camaraderie and friendship. Senator Nelson also touches on his tenure in government, highlighting dinners with Senator McCain, his role in the “Gang of 14,” and his transition from Governor to Senator. 

You can listen to the full conversation here. You can also learn more about Senator Nelson’s book here. Subscribe to the HPS Podcast Channel on your favorite podcast service for more insights and our weekly Macrocast.


Capitol Chatter: 2021 Q3 Analysis Of Congressional Tweets

Welcome back to Capitol Chatter: A Quarterly Analysis Of Congressional Tweets, where we help you keep track of what Congress is tweeting.

In the third quarter of 2021, congressional Twitter accounts sent out 130,293 tweets—a 10% decrease from the second quarter and a 17% drop from the first quarter. Members of Congress from both parties tweeted the most about President Biden’s agenda and the U.S.’ withdrawal from Afghanistan but diverged on their emphasis within each topic. Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) remained the most prolific tweeter, even though he tweeted 38% less in Q3 than he did in Q1. Read on for other findings.

The most notable difference between Q3 and the previous two quarters is the nearly 80% increase in the number of times members of Congress mentioned terms related to foreign affairs and defense. Driving the spike is the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan, which accounted for 9.6% of all tweets congressional Twitter accounts sent in Q3. The economy, however, remained the most-discussed topic in the third quarter. Debates over President Biden’s agenda spilled over from the Hill into cyberspace, causing continued increases in mentions of the economy and infrastructure. 

Given the overall lower volume of tweets, Q3 saw slight, expected drops in many categories including commemorative events, education, immigration, and agriculture—all while the attention on COVID-19 continued to wane. By comparison, energy and environment maintained a rare upward trend both because of climate- and energy-related components of President Biden’s agenda and international climate milestones, namely the publication of the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s Sixth Assessment Report (IPCC AR6) and the upcoming UN Climate Change Conference (COP26).

Social issues surpassed racial equity as the 10th most mentioned topic in Q3. Members of Congress from both parties tweeted about the topic at comparable levels (Democrats about 1,450 times and Republicans just shy of 1,300 times). Republicans were most vocal around mid-July, when a House subcommittee approved a Department of Health and Human Services funding bill without the Hyde Amendment, which had prohibited the use of federal Medicaid to cover almost all abortions. Democrats tweeted the most about social issues after the Texas law (SB 8) banning almost all abortions in the state after about six weeks of pregnancy went into effect in September.

Term-by-term breakdowns illustrate the different ways in which the two parties discussed topics of common interest. In tweets about the economy, for example, Democrats often discussed the “health” of the economy, while inflation was a major topic for Republicans. In the parties’ respective mentions of tax in Q3, Democrats tweeted about raising taxes on wealthy individuals and corporations, provisions in the Build Back Better Act, while Republicans tweeted their opposition. As Democrats continue to push President Biden’s infrastructure investment proposal through the legislative process, infrastructure rose to one of the most mentioned words in Q3. Democrats made up 65% of these mentions, yet on August 10, the day the bipartisan infrastructure bill passed the Senate, Democrats and Republicans mentioned infrastructure equally frequently.

Republican members of Congress were responsible for nearly two-thirds of tweets about Afghanistan and focused more on the economic and strategic ramifications of the withdrawal, including U.S. strategic interest in the region vis-a-vis Russia or China. Meanwhile, their Democratic counterparts focused more on immigration in light of the influx of Afghan refugees.

The difference between the Democratic and Republican messaging on the reconciliation process is evident in tweets that are regularly consumed by constituents, members of the media, and Beltway stakeholders. Democrats not only contributed to over 90% of tweets about the reconciliation bill, but they also overwhelmingly referred to President Biden’s budget proposal under consideration by its name, “Build Back Better.” By contrast, most Republicans referred to the ongoing negotiations on the Hill as “reconciliation,” a more technical, less-widely-understood term that gives off the impression of a bureaucratic process.

The reigning leader board champion Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) remained the most prolific tweeter in Q3, even though his overall volume of tweets dropped 22% from Q2 to Q3 and nearly 38% from Q1 to Q3. The rest of the list saw some shuffling from Q2 to Q3. The Democratic side saw a senator, Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), rise into the top 10 for the first time since the beginning of 2021; Representatives Lloyd Doggett (D-Texas), Mark Pocan (D-Wis.), and Val Demings (D-Fla.) dropped out of the list, having been replaced by Q1 top-ten tweeter Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-Ill.) and Rep. Joaquin Castro (D-Texas). 

The Republican leader board for the first time became predominantly House members, as Reps. Thomas Massie (R-Ky.), Elise Stefanik (R-N.Y.), Jim Banks (R-Ind.), and Chip Roy (R-Texas) surpassed Sens. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), Rob Portman (R-Ohio), Rick Scott (R-Fla.), and Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) as the most frequent tweeters. The difference between these top tweeters from the rest of the members of their respective parties are considerable: on average, top 10 Democratic tweeters posted 935 tweets in Q3, while the rest of Democratic members tweeted fewer than 250 times; top 10 Republican tweeters posted 824 times in Q3, whereas the average for the rest of the GOP is 185 times.


HPS conducted text analysis on all tweets and retweets from handles included in CSPAN’s “members of Congress” Twitter list that were posted between July 1, 2021 and September 30, 2021. In total, we searched for more than 150 keywords in each of the 130,293 tweets to determine which topics were discussed in each.


Monitoring Progress On The Global Minimum Tax Debate

Over one hundred thirty countries around the world are debating proposals that would result in some of the most consequential changes to the international tax code in a generation, including implementing a global minimum tax of 15 percent on corporate earnings. The goal of the long-running base erosion and profit shifting (BEPS) project at the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) is to reduce base erosion and profit shifting by convincing so-called “tax havens” to raise corporate tax rates. The current debates and headlines on international tax are often complicated, with many nations taking different views. To simplify the debate, HPS built the International Tax Tracker to highlight the latest information on tax regimes and global minimum tax policy stances for the 53 largest global economies—which comprise 95% of the world’s gross domestic product. 

On October 8th, 136 countries agreed to the “Statement on the Two-Pillar Solution to Address the Tax Challenges Arising from the Digitalisation of the Economy” which outlines a framework for a global minimum tax. The agreement subjects all multinational enterprises with total revenues exceeding €750 million to a 15% minimum tax on a country-by-country basis. The OECD does not have any policymaking authority, and national governments in member and participating countries will ultimately be responsible for implementing tax policy that conforms with the new tax rules. The October agreement lays out a proposed timeline—tax changes should be legislated in 2022 and then implemented in 2023 at the earliest.

The United States has been at the forefront of the BEPS project at the OECD since the Obama administration and led the charge for the global minimum tax efforts in the last year. The international tax provisions of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act enacted a number of anti-profit shifting policies with the Beltway-infamous acronyms of GILTI (Global Intangible Low-Tax Income) and BEAT (Base Erosion and Anti-Abuse Tax).

The Biden administration, the House Ways and Means Committee, and the Senate Finance Committee have each released proposals to change minimum tax rules, each of which exceeds the OECD’s proposed framework. The House Ways and Means plan would raise foreign rates to 16.56%, while the Biden administration’s plan would hike rates to 21%, and the Senate Finance proposal rate is a bit unclear. All proposals would be legislated in 2021 and enacted in 2022, increasing rates on a faster timeline than the OECD and raising concerns from both Democrats and Republicans about the global competitiveness of American companies reaching new customers and markets around the world. This concern is supported by a recent study from the National Association of Manufacturers that found that hiking the GILTI rate could result in 500,000 to 1 million lost U.S. jobs. As a result, many businesses are calling upon lawmakers to align America’s GILTI rate and potential implementation timeline with the OECD’s proposal, and some policymakers have signaled their support for synchronizing the effective date with those of other major economies.

HPS’ International Tax Tracker will follow the global minimum tax and OECD process and be updated weekly to reflect any changes in countries’ positions and policies. Policymakers in 136 countries will be working together towards a common goal, with jobs, economic growth, tax and fiscal policies, and the competitiveness of global businesses at stake. 


HPS Welcomes New Managing Director Jonathan Graffeo and Director Phalen Kuckuck

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Hamilton Place Strategies (HPS) announced today that Jonathan Graffeo and Phalen Kuckuck have joined the firm’s growing team as a managing director and a director, respectively. Graffeo brings an impressive Capitol Hill resume to the firm, while Kuckuck offers deep experience in digital and public affairs campaigns to HPS clients. 

“We’re thrilled to welcome Jonathan and Phalen to our team,” said Matt McDonald, a partner at HPS. “They both have extensive knowledge on key policy issues and experience on strategic communications efforts across the political landscape. I’m confident that their understanding of complex public affairs issues will be an invaluable asset to our clients and the HPS team at large.”

Graffeo joins HPS from Capitol Hill, where he served in senior committee staff roles for U.S. Senator Richard Shelby (R-Ala.). Most recently, he served as deputy staff director on the Senate Appropriations Committee, overseeing messaging and legislative strategy. Prior to that, Graffeo served as communications director on the Senate Banking Committee. Graffeo holds an undergraduate degree from Auburn University and an MBA from Duke University. He is currently working towards his Ph.D. in crisis communication from the University of Alabama.

Kuckuck joins HPS from PLUS Communications and sister company FP1 Strategies, where he served as a digital director overseeing the strategic development of multimillion-dollar advertising, communications, and public affairs campaigns. In this role, Kuckuck led award-winning initiatives for Fortune 500s, political campaigns, and coalitions. Kuckuck has also managed and consulted on political campaigns at the local, state, and federal levels, including runs by now-State Treasurer Riley Moore for West Virginia House and JB Akers for Charleston Mayor. Kuckuck brings to HPS experience in government affairs, as he represented key policy priorities of trade associations, coalitions, and corporations before the West Virginia Legislature and worked in the state capitol as a legislative assistant. 


Briefings Are Back: An Analytical Look At What Was Discussed In The First Six Months Of White House Press Briefings

When President Biden took office in January, he brought with him the return of the White House press briefings. Prior to January 2020, the briefing room lay empty for nearly two years after former President Trump ended the daily briefings in March 2019. Even before he ended the briefings altogether, Trump held less than half as many as prior administrations.

The return of the daily briefing offered the media and general public insight into the Biden administration’s agenda and priorities, as well as a degree of accountability on the president’s campaign promises and the American people’s priorities for the new administration.

HPS set out to analyze the first six months of press briefings, reviewing transcripts of 160 White House briefings and press gaggles by Press Secretary Jen Psaki, Deputy Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre, and the White House COVID-19 Response Team. Our analysis found that their discussions with White House reporters during the first six months of the administration broadly aligned with the public’s priorities

Unsurprisingly, discussion of COVID-19 dominated the daily briefings, with more than three times as many mentions as the next-most popular topic, foreign affairs (broadly capturing discussion on China, Russia, Afghanistan, and other global issues). Washington was buzzing with infrastructure talk all spring and summer as the Biden administration prioritized passing a bipartisan infrastructure package; however, infrastructure mentions lagged in the administration’s formal briefing room platform at just under 1,500 mentions. Likewise, there were relatively few immigration mentions, despite immigration ranking as the third-most important issue to Americans in a June survey and the ongoing crisis at the U.S.-Mexico border.

The majority of COVID-19 related mentions were associated with vaccines. On March 11, 2021, the Biden administration announced that all American adults would be eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccine by May 1. Accordingly, briefings and press questions on vaccines peaked in March and April and seemed to plateau by June. In early July, Biden took the stage to announce that about 70% of American adults had been vaccinated. But not long after signaling America was close to “declaring our independence” from COVID-19, the Delta variant took the nation by storm. Although our analysis only goes through July 20—the six-month mark for Biden’s presidency—HPS and any casual observer of the White House press briefings can safely assume there has been a spike in mentions of vaccines in the last month. 

While the COVID-19 pandemic topped overall mentions, the Department of Health & Human Services lagged in briefing room discussions. The second-most discussed topic was foreign affairs—which naturally encompasses both diplomatic and military-related issues. Notably, mentions of the State Department far outweighed mentions of the Department of Defense, indicating Biden to be a “diplomacy over aggression” president. 

In the briefing room, mentions of jobs far eclipsed all other economic terms. Jobs consistently garnered more than double the number of mentions of other economic terms, peaking in April when the March jobs numbers released showed the fastest growth since August 2020. As tracked by HPS’ monthly Jobs Day Fact Sheets, June posted similar numbers to March, but at that point, the economic recovery was steadily progressing, and the surge in employment didn’t lead to another spike in jobs mentions.

Biden took office as the most experienced president in matters of foreign policy in at least 30 years. When Biden was inaugurated, the top foreign policy questions he faced revolved around how the U.S. would counter China’s growing power and how he might alter the U.S. relationship with Russia following years of investigations and allegations of serious transgressions during the Trump administration. As expected, Russia and China dominated foreign affairs discussions during the press briefings. 

However, as with any administration, other foreign policy issues quickly arose and demanded imminent attention. Mentions of Iran in the briefing room peaked in February, when Iran rejected an offer to negotiate directly with the U.S. regarding the nuclear deal, and have tailed off ever since. Mentions of Israel/Palestine jumped dramatically in May during the crisis in Gaza. 

Afghanistan mentions initially spiked after the Biden administration announced on April 13, 2021 that the U.S. would complete its withdrawal of forces from the country by September 11. Afghanistan then seemed to fall off the press briefing radar in May before returning to prominence in June and July. While the graph reflects data only through July 20, HPS expects press briefing discussion of Afghanistan to have surged in late July and August—with mentions likely continuing to remain high into the fall. 

After both the Senate and presidency flipped this year, Beltway chatter has focused on Democratic policy priorities including voting rights, police reform, and climate change. However, these terms didn’t break through in the briefing room as much as others, registering in just one in four or one in five briefings. Antitrust issues also received few mentions, at just 12 over the course of six months, despite Congressional focus on antitrust in the tech sector. Also surprising was the lack of discussion on student debt or student loans, which received just 16 total mentions.

Despite the Biden administration’s determination to start a new chapter, the media’s addiction to Trump was hard to curb after four years of obsessing over the former president’s every tweet and comment. Trump was mentioned in over half of the briefings, more than twice as frequently as any other politician. The politicians who were referenced in the most briefings following Trump were Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV), and Senator Susan Collins (R-ME).

Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), a champion for progressives and frequent participant in Senate debates, was mentioned in only 4% of briefings. Likewise, Senator Krysten Sinema (D-AZ) was mentioned in just 4% of briefings, despite becoming a prominent voice in recent rounds of infrastructure discussions. 

The Next Six Months

Looking forward, HPS expects COVID-19 and foreign affairs to remain the top two topics in the briefing room, with mentions of vaccines dominating the former and Afghanistan driving the latter. We expect the economy to remain a top-three category, especially as the infrastructure, budget, and debt-ceiling debates heat up this fall.


HPS conducted text analysis on hundreds of hand-selected key terms within 160 White House briefings (including press briefings in the White House briefing room, press gaggles aboard Air Force One, and briefings by the COVID-19 Response Team) from January 21, 2021 to July 20, 2021. 


Insights: A Conversation with White House Historical Association President Stewart McLaurin

To people around the world, the White House is a potent symbol of American democracy. In this episode of HPS Insights, Stewart McLaurin, President of the White House Historical Association and author of “James Hoban: Designer and Builder of the White House,” joins HPS Partner Michael Steel to discuss his work to preserve the history of one of America’s most renowned landmarks and the overlooked story of the man who designed it.

Stewart explains how James Hoban’s story foreshadows the American Dream: As a poor Irish immigrant, Hoban came to America looking for religious freedom and a better career. He designed the White House and worked with a diverse team of builders, including enslaved workers, Scottish stonemasons, and others. Today, Hoban’s work is known far better than he is himself. Stewart’s book offers fascinating insights into Hoban’s life and showcases his work beyond the White House.

Michael and Stewart also discuss the work of the White House Historical Association, whose 60th anniversary is this year. Stewart has collaborated with three administrations to preserve and promote White House history, each one leaving a lasting mark on the White House. Finally, Stewart explains how listeners can get involved with the Association’s mission.

You can listen to the full conversation here. Subscribe to the HPS Podcast Channel on your favorite podcast service for more insights.


Hamilton Place Strategies and Ballast Research Announce Partnership with alva

A few weeks ago when HPS and Ballast Research announced our partnership we hinted at more to come. Today we’re thrilled to announce our new partnership with alva, a London-based stakeholder intelligence platform, thanks to a majority stake support by Falfurrias Capital Partners (FCP).

alva is an exciting and valuable addition to our partnership as we continue to build a comprehensive suite of services to help companies manage their reputations with all stakeholders.  In our work alva will help us to deliver richer, more insightful, and global solutions for our clients.  

The team at alva created a stakeholder intelligence platform that provides data-rich, real-time technology to companies across industries, including financial services, consumer, healthcare, and professional services.  The platform can deliver rich insights by analyzing more than 25 million pieces of content every day across 100 languages, 150 countries, and over 500,000 individual publications. 

We’re especially excited about alva‘s ESG assessment tools.  As ESG criteria are being weighed to assess performance, companies and investors are searching for solutions — both for understanding the materiality of risks and for comparison against market peers. Building on over 10 years of experience in delivering board-level reputation analysis to blue-chip firms, alva‘s ESG Intelligence tool provides comprehensive analysis of how any company is performing against its peer group.

As with our partnership with Ballast Research, we’ll reach out in the coming weeks to preview how alva‘s powerful tools can be helpful to you and your company. 


Capitol Chatter: 2021 Q2 Analysis Of Congressional Tweets

Welcome back to Capitol Chatter: A Quarterly Analysis Of Congressional Tweets, where we help you keep track of what Congress is tweeting.

In the second quarter, congressional Twitter accounts sent out 145,607 tweets — a slight drop from the nearly 158,000 tweets in the first quarter. COVID-19 fell from being the most tweeted-about topic as lawmakers increased focus on legislative and budget priorities, especially infrastructure. Democrats are still tweeting more than Republicans, but Sen. John Cornyn remained the most prolific tweeter of any congressional member or committee. Read on for our other findings.

In Q2, the economy overtook the pandemic as the most frequently mentioned topic. The decreased attention on COVID-19-related topics made space for other topics, including a 515% increase in tweets related to infrastructure and a noticeable bump in foreign affairs and defense-related issues. Racial inequality saw a 15% increase in mentions from Q1 to Q2, with a high volume of Tweets around the Derek Chauvin trial and the anniversary of George Floyd’s murder. Democrats were three times more likely than Republicans to tweet about racial inequality. 

Looking at the average number of tweets per member per day, it becomes clear that despite the many differences between members of Congress, members generally follow a regular cadence on Twitter across parties and chambers. The most tweeted-about event by members of Congress was President Biden’s Joint Address to Congress, with members tweeting an average of 9.2 times on that day. 

Democrats’ and Republicans’ different focuses on Twitter are most evident in how and how much they talk about the COVID-19 pandemic. Amidst the overall decrease in congressional tweets related to the pandemic, Democrats mentioned COVID-19 2.5 times as much as their Republican counterparts. Democrats have also remained dedicated to promoting COVID-19 vaccination, mentioning vaccines nearly five times as much as their friends across the aisle. Compared to the top-five topics for Democrats in Q1, Trump, Pandemic, and Honor fell off the list. 

Tax was a top priority for both parties, with tweets ranging from raising taxes on the wealthy to promotions of GOP tax reform efforts and reminders to file taxes around May’s “tax day.” The term “bipartisan” became the third most tweeted-about term for Republicans, with over 13% of these tweets from Republicans mentioning bipartisan also mentioning infrastructure. Other bill introductions were also frequently mentioned along with the term bipartisan. It is worth noting that Democrats actually mentioned the term “bipartisan” more than Republicans but the topic isn’t in the top five for Democrats because, on average, Democrats are considerably and consistently more active on Twitter than their Republican counterparts. Compared to the top-5 topics for Republicans in Q1, School, Vaccine, and Honor fell off the list, replaced by Bipartisan, Jobs, and Health. 

Sen. John Cornyn remained on top of the Twitter leaderboard. Interestingly, while frequent Democratic tweeters are all members of the House, Republican frequent-tweeters are a mix of both members of the House and Senate. Frequent Republican tweeters remained fairly consistent, with just Reps. Debbie Lesko and Matt Gaetz falling off the list, replaced by Sen. Rob Portman and Rep. Ken Buck. There was a bigger shakeup on the Democratic side, with four accounts (Reps. Adriano Espaillat and Raja Krishnamoorthi, the House Judiciary Democrats account, and Sen. Chuck Schumer) falling out of the leader board. They were replaced by Reps. Mary Gay Scanlon, Sean Casten, Mark Pocan, and Val Demmings.


HPS conducted text analysis on all tweets and retweets from handles included in CSPAN’s “members of Congress” Twitter list that were posted between April 1, 2021 and June 30, 2021. In total, we searched for more than 150 keywords in each of the 145,607 tweets to determine which topics were discussed in each.


HPS Announces New Directors Julia Decerega And JinAh Kim

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Hamilton Place Strategies (HPS) announced today that Julia Decerega and JinAh Kim have been promoted to directors.

“Julia and JinAh are essential members of the HPS team,” said Matt McDonald. “Over the course of their time at the firm, they have benefitted our clients and teams through strong leadership, creativity, and strategic thinking. I’m very excited to work with them as they continue to grow professionally, contribute to our strong culture at HPS, and support our clients to reach their goals.”

Since joining HPS in 2018, Julia has led a number of strategic and crisis communications projects related to financial services, technology, economic development, and regulatory issues. Throughout her time at HPS, Julia has helped to develop and implement public affairs strategies for complex regulatory approval processes, including deals involving the DOJ and CFIUS. Julia has also been a driving force behind the development of the firm’s external research and insights products.

Since joining HPS alongside Julia in 2018, JinAh has spearheaded data and analysis-focused projects in sectors including financial services, housing, and transportation. As a founding member of HPS Creative, HPS’ creative services practice, she helps lead the firm’s work blending brand strategy, digital storytelling, and creative marketing to scale the reach and resonance of our clients’ insights and ideas. During HPS’ own rebrand in 2020, JinAh played a central role in the development of a refreshed brand authentic to HPS’ established record of data-driven public affairs.


Hamilton Place Strategies and Flag Media Analytics Partner with Ballast Research to Offer Data-Driven Public Affairs and Reputation Management, Supported by Falfurrias Capital Investment

WASHINGTON – Today Hamilton Place Strategies (HPS) and Flag Media Analytics (Flag) announced their partnership with Ballast Research, bringing together data-driven public affairs and reputation management across an increasingly complex policy landscape. This partnership is supported by a majority capital investment by Charlotte, North Carolina private equity firm Falfurrias Capital Partners (FCP).

The firms will operate under their existing brands while collaborating and servicing clients in partnership, allowing them to deliver better insights, strategies, and execution for clients across a broad range of issues. 

“We’re thrilled to be growing our business with these partners,” said HPS Founding Partner Tony Fratto. “We built a business based on exceptional talent and constant innovation, and it’s wonderful to see that approach recognized and supported by the team at FCP. Ballast brings unmatched data and insights to understanding issues and the impact of advocacy on policymaking. We can’t wait to partner with them in service of our clients. As we go forward, we’ll continue to seek additional partners that enhance our capabilities and expand our reach.”

“Corporations everywhere are facing an increasingly complex set of challenges, not only from competitors, but from governments, employees, investors, and a growing array of activists,” said HPS Partner Matt McDonald. “Our job is to deliver solutions to help leaders address those challenges, aligned with their business strategies. Getting those solutions right requires better data, insight, strategy, monitoring, and measuring, on a global scale. That’s what we’re aiming to deliver.”

At a time when companies face increased public scrutiny and expectations to demonstrate value to stakeholders, the partnership between HPS, Flag, and Ballast will provide deep insights and integrated solutions to help organizations navigate the business, political, and regulatory complexities they must consider in telling their stories.

“We are excited for the strategic opportunities this partnership presents,” said FCP Senior Advisor Alex Jutkowitz, who will chair the new entity. “Corporate leaders today are subject to a level of public scrutiny and accountability that requires a new depth of understanding on issues and strategy. This platform is uniquely positioned to fill that acute need.”

FCP Senior Advisor Beth Comstock will also serve on the Board, along with FCP Executives Geordie Pierson and Joe Price.

“We’re excited to partner with HPS and Flag,” said Ballast President Mike Gottlieb. “Their approach to data and analysis pairs perfectly with the research, strategy, and insights Ballast delivers to our clients. We are always looking to put our proprietary research and data to its highest and best use, and this partnership will allow us to offer our colleagues in the public, private, and social sectors more comprehensive solutions to complex issues.”

Although each business will maintain its own independent service offerings, support across the partnering organizations will now include public affairs, media relations, crisis and issue management, research and analysis, political and regulatory risk analysis, global thought leadership, digital strategy, corporate reputation, creative content, and media monitoring and analysis.

KPMG Corporate Finance LLC served as exclusive financial advisor to HPS and Flag.

About Hamilton Place Strategies (HPS)

HPS is an analytical public affairs consulting firm. The firm works on complex issues in highly regulated industries, partnering with clients to advance their most important priorities. HPS was founded in 2010 by partners Tony Fratto and Stuart Siciliano.

About Ballast Research

For nearly a decade, Ballast Research has provided direct feedback from senior policymakers through quantitative and qualitative research. Ballast clients—including Fortune 500 companies, nonprofits, and trade associations—leverage Ballast’s data driven insights to validate impact, identify opportunities, and determine optimal strategy and investment for future success.

About Flag Media Analytics (Flag)

Flag is a next-generation news monitoring service—we use both professionals and technology to support clients. The Flag process is designed to inform the decision-making cycle for media engagement and improve planning, feedback, and reporting for public affairs and communications teams. Flag delivers real-time alerts directly into the inboxes of those engaging and responding to media every day. Its team of dedicated media analysts is trained in the latest media aggregation tools and conducts hands-on analysis to deliver the news and insights clients need to make more informed decisions.

About Falfurrias Capital Partners (FCP)

Operational Focus describes the way the FCP team partners with management teams to leverage its significant, real-world experience to bring measurable contributions and create lasting value in our portfolio companies. By partnering with the most respected experts in their fields, we immerse ourselves in your industry, identify the strongest growth opportunities, and rigorously test and learn using our expertise, data, and tireless investigation. Contributions include technology-enabling a product or service, introducing new product lines through market research and proven strategies, and recruiting high-impact management teams—all with the goal of building lasting value.