Former Rep. Ryan Costello (R-Pa.) on Tuesday announced the launch of his own lobbying shop, Ryan Costello Strategies (RCS), ahead of his lobbying ban expiring in January.
Costello retired in 2019 after two terms representing the Philadelphia suburbs. He told The Hill he has been doing policy-related work this past year that is “in no way lobbying.”
RCS plans to provide government affairs expertise to companies, trade associations, and other organizations. Costello was on the House Energy and Commerce, Transportation and Infrastructure and Veterans’ Affairs committees while in office and plans to gain and retain clients based on his experience.
“I have remained extremely current and have deepened even more my understanding in the areas of telecom, tech, health care — from pharma to the insurance side of it — to the energy sector and transportation sector,” he said.
Costello worked as an attorney in private practice before running for Congress. Last January, he joined a group pushing to fight climate change with a carbon tax.
While in Congress, he had a reputation as a moderate Republican.
“I have a comfort level with having a bipartisan record to look at issues in a way that is pragmatic and I believe I have a very good understanding of what is possible and how to navigate the policy-making process,” he said.
He added, “What I really want to do is work on issues that I believe in and where I think there’s a real need.”
He noted that he thinks the government has relied on regulatory agencies too much in the past decade. He said he thinks legislation in areas from clean energy to privacy and 5G should happen on the congressional level.
“Those are all issues that are going to require legislative solutions and I was a part of those legislative debates and I believe there needs to be solutions and I want to be a productive part of that advocacy,” he said.
Costello, who lives in Pennsylvania with his family, plans to work from D.C. during the week and regularly be on the Hill.
He said he opted to start his own firm because he feels he aligns better with being the principal and the person who directly deals with clients.
“As an attorney, I built my own book of business and I ended up in a better place because of the fact that I was able to build it within my small firm and that’s what I’m looking to do here,” he said.
Costello said he’s open to expanding his firm but is not being too presumptuous from the start.
“As much as I am bipartisan, obviously I am a Republican so I think some of it will just depend how things evolve and what my book of business looks like. I am optimistic but not presumptuous. Everybody has their own kind of value proposition. For me, I work hard,” he said.
A number of Costello’s former GOP colleagues have also launched their own firms, including ex-Rep. Frank LoBiondo (N.J.), who launched LoBo Strategies, in February and ex-Rep. Lynn Jenkins (Kan.), who started LJ Strategies LLC before she left office.