If capturing the U.S. Senate seat long held by the late Democratic icon Ted Kennedy was challenging for Scott Brown, proving to the voters of Massachusetts that he deserves to keep it may be even more so.
In his efforts to remain in Washington, Brown has enlisted a major law firm heavy-hitter who knows a thing or two about effective Republican leadership.
In June 2010, Campaigns & Elections’ Politics magazine named Daniel P. Haley, a partner at McDermott, Will & Emery, one of the 10 most influential Republicans in Boston. A year later, he’s proving worthy of the honor: Haley has signed on as Brown’s general counsel.
Haley’s Republican roots run deep. As deputy legal counsel to Gov. Mitt Romney, Haley drafted and heavily promoted the passage of Melanie’s Law in 2005 and was subsequently promoted to Romney’s assistant chief of staff.
He’s been a special assistant to the chairman of the Republican National Committee, a consultant to the National Republican Congressional Committee and a special assistant for the 1996 Republican National Convention.
He also served as special liaison to the Bush/Cheney transition team in 2000, was chief of staff and legal counsel to Lt. Gov. Kerry Healey and treasurer of the Charlie Baker for Governor Committee.
Now, as a key legal figure in a heated U.S. Senate race, one of Haley’s major responsibilities is to keep a watchful eye for even the smallest misstep, which at this level constitutes a whole new ballgame.
“Nobody’s allowed an innocent mistake,” says Haley, 38. “There’s always someone waiting to jump in and see a grand evil plot. So I have to minimize unforced errors.”
And maximize awareness of his detractors’.
“The SEIU, for example, was making factually untrue statements about Scott Brown’s voting record. It’s my job to make people aware of inaccuracies and to let the groups know we’re paying attention,” he says.
When asked what about the incumbent appeals to Daniel Haley, Esq. (as opposed to Dan Haley, political junkie), Haley points to Brown’s meticulous approach to deciphering key pieces of legislation.
“I think lawyers are often frustrated with dealing with the output of our legislative body. I think many of them must think, ‘Who wrote this? It’s not even English.’”
Haley says Brown has actually been criticized for taking the time to read every bill, not so that he can just deliver talking points, but so that he knows what’s actually in each measure.
“I remember one recent speech he was giving about a patent reform bill, and it was way over my head,” he says. “He’s fastidious about [reading the bills]. It can drive his staff to distraction at times. And it’s very impressive.”
As an attorney, Brown’s ability to examine an issue from more than one angle is essential, Haley adds.
“Lawyers ought to be able to appreciate multiple perspectives,” he says. “Except for Scott, the Massachusetts congressional delegate is ideologically homogenous.”