A veteran campaign operative, Capitol Hill staffer and Obama appointee, Matthew Lehner leads Culloton + Bauer Luce’s Washington office.
At C+BL, Lehner focuses on crisis communications, issue advocacy and political campaigns. His recent federal advocacy work includes the development and execution of the communications campaign that led the U.S. House to pass $20 billion for a clean energy jobs accelerator. He also led the public affairs strategy that successfully led the U.S. Department of Defense to use artificial intelligence on the Bradley Fighting Vehicle for the Army and the M88 fleet for the Marines.
Prior, Lehner was appointed by President Barack Obama as the public affairs director for the U.S. Department of Transportation’s rail division in the aftermath of the Amtrak derailment outside of Philadelphia. Under his leadership, he reversed the press’ negative portrayal of the agency’s safety oversight.
Previously, Lehner became one of the youngest communications directors in the U.S. Senate leading the communications offices for the U.S. Senate Energy Committee and U.S. Senator Mary Landrieu (D-La.) during the BP Oil Spill. His work resulted in three bills becoming laws, including the largest investment in coastal restoration in U.S. history.
Lehner is also a veteran of three competitive statewide campaigns. In 2012, he served on Joe Donnelly’s 2012 longshot and successful run in Indiana for U.S. Senate. Two years later, he worked as a senior adviser for Mary Landrieu’s U.S. Senate race in Louisiana, where she earned every newspaper endorsement in the state—a first in Landrieu’s 30-year career. In 2020, he provided communications counsel on the U.S. Senate race in Alaska, putting the seat in play where the incumbent “had to fight for his political life.”
Born and raised in Central Illinois, Lehner graduated with honors from Saint Louis University.