Airbnb appoints former Clinton White House advisor to lead public policy

August 27, 2015, 9:40 PM UTC
Campaign spokesman for Democratic presidential can
NASHVILLE, UNITED STATES: Campaign spokesman for Democratic presidential candidate Al Gore, Chris Lehane, speaks to reporters at the press filing center at Gore's hotel in Nashville, Tennessee, 09 Novenmber, 2000, about the irregulaties in the 07 November Florida presidential vote. AFP PHOTO Luke FRAZZA (Photo credit should read LUKE FRAZZA/AFP/Getty Images)
Photograph by Luke Frazza — AFP/Getty Images

The revolving door between the Beltway and the tech world has turned again. On Thursday, Airbnb announced that it had appointed Chris Lehane, a long-time Democratic strategist, as its new head of global policy and public affairs, according to the New York Times.

Lehane, who worked in the Clinton White House as as a spokesperson for Al Gore’s 2000 presidential campaign, has been living with one foot in Silicon Valley and the other in Washington since 2001. More recently, Lehane’s clients have included climate activist and billionaire Tom Steyer, Lyft and AT&T, according to the Washington Post. He’s also worked as a part-time consultant for Airbnb.

“I am committed to playing to win when it comes to standing up and fighting for the rights of everyday people to share their homes,” Lehane said in an interview with the Times.

Lehane’s appointment follows a succession of other political strategists who left for Silicon Valley companies. Jay Carney, President Obama’s former press secretary, joined Amazon in February, and a year ago, Uber poached David Plouffe, a top Obama adviser, to lead policy and strategy.

Airbnb has often encountered policy obstacles in its attempts to grow–facing down regulation and the hotel lobby in the same way that Uber has fought the taxi lobby.


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