“Longtime Business Lobbyist Laments Loss of ‘Smoke-Filled Rooms’ in Washington”


As executive vice president for government affairs at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Mr. Josten, 66, was the point man for business interests in a slew of heavy-duty trade, tax and energy negotiations. He was a master at the inside game.

After more than 30 years in the Beaux-Arts-style chamber headquarters across Lafayette Square from the White House, Mr. Josten is now in his own transition, retiring after helping turn the chamber into a political powerhouse and watching his specialty — sophisticated legislative give-and-take — become less prized in a polarized capital.

Washington, he said, has become an “I win, you lose” town rather than a “how do we get this done” town where those skilled in what he calls the “art of the back room” can have a big effect.


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