Congressional Staffers

Melissa Bez Cheatham
Professional Staff
House Energy and Commerce Committee
Rep. Henry Waxman, Chair

Melissa Bez Cheatham serves as Professional Staff on the House Committee on Energy and Commerce.  As part of the Committee’s energy and environment staff, she has worked to pass legislation in the House including the American Clean Energy and Security Act (H.R. 2454), the Chemical and Water Security Act (H.R. 2868), and the Home Star Energy Retrofit Act (H.R. 5019).  Previously, Melissa worked on the personal staff of Congressman Henry Waxman and at the Natural Resources Defense Council.  Melissa holds a Bachelors of Arts degree in Political Science from the George Washington University.

Ken Cummings
Senior Legislative Assistant
Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-MD)

Ken Cummings is a senior legislative assistant to Congressman Chris Van Hollen D-MD.  His portfolio includes finance, foreign affairs and defense.  He also staffs the congressman on the House Ways & Means Committee and the Oversight and Government Reform Committee.  Before joining the congressman’s office, he was director of international affairs for the Maryland Secretary of State.  He has been a researcher and translator at the Woodrow Wilson Center and the Kennan Institute for Advance Russian Studies and he is a veteran.  He is a graduate of the University of Maryland, American University and the Culinary Institute of America.

Scott Eckel
Financial Services Policy Advisor
Rep. Scott Garrett (R-NJ)

Scott joined Congressman Garrett’s staff in March 2009 and serves as his Financial Services Policy Advisor.  Mr. Garrett is the Ranking Member of the House Financial Services Subcommittee on Capital Markets, Insurance, and Government Sponsored Enterprises.  Previously he worked for almost two years in the office of Senator John Sununu (R-NH), handling his banking committee issues.  The four years prior to that, Scott led the Washington office of the New England Council, a chamber of commerce-like organization for the New England region.  Scott grew up in New Hampshire and graduated from Duke University in 1994 with a degree in Political Science.  He lives in Alexandria, VA with his wife, Laura and daughters Elizabeth, Sophia, and Felicity.

Brian Hughes
Legislative Aide
Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee
Sen. Lisa Murkowski, RM

Brian Hughes is a Republican Legislative Aide for the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, where he serves as an advisor on climate change, biofuels, vehicles, and other issues for Ranking Member Lisa Murkowski.  Prior to joining the Committee in 2007, Hughes spent a year as speechwriter for Senator Ted Stevens of Alaska.  He graduated from Washington State University in 2006 with a degree in finance and a minor in history.

Kristina Moore
Senior Counsel
House Oversight and Government Reform
Rep. Darrell Issa, RM

Kristina Moore is Senior Counsel for the minority staff of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee where she is specializes in energy and environmental policy. Kristina has worked on Capitol Hill since 2001, and has served in the Office of the Speaker under J. Dennis Hastert and the Office of Congresswoman Brown-Waite. She first joined the Oversight and Government Reform Committee in 2005. After spending a year in the General Counsel’s office of the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, Kristina rejoined the Committee in her current capacity in February 2009.

Kristina earned her Juris Doctorate from George Mason University School of Law and is a member of the Virginia Bar. She has two Bachelor’s degrees in History and Economics from the University of South Florida.

Michael Obeiter
Budget Analyst for Energy and Environment
Senate Committee on the Budget
Sen. Kent Conrad, Chair

Michael Obeiter is an analyst for energy and environmental issues for the Senate Budget Committee. In that role he is responsible for all energy, environment and natural resource programs in the Congressional budget resolution, as well as ensuring proposed legislation in these areas complies with budgetary rules. Prior to joining the Committee, Michael served as Research Manager for World Energy Solutions, where he tracked climate policy developments and researched trends in the international and domestic carbon markets. Michael has a BA in mathematics and history from Williams College and an MA in International Relations and Economics from the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies.

Andrew Olmem
Senior Counsel
Senate Committee on Banking
Sen. Richard Shelby, RM

Andrew Olmem is Senior Counsel at the Senate Banking Committee.  He received a B.A. in economics from Washington and Lee University, and his J.D., cum laude, from the Washington and Lee University School of Law.  He has previously served as an assistant economist at the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond, and practiced corporate law for several years in New York City at a global law firm.

Allison Parent
General Counsel
Senate Committee on Budget
Sen. Judd Gregg, RM

Laura Swanson
Democratic Staff Director
Financial Institutions Subcommittee, Senate Banking Committee
Sen. Tim Johnson, Chair

Laura Swanson is a Legislative Assistant for U.S. Senator Tim Johnson.  She handles a variety of issues for Senator Johnson including his work on the Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs.  Since January 2007, Senator Johnson has been Chairman of the Financial Institutions Subcommittee of the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs; Laura serves as his Staff Director for this Subcommittee.  In this role, she has organized Congressional hearings on a variety of topics including deposit insurance, rural banking issues, and other concerns within the current system of banking regulation.  She also works on tax, pension, children, adoption and welfare issues.

Prior to joining Senator Johnson’s staff in January of 2005, Laura worked for former Senator Tom Daschle in South Dakota.

Laura grew up in South Dakota, and received a B.A. in Political Science from Amherst College in Amherst, Massachusetts.

European Parliament Staffers

ofia Asteriadi
Parliamentary Assistant
Vice President Stavros Lambrinidis (Greece – S&D)

Sofia Asteriadi is the Parliamentary Assistant to Vice-President Stavros Lambrinidis since 2004. She is dealing with the transatlantic relations dossier and especially with data transfer agreements, data protection law, internet, fundamental rights and security. She studied law in the National University of Athens and accomplished a LLM on European Data Protection Law from Regensburg University, Germany. In the past, she has worked as a lawyer in Athens and Brussels. She is fluent in French, English and German.

James Buckley
Policy Advisor
MEP Peter Skinner (UK – S&D)

James Buckley is assistant and policy adviser to a British centre-left MEP who is a senior member of the European Parliament’s ECON Committee and US delegation. James is a lead adviser on the development of the new EU supervisory framework for financial services, the EU’s Solvency II insurance legislation, and EU-US equivalence issues. He also advises on a range of other financial services regulatory issues, including hedge funds and private equity legislation, derivatives and accounting standards.

Prior to beginning at the European Parliament in August 2009, James was head of research for a consumer banking and payments research consultancy. Before that he spent six years as a financial services journalist covering a range of topics, from pensions to corporate finance.

James has a MSc (with distinction) in International and European Politics from the University of Edinburgh and a BA in Business Studies from the University of Brighton. He speaks reasonable French and Italian.

Conan D’Arcy
Senior Parliamentary Assistant
MEP Sharon Bowles (UK – ALDE)

Conan is the Parliamentary Assistant to Sharon Bowles MEP, Chair of the Economic and Monetary Affairs Committee. Conan advises on financial services regulation including the Alternative Investment Fund Managers Directive, Crisis Resolution and the revision of the Basel framework (CRD III).

Conan graduated with 2:1 honours in Modern History from St Catherine’s College, Oxford University. After graduating he undertook political internships with Greg Mulholland MP and FD-LLM Public Affairs before moving to Brussels to work for Sharon Bowles MEP as a Parliamentary Assistant. After initially dealing with telecoms reform and legal affairs, Conan worked on the Economic and Monetary Affairs Committee with particular responsibility for insurance (Solvency II) and banking (CRD II).

Marie Bender Foltmann
Political Advisor
MEP Dan JØrgensen (Denmark – S&D)

Marie Foltmann holds a MSc in European Politics from the London School of Economics and a MSc in International Relations at from the University of Copenhagen. She has undertaken studies and conducted research in international energy and climate change politics as a Crown Prince Frederik fellow at Harvard Kennedy School of Government.

Currently, Ms Foltmann works as a policy advisor to the vice chairman of the Environment Committee of the European Parliament and the head of the Danish Social Democratic Delegation to the European Parliament, MEP Dan Jorgensen.

Prior to working in the European Parliament Ms Foltmann worked as a policy advisor on European affairs in international relations in the Danish Parliament to the main party in opposition and taught several graduate courses on the European Union at the University of Copenhagen.

Diana Gierstorfer
Political Advisor
Committee on Fisheries (Germany – ALDE)

Diana Gierstorfer resides in Brussels and works as a policy advisor for the ALDE Group in the European Parliament. Until April 2010, she had been the foreign affairs advisor to Alexander Graf Lambsdorff, Member of the European Parliament (EP) with the Free Democratic Party of Germany and vice-chair of the liberal ALDE Group. Diana holds a Masters Degree in American Studies and Political Sciences from Munich’s University LMU and has previously worked for a government program at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst, U.S. Before taking up her duties in the European Parliament she had been a consultant at an international PR firm in Berlin, Germany, working on several pan-European information campaigns for the European Commission. Diana is one of the two co-founders of the Congress-EP staff exchange initiative that eventually became the CEPI.

Estelle Göger
Parliamentary Assistant
MEP Pervenche Beres (France – S&D)

Estelle Göger is assistant and policy advisor to Pervenche Berès, a French socialist Member of the European Parliament. When she joined Mrs Berès’s office in 2006, Estelle was first in charge of the constitutional affairs committee before taking over responsibility of the Economic and Financial Affairs committee that Mrs Berès chaired from 2004 to 2009. As assistant to the committee chair she worked closely with the committee secretariat, the European Commission and Council services and took part in negotiations on the revision of the Capital Requirements Directive, Solvency II, and the European Deposit Guarantee Scheme.

Estelle now assists and advises Mrs Berès in her new responsibilities as chair of the Employment and social affairs committee and rapporteur to the newly created special committee on the financial, economic and social crisis.

Estelle holds a Master in European Political Sciences from the Strasbourg University.

She is fluent in German and English.

Johanna Hasting
Head of Office
MEP Michael Theurer (Germany – ALDE)

Johanna Hasting works as political advisor to Michael Theurer, Member of the European Parliament with the Free Democratic Party of Germany and a member of the Committee of International Trade.

Johanna is responsible for the International trade committee and thus works on the EU´s trade agreements and trade policy with third countries. She also coordinates the daily political business and keeps close contacts with the party´s political groups in Germany.

Previously, Johanna worked at the Robert Bosch Foundation in their International Relations Department in Germany. She also worked in New York City as a Program Assistant at CDS International, a nonprofit organization that supports intercultural understanding through professional development programs abroad.

Johanna earned her bachelor´s degree in American studies and Economics at the University of Erlangen-Nuremberg and holds a masters degree in European Public Policy from the University of Kent (Brussels School of International Studies).

She is a member of the German Marshall Fund´s Young Transatlantic Network (YTN) and one of the two co-founders of the Congress-EP staff exchange initiative that eventually became CEPI.

Cosima Möller
Political Advisor
MEP Daniel Cohn-Bendit (Germany – Green/EFA Co-President)

As Political Advisor to Daniel Cohn-Bendit, Member of the European Parliament and President of the Green/EFA Group, Cosima is researching, analysing and reporting on various issues particularly on issues concerning environment, climate change and international affairs. After she obtained her Degree in Political Science at “La Spienza University’ in Rome she completed her studies at Sussex University (UK) with a Master Degree in “Environment, Development and Policy”.

Miikka Nieminen
Political Advisor
MEP Eija-Riitta Korhola (Finland – EPP)

Mr. Miikka Nieminen is a 35 years old professional in the European Parliament, who during his six years has worked mainly on the environment, climate and energy issues. Working as a political advisor to a long-time Member of the European Parliament, Mrs. Eija-Riitta Korhola (Vice-Chair of the Finnish National Coalition Party (Kokoomus)), he has gained a wide insight into the European policy making, having been closely involved in the environment, climate and industrial committee’s legislative work.

Due to his role in the Korhola office, he was also involved in drafting the European People’s Party (EPP) energy and climate policies, in which Mrs. Eija-Riitta Korhola was chosen as the rapporteur.

Before his political work in the European Parliament, Mr. Nieminen worked in Espoo, Finland, for Nokia as a Recruitment Promotion Consultant.

Sandra Parthie
Political Advisor
MEP Jo Leinen (Germany – S&D)

Mrs Sandra Parthie is 34 years old and works on environment, climate change, health policy and food safety issues as head of office and political advisor to  the Chairman of the European Parliament’s environment committee, Jo Leinen (German Social democrat) and is closely involved in all the legislative processes. Previously, she has been working on constitutional and institutional issues, e.g. the Lisbon Treaty or the new EU lobby register.