Today, the Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA) announced the addition of two experienced professionals to its lobbying team, Austen Jensen and Dave Koenig. Both officially joined RILA on January 4.
“Dave and Austen are well-versed in many of the retail industry’s top issues and each has a proven record of developing and implementing effective legislative strategies,” said Jennifer Safavian, RILA’s executive vice president for government affairs. “Their robust knowledge of Capitol Hill, will be of great value to our members and add to the great team already in place.”
As Vice President for Government Affairs, Austen Jensen will manage RILA’s financial services portfolio, including leading efforts to promote transparency, innovation, and competition as it pertains to financial practices in the retail industry.
Jensen brings years of experience advising members on the U.S. House Financial Services Committee, most recently acting as the Chief of Staff to Vice Chairman Patrick McHenry. Prior to joining Congressman McHenry’s office, Jensen served as Legislative Director for Congressman Frank Guinta and later Congressman Robert Pittenger, both of whom also serve on the Financial Services Committee.
“Austen served as a trusted advisor to me for much of his ten years on Capitol Hill. He has a deep knowledge of the financial services sector and numerous other key policy issues facing Congress,” said Congressman Patrick McHenry (R-NC). “While I will miss his counsel, I know he will be a great advocate on behalf of RILA and their members.”
As Vice President for Tax, Dave Koenig will serve as RILA’s leader on tax policy issues, driving advocacy to achieve one of the retail industry’s top priorities, comprehensive tax reform that broadens the base, lowers the rate, simplifies the tax code, and treats all industries equally.
Koenig joins RILA from the National Restaurant Association (NRA), where he served as vice president of tax and profitability for the past six years. While there, Koenig advocated for top legislative issues affecting the restaurant industry, including tax, interchange fee reform, access to capital, and data security.
Prior to his time at the NRA, Koenig was tax policy director for the American Forest & Paper Association (AF&PA), leading their efforts on federal tax legislation and regulatory issues. Koenig is a former tax senior attorney for Texaco, Inc. as well as former tax counsel for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the accounting firm Ernst & Whinney.
RILA is an outspoken advocate for the most critical issues facing the retail industry. RILA remains at the forefront of a number of battles, including cybersecurity, tax reform, international trade, and myriad electronic payments issues. RILA also plays a leading role on issues including implementation of the Affordable Care Act, privacy, and a variety of labor and finance issues.
RILA is the trade association of the world’s largest and most innovative retail companies. RILA members include more than 200 retailers, product manufacturers, and service suppliers, which together account for more than $1.5 trillion in annual sales, millions of American jobs and more than 100,000 stores, manufacturing facilities and distribution centers domestically and abroad.