Transitioning from government work into a lucrative lobbying career is a common path, and it’s one that John R. Clay Jr. has followed.

Often referred to by his middle name, Reed Clay is the founder and CEO of Crestline Solutions, a large lobbying firm based in Austin. Clay spent eight years with Gov. Greg Abbott, moving from the attorney general’s office to the governor’s office in 2015.

He most recently served as the chief operating officer for the State of Texas and Abbott’s deputy chief of staff, being promoted in 2017, and was among Abbott’s most well-paid aides. Clay has also been an access point for many employed with the governor, playing “an integral role in helping Governor Abbott attract quality leadership to oversee Texas’ executive Agencies.” 

While with Abbott, Clay also managed Texas’s Office of State-Federal Relations, which, as the name suggests, was a contact point between Texas and the federal government. After Hurricane Harvey, Clay was a point of contact for local governments to contact state and federal governments, leveraging his connections in Washington D.C. to get relief for the affected communities. 

Currently, taxpayer-funded clients make up 19 percent of Clay’s lobbying contracts.

Clay is the seventh highest-paid lobbyist in Texas, making up to $4,675,000. As stated earlier, he is a large beneficiary of taxpayer-funded lobbying; among his clients are the Superior HealthPlan Inc. (Texas Medicaid), Port of Corpus Christi Authority, Nueces County, Southwest Texas Regional Advisory Board, Houston, and Aransas County. 

He also has numerous big corporations as clients, such as the Dow Chemical Company, ReviverMX Inc., Motorola Solutions, iDocket, Texas Oil and Gas Association Good Government Committee, Brand Technologies, Hagerty Consulting, Hyundai Motors, NextDecade LNG LLC, Orano USA, Waste Control Specialists LLC, Crossnore Group LLC, Texas Health Resources, and NTT Data. 

He has even done lobbying for some hospital systems, particularly the Methodist Health System and Baylor Scott & White.

Clay is also a significant donor to Texas Sen. John Cornyn, donating a total of $3,500 to Cornyn’s 2020 re-election campaign, according to PoliticalMoneyLine.com.

Learn more about John R. Clay Jr.’s lobbying career, clients, and donations at Transparency USA

This article is part of a series of profiles on Texas’ highest-paid lobbyists by Texas Scorecard.