Josh Riley showcases his “deep roots in upstate New York.” He just returned after a decade in DC

The Congress Dem hopeful was a partner at an elite law firm, where he defended corporate clients

Collin Anderson • September 16, 2022 5:00 a.m.

In his campaign materials, Democrat Josh Riley is a flannel-wearing, beer-drinking, fifth-generation New Yorker with blue-collar values. In real life, Riley spent years at an elite law firm in Washington, D.C. and returned upstate just months ago to kick off his run for Congress.

Riley’s campaign site says the Democrat is “running for Congress to give working families a Square Deal” and touts his upstate “working class” upstate New York upbringing. Riley’s campaign launch video, meanwhile, features the candidate dressed in flannel and a hoodie alongside ramshackle factories and modest homes. Later in the spot, before clinking a Miller Lite glass in a dimly lit dive bar, Riley pledges to get back “to the kitchen table” with her “neighbors.” [in] upstate New York and ask what is best for them.”

Before his run for Congress, however, these upstate New Yorkers hadn’t been Riley’s neighbors in more than a decade. Instead, Riley spent years in DC at a top international law firm defending corporate clients such as Apple and Uber, and he only registered to vote in his northeastern district. New York state until after his campaign launch — facts that could tarnish the Democrat’s local blue-collar workers. image as he runs against Republican County Executive Marc Molinaro in the state’s 19th congressional district.

After graduating from Harvard Law School in 2007, Riley spent four years in Florida and California before moving to DC to become general counsel for former Democratic Sen. Al Franken, his LinkedIn shows. . In 2014, he began working in the DC office of international law firm Boies Schiller Flexner, a lucrative job that helped the Democrat amass a net worth of up to $4 million, according to his candidate’s financial disclosure.

Two years later, in 2016, Riley married his wife, a strategic consultant, at Memorial Continental Hall in the nation’s capital, a place the self-proclaimed “urban” couple “loved” because it was “totally DC.” to buy a four-bedroom townhouse for $1.6 million in June 2020 — Riley is still paying property taxes on the home as of this year, according to local records reviewed by the Free Washington Beacon.

Riley, whose campaign did not return a request for comment, traded Boies Schiller Flexner for another international company Jenner & Block in January 2021 before leaving the company in October 2021. Just a month later, he is returned to upstate New York to launch his campaign for Congress. , says his LinkedIn. In February 2022, Riley registered to vote in the area, using an address in a “luxury” apartment building with “sophisticated styles” and a “world-class collection of amenities”, including a “wine storage,” a “pet spa,” and a “yoga studio.” Prior to the move, Riley had not been registered to vote in New York since 2006.

While Riley’s campaign site says the Democrat “hit back at big business,” Riley’s time at Boies Schiller Flexner saw him defend Uber and GoDaddy.com against patent and trademark infringement claims. , legal filings reviewed by the Free tag To display. Riley also represented Apple in a class action lawsuit accusing the tech giant of unlawfully censoring conservative content online.

Still, Riley’s launch video underscores the candidate’s bipartisan good faith by showing Riley praising a self-proclaimed Republican voter in a parking lot. His Twitter accountmeanwhile, does not mention his degrees from Harvard and William & Mary, but lists his year of graduation from Union-Endicott High School in upstate New York.

Beyond Riley’s corporate clients, the Democrat’s stint at Boies Schiller Flexner came at a controversial time for the law firm. In the fall of 2016, shortly before Riley became a partner at Boies Schiller Flexner, the firm aided Harvey Weinstein in his quest to suppress allegations that the disgraced Hollywood mogul sexually assaulted scores of women. Hunter Biden was also a consultant at Boies Schiller Flexner from 2011 to 2017, during which time he brought a now infamous client to the firm: Ukrainian energy company Burisma Holdings. Riley raised more than $140,000 from Boies Schiller Flexner employees, according to federal campaign finance disclosures.

Riley won his August primary by 28 points and will face Molinaro in November. Despite Riley’s close ties to DC, Molinaro has a slight financial advantage over the Democrat — Molinaro has raised $1.6 million compared to Riley’s $1.4 million as of Aug. 3.

Lucas E. Kelly