Reilly O’Connor Appointed Head WSWA Hill Lobbyist

Mar 16, 2016
WSWA President and CEO Craig Wolf today announced a reorganized government affairs team including internal promotions and a new head federal lobbyist.

Seasoned Democratic Advocate to Manage Bipartisan Federal Affairs Team

(WASHINGTON)—Wine & Spirits Wholesalers of America (WSWA) President and CEO Craig Wolf today announced a reorganized government affairs team including internal promotions and a new head federal lobbyist.

WSWA’s Federal Affairs team will be managed by respected lobbyist Reilly O’Connor, a nine year veteran of the association.  In his new role, O’Connor will serve as Vice President, Head of Federal Affairs and Policy, managing the association’s six person federal affairs team and serving as its top strategist and advocate before Congress and the federal government.

Prior to joining the association, O’Connor was Director of Government Affairs for the Generic Pharmaceutical Association.  He began his career in the offices of Sen. Richard Durbin (D-Ill.), and former Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) and on numerous democratic campaigns.  He is a 2004 magna cum laude graduate of Lake Forest College.

Catherine McDaniel is now Vice President, Federal Affairs.  McDaniel joined the association in 2007 to lead WSWA-PAC, which under her leadership became a top 15 trade association political action committee that has seen a 134 percent expansion in contributions and grown to represent more than 2,000 donors.  In addition to her important PAC work, she will continue to advocate before Congress and is tasked with managing WSWA member grassroots activities as well as ongoing political branding activities like the annual “Toast to Congress” event.

McDaniel joined WSWA in 2007 from the Outdoor Advertising Association of America where she served as Director, Legislative and Political Affairs.  She is a 1997 graduate of Louisiana State University.

Ali Prolago Gormley is now Director, Federal Affairs.  Prolago Gormley joined WSWA in 2013 from the office of Rep. Patrick Tiberi (R-Ohio) after serving on his staff for six years.  She will now work as a full time lobbyist for the association with elected officials in both chambers of Congress from both parties.  A native of Steubenvile, Ohio, she is a 2007 graduate of The Ohio State University.

In addition to these changes, WSWA’s Vice President, Legal and Regulatory Affairs Jacob Hegeman will report to O’Connor on federal legislative matters and will continue his work driving the association’s state and regulatory affairs agenda.  The Association will fill two new positions: a Director, Federal Affairs, and a Coordinator, Federal Affairs to support the veteran team. 

“WSWA has built a hard-earned record of honest and effective legislative advocacy in the nation’s capital,” said President and CEO Craig Wolf.  “These promotions recognize the successful efforts of our current team and position the association to address a variety of issues—whether in the executive, legislative or judicial branches—in the years ahead,” Wolf added.

WSWA is the national trade association representing the wholesale tier of the wine and spirits industry, dedicated to advancing the interests and independence of wholesalers, distributors and brokers of wine and spirits.  Founded in 1943, WSWA has 366 member companies in 50 states and the District of Columbia and its members distribute more than 80 percent of all wine and spirits sold at wholesale in the United States.  More information is available at