Ellen Doneski is a Capitol Hill veteran with three decades of experience in the House and Senate. In her positions as chief tax advisor to the Senate’s Democratic Leader, Senate Commerce committee staff director, Senate Finance health subcommittee staff director, as well as legislative director, Ellen played a significant role in the development and passage of numerous major legislative initiatives. Ellen recently formed her own government affairs firm, Pontifex Strategies.
Until 2017, Ellen worked in the office of Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid, where she served as Chief Advisor on tax and economic policy. As Chief Advisor to the Office of the Senate Democratic Leader on tax and economic policy, Ellen led tax and economic policy initiatives in the 114th Congress from the Leader’s office and was central to strategy and communications on a broad spectrum of issues. She was the Leader’s negotiator on the PATH Act, and the tax provisions of the Omnibus Appropriations Act of 2015. The Protecting Americans from Tax Hikes Act of 2015 (the PATH Act) made permanent more than 20 tax provisions that affect individuals, families, and businesses and helps safeguard against tax fraud, in addition to retroactively extending and substantially modifying others.
Ellen has been deeply involved in almost every Congressional tax and budget measure since 1992, when she joined Senator John D. Rockefeller IV’s staff. Senator Rockefeller was a five-term Member of the Senate Finance Committee. Ellen served as his chief tax and legislative advisor, including during his tenure on the Joint Tax Committee and chairmanship of the Senate Finance Committee’s Health Subcommittee, where Ellen was staff director.
Prior to joining Democratic Leadership staff, Ellen was the Majority staff director of the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee for six years. She led the committee’s day-to-day operations and served as chief strategist for long-term policy plans for all areas under the Committee’s broad jurisdiction, including consumer protection, cybersecurity, privacy, telecommunications, technology, science, space, trade and all modes of transportation.
Ellen served as Legislative Director for Senator Rockefeller for more than ten years. She joined his staff as a legislative assistant, soon becoming his policy director, then legislative director, managing his legislative operation. Ellen was also Senator Rockefeller’s Political Fund Designee (PFD) and senior political advisor. In the House, Ellen worked for Congressman Gerry Sikorski. She was responsible for his Energy and Commerce Committee portfolio which focused on health and environment, as well as oversight and investigations.