WASHINGTON – George Callas, former senior tax counsel to House Speaker Paul Ryan and a chief architect of the tax law changes enacted in December, has joined Steptoe & Johnson here as a managing director.
Callas, who has spent 15 years working on Capitol Hill, mostly on tax issues, will practice in the firm’s government affairs & public policy group as well as its tax group.
“George is one of the most influential tax staffers on the Hill,” said Steptoe’s Chair Phil West, who also leads the firm’s tax department. “Along with his strong technical tax skills, George has been recognized for his ability to translate the technical aspects of tax policy into concise, straightforward language that legislators, Treasury officials, and business executives can understand.”
Micah Green and Scott Sinder, co-leaders of Steptoe’s government affairs and public policy group, said, “George’s experiences both technically and politically at the committee level and in the speaker’s office, have given him unique insights not only into how tax laws are negotiated and enacted, but also the intent of the Congress on virtually every section of the most significant tax reform legislation to pass Congress in over three decades.”
House Speaker Ryan, R-Wis., for whom Callas was senior tax counsel for for more than two and a half years, starting in December 2015, praised him in a statement he put into the Congressional Record. "One of the most significant policy achievements in the last three decades would not have been possible without George Callas," Ryan wrote. "He laid the groundwork for our eventual success with his early work on draft legislation while at the Ways and Means Committee and he drove us over the finish line as my senior tax counsel in the Speaker's office."
"George is problem solver, relentless, and quite simply the best tax policy mind that I've ever encountered," Ryan added.
Callas was chief tax counsel on the House Ways and Means Committee for more than six and half years, beginning in April 2009.
Before that, he was legislative director and senior advisor to George Voinovich, a Republican from Ohio who served in the Senate from 1999 to 2011 and passed away in 2016.
Before joining Voinovich, he was counsel on the House Budget Committee for almost three years from July 2006 from October 2003.
His career on Capitol Hill was preceded by three years as a senior tax associate at KPMG.
Callas has a master's in taxation and a law degree from the University of Florida’s Fredric G. Levin College of Law. He received his bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of Florida in 1996 and went to the Wharton School from 1991 to 1993.