Solution Series Roundtable: The Mechanics of a Deal

On October 3, Partnership for a Secure America hosted an off-the-record Bipartisan Negotiation Panel to provide practical lessons in effective negotiation and bipartisan policy development.  The panel was led by Lara Flint, former Chief Counsel for National Security for Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and Bart Forsyth, former Chief of Staff for Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner (R-WI).

The first of the Bipartisan Negotiation Panel series, this dinner event focused on the negotiation tactics behind the creation and passage of the USA FREEDOM ACT of 2015. As key architects, Lara Flint and Bart Forsyth evaluated their own roles and strategies in the passage of the Freedom Act. This series will build off of the knowledge obtained by Congressional Partnership Program participants during their negotiation training.  Dinners will feature candid, deep-diving conversations with accomplished former and current senior Congressional Staff to explore the “mechanics of a deal” behind bipartisan legislation in national security and foreign policy arena.

Lara Flint

Lara Flint is the Associate Director for Oversight and Congressional Capacity at the Democracy Fund, a bipartisan foundation working to ensure that our political system is able to withstand new challenges and deliver on its promise to the American people. Lara leads the Governance Program’s work to strengthen safeguards that ensure our government is transparent and accountable to the public.

Lara is a skilled advocate with more than 15 years of legal, public policy and government experience, including a decade on Capitol Hill. Most recently she served as chief counsel for national security to then-Chairman Patrick Leahy of the Senate Judiciary Committee, where she led the committee’s work on national security, privacy, and technology, and was instrumental to enactment of the bipartisan USA FREEDOM Act of 2015 — the first major surveillance reform legislation in decades. Previously, Lara served as senior counsel on the Judiciary Committee to Senator Russ Feingold.

Between her Senate positions, Lara joined the State Department Office of the Legal Adviser, where she advised senior State Department officials on counterterrorism, law of war, and use of force issues. Prior to her government service, Lara worked on policy at the intersection of technology and national security at the Center for Democracy & Technology, and conducted a broad range of litigation at the law firm of Jenner & Block. Lara is a graduate of the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University, and Harvard Law School.


Bart Forsyth

Bart Forsyth currently serves as a deputy vice president with the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America.  He began his career in Washington as an Attorney Adviser at the Department of Labor.  He later served as legal counsel to four House congressional committees:  Foreign Affairs, Science, Judiciary, and the Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming, the latter of which he was also chief of staff.

From 2012-2017, he was the chief of staff to Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner.  In this role, he had the pleasure of staffing several major legislative efforts, including the USA FREEDOM Act—a bill to institute sweeping intelligence reforms—and the Voting Rights Amendment Act—a modernization of the historic civil rights legislation.  More recently, he helped spearhead the Judicial Redress Act, a law that facilitated the sharing of law enforcement information between countries by providing citizens of designated countries access to U.S. courts.  Bart graduated magna cum laude from Washington and Lee University School of Law.