About Us

As part of the Office of Governmental Relations, federal relations staff work closely with the United States Congress, the Administration, and federal agencies to promote the education, research, health, and economic development missions of the University of Illinois. 

University of Illinois' federal relations team has professional staff members who work to advance U of I's interests in the nation's capital. Federal Relations staff have a broad portfolio of responsibilities, including:

  • Supporting the federal priorities of our three distinct campuses;
  • Working with our Illinois Congressional delegation and higher education and research associations to promote U of I priorities;
  • Arranging and preparing U of I staff and faculty for Congressional meetings;
  • Coordinating profile-raising activities with Congress and the Administration, including Congressional briefings and testimony opportunities; and
  • Providing regular updates on federal issues that affect U of I

Lewis-Burke Associates, LLC

The federal relations team works with Lewis-Burke Associates, a government relations firm that advocates for the public policy interests of higher education and scientific research institutions.

University of Illinois faculty or staff who would benefit from working with the Lewis-Burke firm should contact Director of Federal Relations Paul Weinberger at paulw3@uillinois.edu or 202-624-7775 to discuss possible collaborations.

Staff Profiles

Paul Weinberger, Director of Federal Relations

Paul Weinberger, a veteran congressional staffer with two decades of experience on Capitol Hill and with federal agencies, joined OGR as director of federal relations in April 2017. Most recently, Weinberger served as vice president of congressional and public affairs for the U.S. Government's Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC), overseeing communications and outreach strategies. Before joining MCC, he served as director of congressional relations for the U.S. Peace Corps. Earlier, Weinberger served as legislative director for U.S. Sen. Russ Feingold (D-Wis.). An attorney, Weinberger also served as counsel for the House Committee on Government Reform and as a staff member for the Senate Committee on Appropriations. Weinberger is based in Washington, DC in the U of I System's federal office near Capitol Hill. 

Email: paulw3@uillinois.edu 
Phone: 202-624-7775

Melissa Haas, Associate Director of Federal Relations

Haas, Melissa

A native of Medinah, IL, and a proud alumna of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Haas joined the federal relations team in May 2013 from the congressional staff of Rep. Peter Roskam (R-IL), former Chief Deputy Whip and a member of the House Ways and Means Committee. Haas interned for Rep. Roskam during college, then after graduation, served as the front office ambassador, supervised the internship program, managed the Congressman's large constituent mail operation, and ultimately advised Rep. Roskam on a variety of legislative issues important to the U of I, including higher education, agriculture, and immigration.

Haas first joined the U of I federal team as a federal relations specialist, and has since served as an assistant director of federal relations, acting director of federal relations and now in her current post as associate director of federal relations. She spent her first three years working out of OGR's DC office, and is now based out of OGR's office in Chicago

Email: mshaas@uillinois.edu
Phone: 217-244-4815