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Christian Tamotsu Fjeld

Vice President

CTFjeld@mlstrategies.com

+1.202.434.7433

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Christian is based in our Washington, DC office and is a Vice President of ML Strategies. He assists a variety of clients in their interactions with the federal government.

Prior to joining ML Strategies, Christian spent nearly 10 years in staff leadership roles with the US Senate’s Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation serving Senator John D. Rockefeller IV (D-WV) as the former Chairman, Senator Bill Nelson (D-FL) as the former Ranking Member, and Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA), the current Ranking Member of the committee. During most of his tenure, he was either a subcommittee staff director or senior counsel for at least one of three subcommittees: Manufacturing, Trade, and Consumer Protection; Consumer Protection, Product Safety, and Insurance; and Competitiveness, Innovation, and Export Promotion. His work focused on a broad range of issues, including consumer protection, privacy and data security, cybersecurity, automobile and highway safety, product safety, sports, manufacturing, exports, and trade while regularly interacting with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), the National Highway Safety Administration (NHTSA), the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), and the Department of Commerce. His previous position with the Commerce Committee was serving as a majority staff counsel for two subcommittees for former committee Chairman Rockefeller. 

Earlier, Christian held policy coordinator, senior staff, and senior advisor roles with the US House of Representatives’ Committee on Energy and Commerce, where he worked on matters related to the FTC, NHTSA, CPSC, Department of Commerce, and the EPA.

Christian also served as a senior legislative assistant to US Representative Bobby L. Rush (D-IL) and previously to former US Representative Bill Luther (D-MN), advising each on Energy and Commerce Committee issues.  
 

Education

  • Oberlin College (BA)

Recent Insights

News & Press

Events

Viewpoints

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The bills listed reflect a relatively active cybersecurity agenda for the 117th Congress.  As reflected in the proposed legislation, many Members are interested in focusing federal policy on matters such as supply chain security, cyber workforce training, and international competitiveness, particularly with China.  The most ambitious bill may be the Endless Frontiers Act, which would establish a Directorate for Technology and Innovation within the National Science Foundation and further establish regional hubs (i.e., partnerships between government, private, and academic stakeholders) to drive R&D and commercial innovation in key areas of technology.  Endless Frontiers could be the centerpiece of a legislative agenda to ramp up the U.S.’s technological competitiveness with China.  The Senate Commerce Committee was scheduled to mark-up the bill last Wednesday, but it was pulled after over 230 amendments were reportedly filed, and Members failed to garner a critical mass of bipartisan support.  The committee will likely work through the recess to seek bipartisan agreement for passage. 
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Since the Democrats reclaimed control of the House of Representatives in 2018, barrels of ink have been spilled on the topic of “congressionally-directed spending”. Better known as earmarks, this funding mechanism allows Members of Congress to send money directly to projects identified in their districts, largely bypassing the federal bureaucracy and its protracted grant application process. For more than a decade, the Congress has banned the practice of including congressionally-directed funding in spending bills. Now, Democrats in control of both chambers and the White House are poised to bring earmarks back. On March 17th, House Republicans voted to reverse the GOP Conference’s ten year-old ban on congressionally directed spending, paving the way for Members from both parties to make requests in upcoming spending and infrastructure bills.
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The 117th Congress kicked off its First Session with, among other initiatives, oversight hearings on the SolarWinds cyber hack.  On February 23, the Senate Intelligence Committee held a hearing on the high profile, far-reaching breach; followed by a joint hearing on February 26 in the House of Representatives held by the Oversight and Reform and Homeland Security Committees.  At both hearings, Sudhakar Ramakrishna, President and CEO of SolarWinds, Kevin Mandia, CEO of FireEye, and Brad Smith, President and Chief Legal Officer of Microsoft, testified.  In addition, George Kurtz, the President and CEO of Crowdstrike, testified at the Senate Intelligence hearing, while Kevin Thompson, the former CEO of SolarWinds, testified in front of the joint House hearing.  Together, the hearings represent what will likely be the first of several congressional forays into the SolarWinds hack, including possible legislative initiatives to address future possible incidents and supply chain security.
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With Democratic majorities in the U.S. House and U.S. Senate, Congress and President Biden’s new administration are working to quickly advance proposals to provide for economic relief as the nation continues to reel from the now nearly one-year pandemic. One area of emerging bipartisan focus is a long-sought measure to address the nation’s crumbling and outdated infrastructure, which could be paired with a required surface transportation reauthorization bill.
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With the Senate set to flip to Democratic control in the 117th Congress, albeit by a razor thin margin, the policy priorities for the upper chamber are likely to significantly change.  In so doing, the various Senate committees will have new chairs, and their agendas will likely vary at least in part on the partisan make-up of the committees.
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Two weeks ago, on March 9, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) sent warning letters to seven companies that allegedly made false or deceptive claims about their products’ ability to treat Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19).  

News & Press

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Vice President of ML Strategies Christian Fjeld was quoted in an article published by Bloomberg Law on how the Internet of Things Cybersecurity Improvement Act of 2020 may impact the industry due to the government’s purchasing power.
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In Thomson Reuters’ Westlaw, Vice President of ML Strategies Christian Fjeld was quoted on the Internet of Things (IoT) Cybersecurity Improvement Act of 2020, which establishes security standards for IoT devices owned or controlled by the federal government and was recently signed into law by President Trump, and its potential “spillover effects” into the private sector.
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In an article published by Law360, Vice President of ML Strategies Christian Fjeld was quoted on how the 2020 election could reshape the communications industry, specifically with regards to leadership on relevant congressional committees and the possibility of reform of Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act.
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In an article published by Law360, Vice President of ML Strategies Christian Fjeld was quoted on lawmaker efforts to amend Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act.
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Vice President of ML Strategies Christian Fjeld was quoted in an article published by Reuters discussing the increase of price gouging due to COVID-19 and its legality.
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Vice President of ML Strategies Christian Fjeld was quoted in an article published by Legaltech News on the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s approval of robotics company Nuro’s request for three exemptions to deploy its fully autonomous car fleet in the United States.
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On December 9, 2019, Vice President of ML Strategies Christian T. Fjeld participated in the Artificial Intelligence (AI) & Business Table of Experts discussion hosted by the San Francisco Business Times. During the forum, panelists addressed how businesses can leverage AI to drive innovation, the impact AI will have on the economy and on society, and the meaning of artificial intelligence itself.
In this Q&A published by Legaltech News, Vice President of ML Strategies Christian Fjeld—former lead Democratic Senate staffer tasked with shepherding the American Vision for Safer Transportation through Advancement of Revolutionary Technologies Act (AV START Act) through the Senate—discussed why Congress failed to pass the AV START Act, how autonomous vehicles’ complexity isn’t lawmakers’ largest hurdle, and why the data privacy debate may factor into the next autonomous vehicle bill.

Events

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2020
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Jun
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2019

Health Care & Cybersecurity: A Powerful Combination

Mintz, ML Strategies, & Zingbox

Washington, DC