Burleigh Leonard

Burleigh Leonard

Senior Consultant


With over 35 years of Washington experience, Burleigh has done a little bit of everything—from confronting angry farmers who had barricaded the Mall with their tractors, to eating jelly beans with President Reagan and his Cabinet, to demonstrating the world’s first “smokeless” cigarette to skeptical members of Congress, to fleeing Capitol Hill on 9/11 as acrid fumes wafted across the Potomac from the burning Pentagon. His experience is bolstered by his expertise in food, agriculture, and international trade issues.

Prime Points

Prime Points

  • Led the Senate Agriculture Committee staff in drafting the 1981 farm bill
    Coordinated development of the Reagan Administration’s proposal to reform food safety laws
  • Advocated within the Reagan White House to negotiate a new long-term agriculture trade agreement with the Soviet Union
  • Formulated the legislative strategy that resulted in what at the time were the most sweeping reforms of the tobacco price support program since its inception
  • Played a key role in securing passage of legislation implementing the Central America Free Trade Agreement
  • Helped lead the successful lobbying campaign to make the peanut price support program more responsive to supply and demand
Differentiating Skills

Differentiating Skills

  • Legislative and executive branch experience
  • Deep knowledge of the food and agriculture sector
  • Published author in The Wall Street Journal, The Hill and Roll Call
  • Guest lecturer, Montana State University, Political Science Department
Past Experience

Past Experience

  • Founder and President of Burleigh Leonard & Company LLC
  • Vice President, Federal Government Relations, RJR Nabisco
  • Special Assistant to the President, The White House, first term of the Reagan Administration
  • Professional Staff Member, U.S. Senate Agriculture Committee
  • Legislative Assistant, U.S. Senator John Danforth of Missouri


  • BA- Princeton University; Cum Laude
  • Oxford University, Mansfield College (English Literature)
  • JD- The American University, Washington College of Law
Did You Know?

Did You Know?

  • Burleigh taught 7th grade English to Michael Lewis, author of The Big Short, MoneyballThe Blind Side, Flash Boys and other books.
  • He founded the soccer program at the Newman School and coached the varsity soccer team to the New Orleans city championship.
Read Full Bio

Burleigh Leonard is a Senior Consultant to Prime Policy Group, where he advises on food, agriculture, trade, transportation issues and business development.  Burleigh is also the founder, President and CEO of Burleigh Leonard & Company LLC, a consulting firm which provides government relations counseling services to corporate and trade association clients.

With over thirty years of Washington experience in both the public and private sectors, Burleigh specializes in long-term positioning of clients with the legislative and executive branches of the federal government as well as helping clients creatively address specific public policy challenges.

Burleigh came to Washington with then newly-elected Senator John Danforth of Missouri.  He was the Senator’s legislative assistant on issues concerning international trade, agriculture, energy and the environment.  Burleigh moved to the U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry where he served under Chairman Jesse Helms as senior professional staff member responsible for farm commodity programs, trade, crop insurance, food safety and nutrition.

At the beginning of the Reagan Presidency, Burleigh was appointed to the White House Domestic Policy Council.  Later, as Special Assistant to the President, he helped coordinate food and agriculture policy for the Reagan Administration and served as the Executive Secretary for the President’s Cabinet Council on Food and Agriculture.

Burleigh left the White House to join RJR Nabisco, Inc., one of the world’s largest consumer product companies where after a series of promotions, he was appointed Vice President responsible for managing the company’s federal government relations.  He dealt primarily with tax, marketing, advertising, trade and health issues as they pertained to the tobacco and food industries.

Burleigh is a native of Missouri.  He graduated cum laude from Princeton University with a BA in English.  He did post-graduate study in English Literature at Mansfield College, Oxford University, England and received his JD degree from the Washington College of Law at American University in Washington, DC.  He served on President Reagan’s National Advisory Council on Rural Development.  He is a member of the District of Columbia Bar.  He resides in Arlington, VA with his wife and two daughters.

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