Airbnb hires Clinton administration vet as policy chief

Lehane brings double duty experience to the table with past high-profile advising roles from Silicon Valley to the Beltway.

As Airbnb continues to face civic and legal challenges around the world, the online lodging service is bolstering its mind share arsenal.

The Bay Area company announced on Thursday that it has enlisted Chris Lehane as its new head of global policy and public affairs.

Lehane brings double duty experience to the table with past high-profile advising roles from Silicon Valley to the Beltway.

In Washington, Lehane got his start on Bill Clinton's 1992 presidential campaign, later going on to serve in a series of roles in the Clinton Administration. He later moved on to serve as press secretary for Vice President Al Gore for two years.

Lehane got more involved in the tech world through the 2001 co-founding of his firm, Fabiani & Lehane. One of his more recent cases included representing AT&T in its $48.5 billion bid to merge with DirecTV.

The Federal Communications Commission officially approved the telco's bid to acquire the satellite TV service in July.

On a side note, Lehane also represented former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer in his successful bid to buy the Los Angeles Clippers NBA team.

At Airbnb, Lehane will be consulting with consumers and policymakers alike in an effort to unruffle feathers and promote Airbnb's homesharing ethos.

"I know Chris is going to be focused on communicating how the Airbnb platform is helping everyday people and he is excited to help organize our millions of hosts and guests into advocates for the right to home share," elaborated Airbnb general counsel Belinda Johnson, in a blog post. "And Chris understands that our community is capable of making decisions that are in the best interest of the cities they live in."

Lehane and the rest of Airbnb's public policy team has work cut out for them.

From Paris (the private company's largest market) to its home base in San Francisco, the tech wunderkind has been on the brunt end of tighter laws and penalties imposed amid a growing backlash to "Sharing Economy" startups such as itself, Uber and others.