Matthew Murray

2010 Recap: GOP Errors Help Democrats Win

Ahead of the opening pitch in last year’s annual Roll Call Congressional Baseball Game, Democratic manager Rep. Mike Doyle (Pa.) had a vision. In it, retiring Rep. Gresham Barrett (S.C.), who was not expected to play, would come off the bench for one final at bat and win the game for the GOP.

It nearly happened.

Conservative Groups Bemoan Senate Barriers

Socially conservative groups are confident they have the Republican-led House covered during the 112th Congress.

But the Senate is already proving a disappointment to their agenda.

K Street Files: Netflix Hires ‘at Large’ Lobbyist; Thorn Run Expands

Netflix, whose ubiquitous red DVD envelopes are quickly giving way to direct online transmission, has officially brought on its first in-house registered lobbyist, Republican Michael Drobac.

Since 2005, the Los Gatos, Calif., company has used outside help to press its legislative agenda, retaining Patton Boggs and Monument Policy Group, Senate records show.

Immigration-Reform Lobbyists Prepare for Tough Crowd in 112th

After watching their main legislative priority be defeated in the waning days of the 111th Congress, immigration-reform advocates are resetting their lobbying goals. And they expect the incoming House GOP majority to be less receptive than its Democratic predecessor.

“It will be a difficult political climate,” said Andrea Zuniga DiBitetto, who works on immigration issues at the AFL-CIO. “With a Republican House, defense will play a large role.”

Lobbyist Ends Work With Ivory Coast

Lobbyist Lanny Davis confirmed to Roll Call on Wednesday night that he has resigned from working on behalf of the Ivory Coast and President Laurent Gbagbo.

Gbagbo has challenged Alassane Ouattara’s victory against him in the Nov. 28 presidential runoff, which was verified by the Independent Electoral Commission, the United Nations and other observers.

Issa Probing For-Profit University Report

Members weighed in on the ongoing controversy involving for-profit universities just before last week’s Christmas holiday, asking the federal government’s in-house investigators to detail why they made revisions to a recent report on the industry.

In a letter last week, incoming House Oversight and Government Reform Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) asked Government Accountability Office Comptroller General Gene Dodaro to report what his agency has done about revisions to an August report.

Jay Timmons Replacing Engler at NAM

The National Association of Manufacturers is elevating lobbyist Jay Timmons to be the trade group’s new top executive. He will replace outgoing President and CEO John Engler, a former Republican governor of Michigan, who announced earlier Tuesday that he will take the helm at the Business Roundtable in January.

John Engler to Head Business Roundtable

The Business Roundtable has tapped former Michigan Gov. John Engler (R) to run the lobbying outfit representing some of the nation’s most powerful corporate executives.

Engler, who has a reputation as a partisan GOPer, says the opportunity came up unexpectedly about a week ago.

GOPer Gregg Hartley Plans to Stay at Cassidy

The top Republican lobbyist at Cassidy & Associates has called off his job search and will remain with the firm.

A day after the firm shed a dozen employees and announced plans to restructure, Cassidy Chief Operating Officer Gregg Hartley confirmed Thursday that he is not leaving.

Ex-Rep. Russo, 12 Employees Out in Cassidy Shake-Up

Bowing to financial pressures and a changing political tide, K Street earmarking trailblazer Gerald Cassidy laid off nearly 20 percent of his staff on Wednesday and announced plans to remake his decades-old lobbying shop.

“We’re going through a restructuring,” the Cassidy & Associates founder told Roll Call on Wednesday. “We’ve been here 35 years, so I’ve done this a few times. Sometimes you need to reduce staff to increase staff, so we’re trying to bring up a war chest so we can bring in new people.”

Cassidy & Associates Shakes Up Staff

Cassidy & Associates laid off almost 20 percent of its staff Wednesday, the firm’s founder Gerry Cassidy confirmed to Roll Call on Wednesday afternoon.

Former Rep. Marty Russo (D-Ill.), who is considered close with Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), is taking a buyout from the firm, though he is not being laid off. Russo had been CEO of Cassidy & Associates.

What’s at Stake for Lobbying Interests in Next Year’s Tax Fight?

If the White House and Congressional leaders decide to pare back the IRS code next year, tax writers from both parties will have no shortage of special-interest goodies to throw on the bonfire.

In the new White House report “The Moment of Truth: Report of the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform,” to achieve lower tax rates overall, Members are encouraged to simplify a dizzying array of carve-outs, deductions, write-offs and credits, which critics argue unfairly benefit targeted industries big and small.

K Street Files: AGA Nabs McCurdy; Daly Joins Ogilvy Team

Former Rep. Dave McCurdy (D-Okla.) will be the next president and CEO of the American Gas Association, the organization announced Tuesday.

“Dave McCurdy will be a tremendous asset to AGA, and a great addition to the AGA family,” AGA Chairman Bob Skaggs said in statement.

Ethanol Subsidies Add Fuel to the Tax Debate

Opponents of federal ethanol subsidies mounted a last-minute campaign Monday to reduce the industry’s funds in the White House’s $858 billion tax package. But even if the near-term assault fails, lobbyists on both sides will be back at it next year.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s office told Roll Call that the California Democrat attempted again Monday afternoon to revise the pending tax bill to lower ethanol subsidies by 20 percent. Feinstein’s plan calls for decreasing a per-gallon tax credit from 45 cents to 36 cents and for other reductions that the Senator said would shave billions off the legislation’s massive price tag.

Business Vs. Unions Now Moves Off the Hill
The Card-Check Bill That Would Have Made Unionizing Easier Is Dead, but the Fight Goes On

Coming off a successful lobbying fight that all but eliminated the prospects of Members signing off on a card-check bill in the foreseeable future, the downtown business community is training its sights on the National Labor Relations Board for initiatives that may make it easier for workers to unionize.

“The card-check coalition has pivoted,” said Jade West, senior vice president of government relations at the National Association of Wholesaler-Distributors. “Its mission is still the ultimate defeat of anything that looks like the Employee Free Choice Act … the mission is still a free workplace, but that mission has expanded well beyond card check and into every possible avenue.”

K Street Files: Boehner Gains Staffer; Grassley Loses One

Sen. Judd Gregg’s decision to drop of out the running for the top Business Roundtable job won’t derail the trade association’s hunt for a new president and CEO.

“It is going according to plan and should be done within the next few weeks,” a source familiar with the search said.

Gregg Declines Business Roundtable

Updated: 1:30 p.m.

Retiring Sen. Judd Gregg will not be the next president and CEO of the Business Roundtable, the New Hampshire Republican told Roll Call on Friday.

NRCC Flack Headed to Private Sector

National Republican Congressional Committee spokesman Ken Spain is headed downtown. 

Foreign Governments Look for Support on K Street

It was hardly a client lunch at the Palm.

In the mid 1990s, Democratic lobbyist Lanny Davis found himself halfway around the world, surrounded by Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, her Cabinet ministers and military brass, who wanted the United States to fork over more than $400 million worth of fighter jets being held in the Arizona desert amid national security concerns.

K Street Files: Hurting Gulf Seafood Industry Wants U.S. to Buy In

Gulf Coast officials were in Washington, D.C., this week, pitching the Pentagon on a plan to sell local seafood to the armed forces and other federal programs as a way to help their depressed region.

“No one else is similarly situated as us,” Mobile, Ala., Mayor Samuel Jones told Roll Call on Monday. “No one else came right off [Hurricane] Katrina to the oil spill.”