Harriet Melvin, a longtime lobbyist at Quinn Gillespie & Associates, has launched her own operation, the Capitol Group. Melvin had been with QGA almost since its inception in 2000. Prior to Quinn Gillespie, Melvin headed the Circuit City/CarMax Washington, D.C., office and spent five years at the National Federation of Independent Business.
She took one client the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers with her. Melvin said the decision to start her firm was twofold: She wanted more flexibility to spend time with her 6-year-old and also wanted to start her own business. In addition to ASCAP, Melvin said she has two non-Lobbying Disclosure Act clients, which she declined to name.
Melvins departure follows several other recent exits at Quinn Gillespie, including Stacey Morton Bowlin and Allison Giles. Bowlin left for the communications firm FD, and Giles is now a lobbyist with the Cook Group. Associate Stephanie Sutton also left to become deputy director of outreach at Third Way this fall. Those departures follow Jeff Connaughtons and Chris McCannells return to Capitol Hill. Connaughton is now chief of staff to Sen. Ted Kaufman (D-Del.) and McCannell serves as chief of staff to New York Democratic Rep. Michael McMahon.
Quinn Gillespie co-founder Jack Quinn said in an e-mail the partings were amicable and that he expects the firms head count to be up in 2010.
Additionally, Quinn said, We are planning changes that will broaden our capabilities.
Johnson Lands at Kratos. Public relations guru Paul Johnson is launching a new venture, Kratos. The former vice chairman of Fleishman-Hillard will be CEO at the strategic communications and business consulting firm. Kratos will not do lobbying, leaving government affairs work to its sister company National Strategies.
Its definitely a different turn on an old game, Johnson said. Well be positioning ourselves more as a business partner.
The firm, which is part of the Interpoint Group, is headquartered in Washington, D.C., with seven regional offices. So far Johnson is staying mum about who else will be joining him at the firm, saying Kratos will make a personnel announcement next month.
The firm will focus on helping companies and CEOs be on the offensive in Washington, according to Johnson.
Luntz Lunges Left? Republican pollster Frank Luntz, who famously encouraged early skepticism of climate change bills, is now teaming up with the liberal-leaning, pro-climate-change-legislation Environmental Defense Fund President Fred Krupp. The odd bedfellows are coming together Thursday morning at the National Press Club to discuss climate change, cap-and-trade legislation and new research findings.
His new research could have an equally significant impact on the next stage of the climate debate, an Environmental Defense Fund press release said.
AIA Loses Members. USAA and insurance company ACE USA have dropped out of the American Insurance Association. The decision, which was made last fall, became official at the beginning of this year. The departures mean a loss in membership dues of a little more than $3 million, according to industry sources.