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Roll Call

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

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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.

The Tuesday announcement came after hours of uncertainty over who would lead the group after Jan. 1, when current AGA head Dave Parker retires. The Detroit News reported this week that McCurdy was leaving the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers for the AGA, but a representative for the natural gas lobby declined to comment at first.

“The official decision is that there’s no decision yet,” AGA spokeswoman Laura Sheehan told Roll Call on Tuesday morning. “Time will tell.”

McCurdy reportedly told Auto Alliance staffers of his departure during the trade group’s holiday party last week. The group did not return a call seeking comment Tuesday. The seven-term Member  lost a Senate bid in 1994. He worked at the Electronic Industries Alliance until leaving for the Auto Alliance almost four years ago.

Taking Heat for Leaving the Street

Despite a recent public relations campaign by the American League of Lobbyists, it seems K Street is still a favorite political antagonist.

ALL released a promotional video Nov. 30 in an attempt to generate positive buzz for the maligned industry, but apparently the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee hasn’t yet viewed it on YouTube.

“It’s now clear that House Republicans have launched an ambitious new effort, ‘Leave No Lobbyist Behind,’ where they hire special interest lobbyists to key positions that will develop the Republican agenda,” according to a DCCC release this week.

The DCCC’s Jesse Ferguson added in the statement that “Republicans have told Washington special interests that they’re ‘open for business’ as they leave no lobbyist behind while hiring congressional staff.”

Their cases in point: Incoming House Energy and Commerce Chairman Fred Upton (Mich.) has tapped longtime Dutko Worldwide lobbyist Gary Andres as his staff director, while Speaker-designate John Boehner (Ohio) has hired Brett Loper, senior executive vice president with the Advanced Medical Technology Association, as his policy director.

The DCCC also noted that Rep.-elect Robert Dold (R-Ill.) selected Eric Burgeson, a BGR Group lobbyist, as his top aide. Reps.-elect Raul Labrador (R-Idaho), Charlie Bass (R-N.H.) and Jeff Denham (R-Calif.) have also tapped lobbyists as chiefs of staff: John Goodwin of the National Rifle Association, John Billings of the Food Marketing Institute and Jason Larrabee of Jason Larrabee Ventures, respectively.

Of course, Republicans aren’t the only ones who have tapped savvy K Streeters for top positions on the Hill. After the 2006 elections put Democrats in control of Congress, Rep. John Dingell (Mich.) hired former DaimlerChrysler lobbyist Dennis Fitzgibbons as staff director of the Energy and Commerce Committee. Sen. Claire McCaskill (Mo.) made former AT&T lobbyist Sean Kennedy her chief of staff, while Sen. Sherrod Brown (Ohio) selected ex-Ricchetti Inc. lobbyist Jay Heimbach as his top aide.

More recently, when Sen. Ted Kaufman (D-Del.) was appointed in January 2009, he hired Quinn Gillespie & Associates lobbyist Jeff Connaughton to run his office.

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Brendan Daly, communications director for Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), will join Ogilvy Washington as executive vice president and national director for public affairs.

Daly, who has been with  Pelosi since she became the Democratic Whip nine years ago, will start his new job next month and will “work with clients to help them manage their reputations inside the Beltway and beyond,” the firm’s news release stated.

In a statement, Pelosi said, “Brendan has been an essential part of my team for nearly a decade, and his leadership, hard work and dedication have been essential to the progress we have made on behalf of the American people.”

Bennett Roth contributed to this report.

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