Olympic-size Lobbying

Posted February 4, 2003 at 4:33pm

While lobbying has not yet been classified as an Olympic sport, it certainly takes skill and dexterity to be successful on K Street.

So it’s no surprise that TSD Inc. has secured a contract to lobby on behalf of the Organizing Committee for the Olympic Games/Athens 2004, according to disclosure reports of new clients released last week by the offices of the Secretary of the Senate and the Clerk of the House.

It certainly can’t hurt to have some representation in town, especially since Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Chairman John McCain (R-Ariz.) has been hauling beleaguered officials from the separate U.S. Olympic Committee before his panel.

The disclosure reports, culled by PoliticalMoneyLine.com, also show that the likely Mississippi gubernatorial campaign of Haley Barbour has not slowed the flow of new clients to his powerful lobbying firm Barbour Griffith & Rogers.

SAP Public Services, a computer and business systems software manufacturer, signed up Barbour’s firm to monitor “homeland defense budgetary” and appropriations issues.

Another prominent Washingtonian who is reeling in several new clients is former Rep. Michael Andrews (D-Texas), who used to sit on the powerful Ways and Means Committee.

Andrews, a former partner at Vinson & Elkins, decided to open his own lobbying shop at the beginning of this year.

“This will be different because I’m no longer with an 850-person law firm. I’m answering my own phone,” Andrews said with a laugh. “But it’s very exciting.”

He is sharing an office with two old buddies on the Ways and Means panel, ex-Reps. Tom Downey (D-N.Y.) and Ray McGrath (R-N.Y.), though Andrews is not directly affiliated with Downey McGrath. The Texan has not even settled on an official name for his firm.

“No flashy name,” he said. “I’d welcome a suggestion.”

Name or no, Andrews has already signed up plenty of clients, including Vinson & Elkins, which has retained him to lobby on “general legislative and regulatory issues affecting corporate legal and financial responsibility.”

He has been retained by Portland General Electric Co. to lobby on issues affecting the electric utility industry, as well as 7-Eleven Inc. to keep an eye on issues affecting convenience stores.

The former lawmaker is also lobbying for the University of Houston Health Science Center on health care and “telemedicine” issues.

Another busy person on K Street is Thomas “T.J.” Petrizzo, former chief of staff and legislative director to Rep. Jennifer Dunn (R-Wash.), who now runs the Petrizzo Group. He just signed up Seafreeze Alaska as a client to lobby on the Magnuson-Stevens Act reauthorization as well as the Bering Sea/Gulf of Alaska groundfish cooperative. Petrizzo is also lobbying for CoCo Communications, a wireless telecommunications company, on the “federal wireless communications standard to ensure the highest level of security and highest level during times of crisis,” according to a new filing.

He has also added the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corp. as a client and will lobby on the “presidential initiative to expand minority home ownership.”

With the start of the 108th Congress, lobbyists signed up dozens of new clients last month. Here are some of the new filings released last week alone:

Business/Retail Industry

Amid the specter of potential lawsuits against the fast food industry for allegedly making people fat, Fennery Gray & Associates has registered to lobby for the US Fast Food Coalition. The coalition is interested in “fast food industry liability” issues as well as “restructuring the body mass index,” according to the filing.

The firm Reed Smith is lobbying for the Brick Industry Association on environmental legislation. Thelen Reid & Priest has signed up WH Smith USA as a client on “airport retail concessions” issues.

Communications/Technology

Preston Gates Ellis & Rouvelas Meeds is lobbying on behalf of the Alliance for Digital Progress in “opposition to government technology mandates” and in support of “intellectual property protection” for digital content. Winstead Sechrest & Minick has also been signed up to lobby for the alliance.

Venn Strategies has signed up Aspen Systems Corp. on government procurement issues and “mid-size business interests” before Congress.

Schumacher Partners International is lobbying for Basic Technologies, a wireless communications company.

Robertson Monagle & Eastaugh will lobby for Alaska Communications Systems on telecommunications. The firm is also lobbying for the Cooper Valley Electric Association on rural energy projects, as well as Calista Corp. on “road and energy projects,” according to new filings.

Defense and Homeland Security

With the United States still waging a war on terrorism and potentially headed for a military conflict in Iraq, defense and homeland security issues are getting special attention on K Street.

Parry Romani DeConcini & Symms is lobbying for SafeCard ID, a company looking to provide the Department of Homeland Security as well as the Immigration and Natural Services agency with “secure identification material and technology,” according to a filing.

Lobbyist Irvin Kipnes has added Northrop Grumman as a client. Stephan Bell will lobby for Quincy Technologies on homeland security and “crime lab funding,” according to a new filing.

Education

Hofstra University has registered to lobby on “budget matters” affecting the university. Advocacy Group has signed up the Florida Institute of Technology, as well as the Connecticut State University System, to monitor education issues.

Van Scoyoc Associates has added the American Association of Publishers as a client on “special education issues” facing Congress. The firm is also lobbying for Monitor Associates on appropriations issues and Georgetown University Hospital on the “graduate medical expense” issue.

Energy and Natural Resources

The Advocacy Group has added the Louisiana Energy Service as a client. Jack Burkman will lobby for the Institute for Energy Independence, a nonprofit energy research organization.

Arent Fox Kintner Plotkin & Kahn will lobby for the Society of Nuclear Medicine on Energy Department appropriations as well as Medicare reimbursement issues.

Finance and Insurance

KPMG has registered to lobby on behalf of the Life Investors Insurance Co. of America on international tax matters, as well as the Cookson Group on international tax matters.

Baker & Hostetler will lobby for KeyBank National Association on tax reform issues, while Fierce & Isakowitz has registered to lobby for the American Insurance Association on asbestos litigation reform.

Health Care

On the issue of cancer research, the Health Policy Group has signed up the Cancer Therapy & Research Center to focus on “changes to cancer reimbursement,” according to a filing. Jeffrey Hirschberg, meanwhile, has started lobbying for TransScan Medical on cancer research issues.

In the area of Alzheimer’s disease research, the Advocacy Group has added EMA/Cooper Ridge, an Alzheimer’s health care facility, as a client. The group is also lobbying for the Iron Disorders Institute on funding for study of the disease, and has added New York Chiropractic as a client as well.