Neas Sets New Target

Posted February 11, 2003 at 5:13pm

Already leading the attack on the judicial nomination of Miguel Estrada to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, which is being debated on the Senate floor this week, Ralph Neas will today unveil a new coalition of labor unions and civil rights organizations that is plotting a campaign to put the brakes on President Bush’s economic agenda as well.

Neas, president of the liberal People for the American Way, charged that the Bush administration has a two-pronged political strategy that he is trying to stop.

“The first prong is to achieve ideological domination of the federal judiciary,” Neas said. “The other prong of the strategy is to starve the federal government of resources [with tax cuts]. That’s money America needs to invest in health care, public education and the solvency of Medicare and Social Security.”

In addition to People for the American Way, the Fair Taxes for All Coalition includes the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, the National Women’s Law Center and the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights. More than 160 national, state and local groups have signed the coalition’s pledge to battle the Bush agenda and fight instead for what they bill as a “fiscally responsible and equitable” economic plan.

“We are quite concerned about what we see as irresponsibility on the part of the Bush administration in proposing these massive tax cuts when we have a

whole host of national priorities to be met,” said Nancy Duff Campbell of the National Women’s Law Center.

Campbell said the coalition will be rolling out “a grassroots campaign in several states” to get their message to voters. They will also be lobbying Members of Congress to oppose Bush’s $674 billion economic plan, which would eliminate the double taxation on dividends.

But the new coalition is charging into the teeth of the heavy artillery of Big Business, which already has the Tax Relief Coalition working overtime to pass the president’s plan. When Bush unveiled his proposal last month at the Economic Club of Chicago, Dirk Van Dongen of the National Association of Wholesaler-Distributors declared that the TRC will be actively pushing the plan.

“This is exactly the right plan for the economy,” said Van Dongen, who serves as executive secretariat of the coalition. “This program will help everyone participate in the economic recovery, both businesses — large and small — and individuals. The president is to be applauded for taking this strong and decisive initiative.”

Top lobbyists on K Street, meanwhile, continue to snap up lucrative clients across the ideological spectrum. Here’s a sampling of lobbyists who have registered new clients with the Secretary of the Senate and the Office of the Clerk of the House, according to filings culled by PoliticalMoneyLine.com:

Aviation

Venn Strategies has signed on the airline AeroMexico and will monitor aviation issues.

City/County

Alcalde & Fay has signed up two new clients: Chippewa County, as well as the Alger County Development Fund on local government issues.

McGuiness Norris & Williams is lobbying for the Village of Wellington on Clean Water Act amendments, while Austin & Copelin has added the City of Killeen as a client on TEA-21 reauthorization as well as airport improvements.

Jefferson Government Relations has signed up the Mississippi Development Agency as a client on defense and military construction appropriations.

Communications/Technology

Walker Martin & Hatch is lobbying for Computerized Thermal Imaging, which is in business “to improve the quality of life though deployment of thermal imaging and associated technologies,” according to a filing.

PMA Group is lobbying for Consulting Network, a consulting and software design outfit, on the Defense authorization and appropriations bills. The firm is also lobbying for the Calspan University of Buffalo Research Center on defense matters, as well as EDO Fiber Science.

Spectrum Group is lobbying for Orbimage, a satellite communications company, as well as EnviroBate Global Inc., on engineering issues.

Defense & Homeland Security

American Defense International will be lobbying for Archangel Defense Systems on the Defense appropriations and authorization bills; the group has also added Mustang Survival as a client.

Energy

Chadbourne & Parke is lobbying for TECO Energy, a holding company for an electric & gas utility in central Florida, and Clipper Windpower Development, which generates electricity from windmills. The firm has also signed up Meridian Energy, which is “active in windpower, synfuel and other alternative energy projects,” according to a filing.

Foreign Nations

Foley Hoag has signed up the Republic of Kenya as a client.

Health Care

The firm Winning Strategies Washington has signed up the Somerset Medical Center, as well as Dinakar Singh & Loren Eng, which focuses on spinal muscular atrophy awareness.

Lobbyist Marc Samuels has signed up Biogen, a drug company, and Inoveon, a medical device company. He will also be lobbying on behalf of the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center.

Manufacturing

CMR Group has added EMD chemicals, which focuses on drinking water testing systems, as a client.

Arent Fox Kintner Plotkin and Kahn will lobby on behalf of the Center for International Rehabilitation to promote the rights individuals with disabilities.

Real Estate/Construction

The firm Piper Rudnick has signed up Archstone-Smith Operating Trust, which owns and operates residential apartment projects, as a client on real estate issues. The firm has also added the Residential Loan Centers of America as a client.