Although tough economic times have hurt a number of K Street firms, at least one prominent lobbying shop is undergoing a period of record growth.
Brownstein, Hyatt & Farber has more than doubled in size since last fall, adding a trio of well-connected lobbyists and a string of new clients recently. Al Mottur, a former aide to Sen. Fritz Hollings (D-S.C.), ranking member on the Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee, is the newest addition to the Washington office of the Denver-based firm.
“We are in a growth mode right now,” said Tommy Hudson, himself a former chief of staff to Sen. John Breaux (D-La.) and now a lobbyist with Brownstein, Hyatt & Farber.
Mottur’s hiring comes after the firm added Republicans Leigh LaMora, a former top aide to former Rep. J.C.
Watts (R-Okla.), and longtime GOP staffer Judy Black.
Meanwhile, Brownstein, Hyatt & Farber has also picked up a number of new clients, including software technology firm Thinkstream Inc., Freeport LNG, a Texas natural gas company, and the National Osteoporosis Foundation.
Radio Days. Another Washington office that is rapidly expanding is Clear Channel Communications Inc., the nation’s largest owner of radio stations.
Joining Clear Channel are Brendan Kelsay, formerly of Rep. John Dingell’s (D-Mich.) office, and Robert Fischer, an aide to Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Chairman John McCain (R-Ariz.).
Clear Channel set up its own in-house lobbying team late last year after a series of acquisitions raised the company’s profile — and made it a target on Capitol Hill. The company’s Washington office was started by Andy Levin, a longtime telecommunications advisor to Dingell, the ranking member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee.
“The company got to be so big in size in the last five or so years that we decided that it’s probably best to have some of our own representation in Washington,” Levin said.
Though Clear Channel now owns 1,200 radio stations across the country — primarily from its purchase of station owners AMFM and Jacor — there are more than 13,000 stations nationwide, leaving the company with 9 percent of the market.
“When you look at it that way it doesn’t seem to be as great as a threat,” Levin said.
Regardless, the San Antonio, Texas, company also plans to increase the size of its political action committee.
Murphy’s Law. Patricia Murphy, communications director to then-Sen. Max Cleland (D-Ga.), has signed on as director of corporate communications for the Public Broadcast Service.
Murphy, who spent four years with Cleland, will wear a variety of hats for the non-profit TV network, including speechwriting and other press duties.
Murphy started with Cleland in 1997, and then moved over to work for then-Sen. Richard Bryan (D-Nev.) in 1998 and 1999. She returned to Cleland’s staff after Bryan retired.
Murphy broke into politics in 1993 with then-Sen. Sam Nunn (D), serving in a variety of jobs for the Georgian.
Cushing Departs. After 24 years on Capitol Hill, the last nine in the House, Frank Cushing has jumped to Cornerstone Government Affairs as a vice president and equity partner.
A onetime aide to then-Sen. James McClure (R-Idaho), Cushing spent 15 years working for the Senate Energy and Natural Resources as well as the Senate Appropriations committees.
Prior to joining Cornerstone, Cushing most recently was majority clerk for the House Appropriations subcommittee on Veterans’ Affairs, Housing and Urban Development, and independent agencies.