Play Ball

Posted March 4, 2003 at 5:12pm

Most of the nation’s largest sports leagues have signed lobbying contracts with one of the rising players on K Street — Piper Rudnick.

According to lobbying registration forms compiled by PoliticalMoney- Line.com, Piper has signed up the National Football League, the National Basketball Association, the National Hockey League, the PGA Tour and the Division I-A Directors Athletic Association.

But all of those leagues are not exactly new clients for Piper. They were existing clients of Verner, Liipfert Bernhard McPherson and Hand — which Baltimore-based Piper purchased last fall. The contract renewals signal that the

major players in the sports leagues are not looking at making any changes in their Washington lineup.

The nation’s other leading sports league, Major League Baseball, relies mostly on Baker & Hostetler’s all-star lobbyist, Lucy Calautti. She is the former chief of staff to Sen. Byron Dorgan (D-N.D.) and wife of Sen. Kent Conrad (D-N.D).

Piper and Calautti teamed up to add a provision into the recently approved omnibus appropriations bill that barred the Federal Aviation Administration for one year from permitting flights over sports arenas.

Now the lobbying teams plan to press the FAA to craft a stringent rule for permitting such flights.

“It will now become an agency issue,” said Philip Hochberg, the Piper lobbyist who takes the lead for the sports leagues.

The leagues also hope to protect their financial interests as Congress prepares to hold hearings on satellite-television legislation that determines how much DirecTV and EchoStar must pay for sports programming.

“The act has various provisions that [are of] concern to all programmers, including sports,” Hochberg said. “We have an interest in what happens to our programming.”

Meanwhile, the new lobbying registration forms show that Piper has lost few clients since taking over Verner Liipfert. Among the dozens of other clients signing with Piper in recent weeks were the American Insurance Association, Microsoft, Lockheed Martin, Raytheon, American Financial Group, General Motors and Freddie Mac.

Among other new registrations:

Energy

Andrew Lundquist, a former top White House energy policy aide, has signed up his first few clients for his new lobbying shop, The Lundquist Group. According to the latest filings, Lundquist has landed contacts with Duke Energy, TXU Corporation and several other energy interests.

Lundquist — a former staff director at the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee — founded the one-man firm last spring after playing a central role in crafting the Bush administration’s national energy policy proposal. The legislation passed the House and Senate but fell apart in conference.

Communications/Technology

The growing market for wireless high-speed Internet service has reached Capitol Hill. Last month, two wireless broadband service providers hired Mintz Levin Cohn Ferris Glovsky and Popeo to monitor regulatory matters at the Federal Communications Commission.

Meanwhile, the firm’s ML Strategies Group, run by former Senate aide Mark Buse, signed up to represent eBay on the Internet Tax Freedom Act.

Separately, Holland & Knight registered to lobby for 1-800-DoNotCall in preparation of the launch of the Federal Trade Commission’s national do-not-call registry.