Mullen It Over

Posted April 2, 2003 at 5:41pm

Democratic consultant Erick Mullen likes to compare his recent spinoff from Main Street Communications, a D.C.-based media firm, to “Frasier” spinning off from “Cheers.”

Mullen, a veteran political operative who spent the past two cycles at Main Street, describes his new venture, Mullen & Co., as something different. His new firm will devote half its time to political work and the other half to serving clients in the corporate, sports and entertainment worlds with crisis management counseling.

Mullen figures his experience in high-pressured political campaigns will prove valuable to sports figures, corporate chieftains and Hollywood celebrities, who already have armies of public relations advisers but may not know that much about managing the media during crises. And, after all, he says, “Political people like to work with Hollywood, and Hollywood likes to work with political people.”

The comparison to “Cheers” is apt for the well-connected Mullen. Some of the first people he consulted about his new venture were “Cheers” star Ted Danson and his wife, actress Mary Steenburgen. They are steering him to potential Hollywood clients.

Mullen is a major investor in the new Charlie Palmer’s Steakhouse, which is due to open next month on Capitol Hill. He is married to Kelly Craighead, a longtime aide-de-camp to Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.), and they celebrated their engagement with a party at the White House in the final days of the Clinton administration.

Mullen has worked for several Members of Congress and political campaigns, including Sen. Charles Schumer’s (D-N.Y.) win in 1998.

His partner in Mullen & Co. is Ernest Baynard IV, another Main Street veteran who is a third-generation Washington operative. Baynard’s grandfather was a longtime aide to former House Judiciary Chairman Jack Brooks (D-Texas). His father worked for former President Ronald Reagan.

Baynard also has ample Hill and campaign experience. The firm, which opened its doors on Pennsylvania Avenue two weeks ago, hopes to add at least one more operative.

The Moore the Merrier. Stephen Moore, president of the Club for Growth and a regular columnist and commentator, has a new outlet for his punditry. Moore

has just started writing a weekly column on economics and politics for Scripps Howard News Service.

“My column will explain the relationship between the government and the economy,” Moore said in a statement. “Readers will get a sense of where their tax dollars go and why.”

Moore, who is also a senior fellow with the Cato Institute, will continue writing a regular column for the National Review.

Network. The New Democrat Network has put together a new finance team. It will be headed by Rachel Hirschberg, who will be vice president of development and senior adviser to the centrist Democratic group.

Prior to joining NDN, Hirschberg served as vice president of the Fund for the Capitol Visitor Center. She also worked for the General Services Administration during the Clinton administration and has raised money for the Democratic National Committee and former Colorado Senate candidate Tom Strickland (D), among others.

Other members of the financial team include:

• Erin Bilbray Kohn, former chairwoman and executive director of Sen. John Kerry’s (D-Mass.) leadership PAC and former national finance director for Sen. Harry Reid (D-Nev.).

• Wayne Marshall, former deputy national finance director at the DNC.

• Erica Payne, who has served as a consultant to various Democrats, including California Gov. Gray Davis (D), former Rep. Joe Kennedy (D-Mass.) and former New Hampshire Gov. Jeanne Shaheen (D).

• Annemarie Smith, the new director of corporate development, who formerly worked for Rep. Baron Hill (D-Ind.).

• Lindsay Lassman, director of national development at NDN, who is former finance director of the Florida Democratic Party.

Main Street Maven. The Republican Main Street Partnership recently hired Kerry Kantin as its new press director. Kantin, 24, is a former staff writer for The Federal Paper and The Hill.

To Your Health. The National Association of Counties has hired Jennifer Myers as an associate legislative director. She will be in charge of health issues for the organization. Myers spent five years working for Rep. Ray LaHood (R-Ill.) and also worked for Rep. Doc Hastings (R-Wash.).

Out-of-Town News No. 1: Deep in the Heart of Texas. Three Republican insiders who operate mostly in Texas have formed a political consulting firm for state and national politics.

The new firm, Bashur, Carney and Sullivan, is headed by Reggie Bashur, Dave Carney and Ray Sullivan.

Bashur, now a million-dollar-a-year Austin lobbyist, has been a top adviser to Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) and Texas Comptroller Carole Keeton Strayhorn (R), as well as an adviser to George W. Bush’s gubernatorial campaigns.

Carney, who also runs a New Hampshire-based consulting firm, was the top adviser in Perry’s 2002 campaign. In 1996, he was a senior adviser to former Sen. Bob Dole’s (R-Kan.) presidential campaign.

Sullivan, a consultant based in Austin, was communications director for Perry’s campaign and had served as the governor’s deputy chief of staff. He was also a spokesman for Bush’s 2000 presidential campaign.

Out-of-Town News No. 2: New York, New York. Two veterans of New York City political and publicity wars have teamed together to start their own general consulting, media, direct mail, public and government relations firm.

Bill Green, formerly of the New York political consulting firm Sheinkopf Ltd., and Danica Gallagher, formerly of Sheinkopf and two other New York political A-list firms, George Arzt Communications and The Garth Group, have opened Green Gallagher Strategy Group in a Midtown penthouse.

Bree Hocking contributed to this report.