Gephardt Adviser Signs Up New Client

Posted June 3, 2003 at 6:12pm

While focusing most of his efforts on being a senior adviser for the presidential campaign of Rep. Richard Gephardt (D-Mo.), Steve Elmendorf is lobbying for a second big-name client on Capitol Hill.

Elmendorf, who served as chief of staff during Gephardt’s [IMGCAP(1)]days as Minority Leader, has just signed up the housing lending giant Fannie Mae as a client.

In February, Elmendorf began lobbying for the Association of Trial Lawyers of America, about a month after he came off the House payroll.

In an interview, Elmendorf said the Gephardt campaign remains his most important client. But with the heart of the campaign still months away, he has not ruled out taking on additional lobbying contracts in the meantime.

“It’s hard to predict the future,” he said.

On the Hill, Elmendorf will be keeping tabs on a measure that would change federal securities transparency rules in a move aimed at government-sponsored enterprises, such as Fannie Mae.

The changes have their own powerful backers, led by the National Taxpayers Union, which is suspicious of Fannie Mae soliciting Elmendorf’s services. “They’ve taken the doctrine of pre-emptive lobbying to a whole new level,” said NTU spokesman Pete Sepp.

Elmendorf is not the only lobbyist taking on double duty in the 2004 Democratic presidential nomination race. Among others, Nick Baldick — Sen. John Edwards’ (N.C.) campaign manager — is a partner at the Dewey Square Group, though he plans to take a leave of absence.

Chemical Comeback. The nation’s largest chemical companies and their Washington trade group — the American Chemistry Council — are working on a multimillion-dollar public relations campaign designed to refurbish the industry’s good name.

The public relations campaign, which is in the early planning stages, is designed to bridge the gap between the public’s perception of chemical companies and the products produced by the $1.7 trillion industry.

“There is a huge gap between the products that we produce and the image people have of us,” said Chris Vandenheuvel, a spokesman for the American Chemistry Council.

The campaign is part of a broader effort to make the chemical industry more of a player in Washington.

The trade group switched its name from the Chemical Manufacturers Association and last year hired a more proactive president, Greg Lebedev, from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the American Trucking Associations.

The campaign could be the next phase in the American Chemistry Council’s turnaround, though the details are still under consideration.

“Nothing has been determined,” Vandenheuvel said.

However, the association has solicited ideas from several large marketing and advertising firms, such as Ogilvy Public Relations, and is considering either an advertising or direct-mail campaign.

The effort comes as the industry fights legislation from Sen. Jon Corzine (D-N.J.) that would impose strict Environmental Protection Agency rules on security at chemical plants.

“There is a general desire to connect the public with the benefits of the products of chemistry that has been lost in the plethora of news about the risks of our products,” Vandenheuvel said. “We want to bridge that gap.”

You’ve Got Lobbyists. AOL Time Warner has hired two K Street lobbying operations to monitor a variety of legislative matters that could affect the New York City-based media conglomerate.

According to filings culled by PoliticalMoneyLine.com, Wiley Rein & Fielding will be watching a number of pieces of Internet legislation, including the Internet Tax Freedom Act, Internet Tax Non-Discrimination Act, the Internet Growth and Freedom and related taxation issues.

Meanwhile, former House GOP aide Catherine Nolan will lobby on issues relating to intellectual property, telecommunications and trade, along with cable, Internet and broadband legislation.

Livingston’s Ray of Sunshine. Former Rep. Bob Livingston (R-La.) and his D.C. lobbying operation, the Livingston Group, added a number of clients to its roster, lobbying filings show.

The group is lobbying on “deployable solar power” for defense and military construction for Rochester Hills, Mich.-based Energy Conservation Devices.

For the biotech company Thermogenesis, based in Rancho Cordova, Calif., Livingston will pushing efforts to build a national cord blood cell network.

And in the energy sector, Livingston is representing Houston-based NATCO on issues related to petroleum production equipment repair for foreign countries.