Friends in High Places
It pays to have friends in high places. Just ask Barry Williamson.
Williamson, a former Texas politician once nominated by then-Gov. George Bush to a key regulatory post, has earned nearly $1 million lobbying on behalf of just three corporate clients since Bush entered the White House.
Williamson has been paid $951,000 to lobby in Washington for Southern Co., Burlington Northern Santa Fe Corp. and tiny wireless concern Nextwave Telecom since 2001, according to lobbying disclosure forms on PoliticalMoneyLine.
Last week, Williamson signed up a fourth client: the Texas Energy Center.
Williamson grew up in Bush’s hometown of Midland, Texas, and once said that he has known Bush for “a long, long, long time.”
He served as finance chairman for the Texas Republican Party before Bush nominated him to serve as the chairman of the Texas Railroad Commission.
After running unsuccessfully for state
attorney general, Williamson opened up a small lobbying shop in Austin.
In Washington, he earned $470,000 helping Nextwave try to get its hands on millions of dollars worth of wireless spectrum that the company bid for at a Federal Communications Commission auction before filing for bankruptcy.
He also reported $245,000 for helping Southern Co. block a far-reaching electricity restructuring bill and $236,000 for aiding Burlington Northern Santa Fe on railroad retirement and other transportation issues.
All in the Family. Everyone knows that longtime Republican lobbyist Dan Mattoon would do anything for his close friend, House Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.).
A few years ago, Mattoon even agreed to help Hastert by leaving his lucrative lobbying position with BellSouth Corp. to run the National Republican Congressional Committee.
Now, Mattoon has agreed to take Hastert’s son.
A few weeks ago, Joshua Hastert accepted a job as a lobbyist with Mattoon’s lobbying firm, PodestaMattoon.
Aside from Mattoon, the elder Hastert is also close with the other name partner at the firm.
Dennis Hastert met Tony Podesta in college in the 1960s.
Before joining PodestaMattoon, the 28-year-old Hastert was a lobbyist for several firms, including the Small Business Technology Coalition.
The Speaker is part of a lengthy list of lawmakers who have family members who lobby Congress for a living.
Others include Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle (D-S.D.), Senate Minority Whip Harry Reid (D-Nev.), Senate Democratic Policy Committee Chairman Byron Dorgan (N.D.) and Sen. Trent Lott (R-Miss.), the former Majority Leader.
Stein Leaves the Harbour. Larry Stein, a longtime aide to Daschle, has left the Harbour Group for CapitolOne.
Stein, who was with the Harbour Group for one year, wanted to return to a job in the financial services arena.
“It’s directly up my ally,” Stein said.
Stein worked for Daschle for much of his career, though he also served as staff director of the Budget Committee when it was chaired by then-Sen. James Sasser (D-Tenn.).
During the Clinton administration, Stein served as the head of legislative affairs for the White House before returning to Daschle’s office.
Another Daschle on K Street. Jill Daschle, the daughter-in-law of the Senate Minority Leader, agreed earlier this year to lend a hand to Sullivan & Baldick as the firm struggled through a few personnel changes.
With founding partner Laurie Sullivan on temporary leave and Nick Baldick managing Sen. John Edwards’ (D-N.C.) presidential run, Jill Daschle inked a deal to join the Democratic lobbying firm until the end of the year.
Jill Daschle, a fundraiser for Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.), plans to continue raising money for Democrats on the side and will return to fundraising full time at the end of the year.
But for now she represents the likes of Northwest Airlines and Freddie Mac.
Like her mother-in-law, Linda Daschle, Jill Daschle has made clear she will not lobby the Senate.
McLean Starts Firm. Donna McLean has left her post at the Transportation Department to launch her own consulting firm.
The former assistant secretary for budget and programs launched Donna McLean Associates, specializing in federal transportation policies and government relations.
McLean will collaborate with Cornerstone Government Affairs, where she shares office space.
McLean and Cornerstone plan to work on similar issues in the transportation, aviation policy and transportation security fields.
Before working at the DOT, McLean was the chief financial officer of the Federal Aviation Administration.
Greener Grass for Grass Menard. Greta Grass Menard has left Ketchum public relations after four years to start her own marketing and communications practice, Capital MarCom.
Menard will work primarily for Concepts Inc., a firm with several contracts at the Labor Department.
At Ketchum, she managed a variety of high-tech clients, including IBM and PeopleSoft.
Firm Adds GOP Counsel to Roster. McKenna Long & Aldridge has added Randy Evans — who serves as counsel to past and present Capitol Hill Republican leadership — to the firm’s financial institutions practice.
Evans represents the Georgia Republican Party, as well as former Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.), Hastert and former House Republican Conference Chairman J.C. Watts (Okla.).
Hill Vet Joins Former GOP Approps Aide. Steve Carey, a former legislative director for former Rep. Jay Dickey (R-Ark.), former Sen. Tim Hutchison (R-Ark.) and Rep. Hal Rogers (R-Ky.), has joined the lobbying shop Fabiani & Co. Carey joins Jim Fabiani, a former Republican staff director for the House Appropriations Committee.