K Street Swaying Left?

Posted October 24, 2003 at 5:13pm

Everyone knows that President Bush is the darling of corporate rainmakers on K Street, right?

Well, maybe not.

New fundraising data from Sen. John Kerry’s (D-Mass.) presidential campaign shows that he enjoys support from just about as many corporate fundraisers on K Street as the free-market Republican he is trying to oust from the White House.

According to the data, no less than eight lobbyists also serve as mega-fundraisers for Kerry’s campaign, hauling in more than $50,000 apiece for his candidacy.

Bush has enlisted about a dozen lobbyists to serve as top fundraisers, though his campaign lists such fundraising “Pioneers” only if they have raised more than $100,000.

About half of Kerry’s top fundraisers represent the entertainment and telecommunications sectors, such as Ivan Schlager and Les Goldman with Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP, who represent Time Warner, News Corp. and Verizon Communications, among others.

The list also included Cellular Telecommunications and Internet Association lobbyists Tom Wheeler and Chris Putala; David Leiter of ML Strategies; and Norm Brownstein of Brownstein, Hyatt & Farber, which represents Ticketmaster and the cable industry.

Rounding out the Kerry supporters are Piper Rudnick lobbyists John Merrigan and Matt Bernstein.

Meanwhile, News Corp. President Peter Chernin, Viacom Chairman Jonathan Dolgen and Paramount Studios chief Sherry Lansing rounded up at least $50,000 for the Kerry campaign, according to the forms.

So far, Kerry is the only Democratic presidential candidate to release the names of his top fundraisers.

Gen. Wesley Clark and former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean have promised to do so, but so far have not.

Bush began the practice of disclosing top fundraisers during his 2000 election campaign and has kept up the routine this year.

According to the campaign, Bush’s top K Street fundraisers include Jack Abramoff of Greenberg Traurig LLC, Wayne Berman of Berman Enterprises, Lanny Griffith of Barbour, Griffith & Rogers, Chip Kahn of the Federation of American Hospitals, Ron Kaufman of the Dutko Group, Dirk Van Dongen of the National Association of Wholesaler-Distributors and former Rep. Bill Paxon (R-N.Y.) of Akin, Gump, Strauss, Hauer & Feld LLP.

Keeping a Clear Connection. For the six years that former Rep. Thomas Bliley (R-Va.) served as chairman of the House Commerce Committee, he was a fearless supporter of the long distance telephone industry during epic battles with the Baby Bell phone companies.

Now he’s teaming up with some of his old allies on K Street.

According to newly released lobbying filings, Bliley and his lobbying firm have signed up to lobby for MCI, the bankrupt telecom giant formerly known as WorldCom.

Bliley and a few other partners at the firm, Collier Shannon Scott LLC, will lobby Capitol Hill for MCI, according to the forms.

For MCI, Bliley becomes just the latest power player who has worked the halls of Congress on its behalf since the beleaguered company began its march out of bankruptcy.

In the past few months, MCI also has sought help from former Rep. Bob Walker (R-Pa.), Carter White House aide Anne Wexler and former Sen. Jake Garn (R-Utah).

Going South. HealthSouth, the beleaguered corporate giant, has hired John Dudinsky to help represent the firm on Capitol Hill.

Though the Birmingham, Ala.-based firm has found itself under Congressional scrutiny for questionable stock transactions, HealthSouth said it hired Dudinsky to work on Medicare reimbursement issues.

Cassidy Snags State Dept., CIA Vet. Cassidy & Associates has brought on Carl Ford, who was assistant secretary of State for intelligence and research, to be the lobbying shop’s executive vice president.

Ford was appointed by President Bush to the State Department post in May 2001. Prior to that, Ford was an independent international consultant advising companies like Lockheed Martin, Boeing and Raytheon and the militaries of Japan, South Korea and Taiwan.

He also served stints in the CIA as a China analyst and was a Senate Foreign Relations Committee staffer.

NBC Names Senior Counsel for Telemundo. NBC’s government affairs shop has tapped former Verizon official Victor Cabral to be senior counsel for the D.C. government affairs office of its Telemundo television unit.

Cabral, who worked for the Senate Judiciary Committee and the Justice Department, was vice president for government and Hispanic relations.

UN Alum Moves to Amnesty’s D.C. Office. Karen Hanrahan, who until recently served with the office of the United Nations high commissioner for refugees in Afghanistan, has moved to Capitol Hill to work for Amnesty International USA.

She will serve as advocacy director for Middle East and North Africa affairs.

Weinfurter Addition Fuses D.C.’s Newest Lobbying Shop. The former president and CEO of the Congressional Economic Leadership Institute, John Weinfurter, has joined forces with a number of public affairs veterans to form a new government relations firm.

Kimmitt, Senter, Coates & Weinfurter was formed after the merger of Kimmitt, Coates & McCarthy Inc. and David Senter & Associates.

HHS Director Joins Blank Rome. The government affairs shop of Blank Rome has bolstered its health law practice by tapping a former Health and Human Services Department official, Claudia Schlosberg.

The former acting director of HHS’ office of civil rights division of program, policy and training has also served in various civil rights and policy advisory roles at HHS.

NFIB Adds Law Dean to Advisory Board. The National Federation of Independent Business Legal Foundation has added Mark Grady, dean of the George Mason University School of Law, to its advisory board.

Grady will, along with other board members, advise the foundation on how to best promote the interests of small-business owners in the legal arena.

Food Safety Watchdog Names Director. The Partnership for Food Safety Education, a 501(c)(3) organization that promotes food security and safety issues in the public, has named Shelley Feist as executive director. Feist comes to PFSE with 15 years of non-profit government relations experience.