Griffin Gone

Posted October 31, 2003 at 5:09pm

Longtime Senate Democratic leadership aide Brian Griffin has left Capitol Hill to become director of government relations for Honeywell International.

For the past three and a half years, Griffin has served as Democratic Policy Committee Chairman Byron Dorgan’s (N.D.) leadership adviser. He first cut his teeth in the chamber as a Senate Page and sharpened them when he returned after college to work in the Democratic Cloakroom.

“He is very resourceful and bright,” Dorgan said. “He has great knowledge of how the Senate works.”

Energetic Way to Cash In. Word from Capitol Hill is that Rep. Joe Barton (R-Texas) is in line to become the next chairman of the Energy and Commerce Committee when Rep. Bill Tauzin (R-La.) leaves Congress.

That’s good news for Barton — and even better news for a half-dozen former

Barton aides and current advisers who make up an informal kitchen cabinet that Barton turns to for help from time to time.

Leading the group is Jeff MacKinnon, a former aide and now telecommunications and energy lobbyist with Ryan, Phillips, Utrecht and MacKinnon.

MacKinnon, whose wife is a lobbyist for Viacom, worked for Barton for eight years before leaving for K Street in the mid-1990s.

MacKinnon represents dozens of companies with business before the committee, including MCI, Comcast, the National Cable and Telecommunications Association, FPL Group and the Edison Electric Institute.

In addition to MacKinnon, two other former Barton aides work at top lobbying shops: Steven Sayle, with the Dutko Group, and Steve Waguespack with the Alpine Group.

Other lobbyists in Barton’s inner circle are Bud Albright of Reliant Energy, Kerrill Scriver of TXU, Edlu Thom of Lyondell and Cynthia Sandherr of John Deere.

Rounding out Barton’s kitchen cabinet are two political allies: Cathy Gillespie, chief fundraiser for Barton’s re-election account and the wife of Republican National Committee Chairman Ed Gillespie, and Julie Wadler, who heads Barton’s Texas Freedom Fund PAC.

Broadcasters Get Lively. John Lively, a longtime telecommunications aide to Sen. Judd Gregg (R-N.H.), has joined the National Association of Broadcasters as a top lobbyist.

The move concludes a months-long NAB search for a GOP lobbyist to balance out John Orlando, a Democratic aide who took over when Jim May moved to the airline lobby.

If Republicans stay in control of Congress and the White House, Lively instantly becomes the leading candidate to replace longtime NAB President Eddie Fritz down the road.

NAM Looking Outside D.C.? The National Association of Manufacturers raised eyebrows last month by hiring Heidrick & Struggles to find its new president — even though the search firm doesn’t have a Washington office.

Industry sources say the move can be interpreted in one of two ways: Either the trade group wants someone with manufacturing experience — or NAM insiders are trying to tilt the playing field toward Mike Baroody, NAM’s top lobbyist and the leading internal candidate.

By comparing the polished Baroody against candidates with scant Washington experience, the board is likely to tap Baroody.

Mack-Nickles LLC? The latest buzz on K Street has been that retiring Sen. Don Nickles (R-Okla.) plans to team up with former Sen. Connie Mack (R-Fla.) at a lobbying shop, perhaps at Mack’s current firm, Shaw Pittman.

Not true, says Mack, who revealed in an interview that he “would be delighted at the appropriate time to talk to Don” about the possibility of partnering, but so far the talk is “just not accurate.”

However, he was quick to note that “Don and I would complement each other quite well.” Mack said he prefers to concentrate on health care issues, while Nickles would appeal to clients in the energy sector.

Mack said he plans to talk to Nickles and, he joked, “I hope that I would be the only one.”

In fact, Nickles has many potential partners, including Sen. John Breaux (D-La.), who is also rumored to be eyeing retirement in favor of starting a K Street firm.

A New Mighty Duck. Ducks Unlimited, one of the world’s largest conservation organizations, has brought on a new director of public policy in its D.C. government affairs shop.

Vaughn Collins will primarily monitor wetlands habitat issues in Congress. The new lobbyist comes from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, where he directed the federal duck stamp program, which issues permits for $15 stamps for all migratory bird hunters.

Senate Vet Joins Blank Rome. The lobbying operations of Blank Rome Government Relations have been bolstered by the addition of Melissa Cortese Foxman as a member.

Foxman, who came to Blank Rome after external relations and public affairs stints at technology firm Intrado and at National Strategies, has her roots in the Senate.

She has held positions in the office of Mack, the Joint Economic Committee and the Senate Republican Conference, where she served as deputy chief of staff.