Telecom Wars Split White House

Posted March 19, 2004 at 2:14pm

The brutal Washington battle between AT&T and its Baby Bell offspring is pitting several former Bush administration colleagues now on K Street against each other.

On one side is Cesar Conda, who served as Vice President Cheney’s domestic policy adviser and now represents BellSouth at the Navigators, and Peter Davidson, a former general counsel for the U.S. Trade Representative and now a lawyer and lobbyist for Verizon Communications.

On the other side is Glenn Hubbard, the former chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers who has written papers on behalf of AT&T, and Ado Machida, a Cheney adviser who returned to AT&T lobbying firm Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld.

Meanwhile, one of the ex-administration officials’ former colleagues is in the middle of the whole mess: Kevin Martin, the Federal Communications Commission commissioner who is considered to be the key swing vote on telecommunications issues.

Martin served as a special assistant to the president for economic policy for six months before Bush nominated him to the FCC.

His wife, Cathie Martin, remains a top aide to Cheney.

FCC Official Joins Communications Group. Former Federal Communications Commission Commissioner Gloria Tristani has been named managing director of the communications advocacy wing of the United Church of Christ.

Tristani joins the practice after an unsuccessful run against Sen. Pete Domenici (R-N.M.).

The United Church of Christ advocacy group works on behalf of underrepresented and disenfranchised people on communications issues before Congress, the FCC and state regulatory bodies.

MCI Adds at the Top. Former Attorney General Nicholas Katzenbach has been elected as MCI’s nonexecutive chairman by the company’s board of directors.

Meanwhile, Michael Capellas will become president and CEO after serving as chairman and chief executive officer since December 2002.

The move to separate the chairman and the CEO roles is part of MCI’s reorganization reforms since it filed for bankruptcy.

Katzenbach has been an MCI board member since July 2002 after serving as attorney general for two years beginning in 1964 and later for three years as undersecretary of State.

Changes at NFIB. Ianthe Jackson is leaving the National Federation of Independent Business after less than a year to join the House Ways and Means Committee.

Jackson, who had served as the spokeswoman for the small-business lobby, will be replaced by Michelle Dimarob.

Canova Joins Sonnenschein. Diane Canova, vice president of advocacy at the American Heart Association, has joined the public law and policy strategies group at Sonnenschein Nath & Rosenthal as senior managing director.

The one-time Hill aide served as the American Red Cross’ government relations director under Elizabeth Dole, who is now the junior GOP Senator from North Carolina.

Public Strategies Loses One. Matt Miller has decided to leave Public Strategies to return to Washington to pursue other opportunities.

Miller worked as a spokesman for SBC Communications before leaving Washington for San Francisco with Public Strategies, a public relations and lobbying firm that represents SBC and other Baby Bell phone companies.

Cornell Picks Up Alumnus. Van McMurty is leaving Aetna after 12 years to become vice president for government and community relations at Cornell University.

McMurty, who had been vice president for federal government relations at Aetna, received his master’s degree and doctorate in philosophy from Cornell.

Health Alliance Picks Up GAO Analyst. The Alliance for Health Reform has hired Anne Montgomery as a health policy associate. Montgomery, who was a senior analyst at the General Accounting Office, is a one-time legislative assistant to Rep. Pete Stark (D-Calif.)

Tew Cardenas Taps USTR Official. The Miami-based law firm Tew Cardenas has hired Andrea Gash Durkin as managing director of international trade in its global and federal government affairs practice in D.C.

Durkin was director of Central America and Caribbean affairs for the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative. Durkin was a key player in pushing the U.S.-Central America Free Trade Agreement.

AAU Picks Up New Lobbyist. The Association of American Universities has brought on Pat White as its director for federal relations.

White was serving as director of legislative relations for the Federation of American Societies of Experimental Biologists.

White has held other positions at the American Association of Immunologists at the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, in addition to serving as chief of staff to then-Rep. Bob Davis (R-Mich.).

Michael E. Grass contributed to this report.