Tuned In

Posted May 17, 2005 at 6:12pm

Tuned In. The recently formed group TV Watch, which has its work cut out for it fighting indecency legislation on Capitol Hill, dispatched its executive director to meet with lawmakers last week. [IMGCAP(1)]

“The debate has been very one-sided and very focused on government solutions,” said Jim Dyke, TV Watch’s executive director and a former communications director for the Republican National Committee. “People prefer to control content themselves.”

TV Watch’s members include right-leaning groups such as Americans for Tax Reform and the American Conservative Union as well as the Creative Coalition, an artists’ and actors’ organization. Business members of TV Watch include the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, NBC Universal, Viacom and Fox.

The message Dyke took to the Hill was that tools such as the V-chip work to block unwanted programming and that Congress doesn’t need to intervene with reforms. “We want to educate people that there is another option,” he said. “We have the opportunity to let the public know before Congress takes any action.”

Eco-Allbaugh? Eco Ads International, a Canadian company that creates roadside advertisements out of such natural materials as grass, flowers and rocks, has hired former Federal Emergency Management Agency Director Joe Allbaugh to increase its pull in Washington.

The company is looking for a federal nod to expand its operations into the United States, said Allbaugh, a longtime adviser to President Bush.

“With today’s tight budgets, this is a source of potential revenue for state highway departments,” Allbaugh said. “I view it as a win-win-win for everyone.”

An informal survey of several Washington-based environmental groups turned up no knowledge of the company.

Allbaugh said he is hoping he can win a go-ahead for the company in the federal highway bill, now headed to conference. But, he acknowledged that “it may be too late this year.”

“I think we’ve got three or four avenues” going forward, Allbaugh said, “but I don’t want to disclose our game plan.”

Other clients of the Allbaugh Company include Halliburton subsidiary Kellogg Brown and Root.

Appetite for K Street. Michael Torrey, former deputy chief of staff at the Agriculture Department, has founded a new lobbying firm, Michael Torrey Associates.

The consulting firm will focus on legislative and regulatory policy issues as well as political fundraising and issue management for presidential and Congressional campaigns.

“I wanted to step away from the safety net,” said Torrey, whose clients are Dean Foods and VeriPrime, which makes an animal tracking system. Torrey first joined the Bush administration as deputy assistant secretary for Congressional relations at Agriculture.

Before heading to the administration, he served as vice president of legislative affairs for the International Dairy Foods Association and as an aide to then-Sen. Bob Dole (R-Kan.).

Lobby Boot Camp. The military-focused lobbying firm American Defense International has recruited a retired lieutenant colonel to join its ranks.

John Barth, most recently the Marine Corps’ liaison to the House and Senate Appropriations committees, is joining ADI in July as vice president for government affairs.

“I think I’m going to be doing a little bit of everything — straight lobbying work and business development work,” said Barth, who added that the firm’s founder, Michael Herson, plans to expand into non-defense work. “I’m open to whatever we end up moving into.”

Barth has also done a fellowship in the office of Sen. Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.), where he handled defense, air pollution and water portfolios.

ADI’s clients include Saab, wireless company L3 Technologies International and Beretta USA Corp.

Freddie’s New Outsider. Even though the mortgage giant Freddie Mac has trimmed its lineup of outside consultants, at least one lobbyist has added the company as a new client.

Bob Moss, a solo lobbyist who runs Bob Moss Associates, signed up to represent Freddie Mac this month

Moss did not return a phone call seeking comment, but the lobbying registration said he will work on issues that relate to government-sponsored housing enterprises and specifically on “legislation dealing with their regulation.”

A spokeswoman for Freddie said the company has trimmed back on consultants across the board, including lobbying.