Another Marriage Battle

Posted June 10, 2005 at 5:40pm

An AFL-CIO executive committee resolution opposing the Federal Marriage Amendment was attacked this week by a broad coalition of religious and traditional-values organizations. [IMGCAP(1)]

In a letter to AFL-CIO President John Sweeney, more than three dozen state and national organizations — including the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, Catholic Vote, the Coalition of African American Pastors and Christian television and radio networks — implored union officials to rescind their opposition to the FMA at the labor group’s annual convention, which will be held July 25-28 in Chicago.

“We write on behalf of tens of millions of American families — including, public opinion polls indicate, a strong majority of dues-paying union households — who believe that the institution of marriage is and should remain a union of one man and one woman,” the June 1 letter read.

In the March 3 resolution, the AFL-CIO’s executive committee condemned the FMA and reiterated its support for equal rights for all workers.

“The FMA and its state counterparts threaten the rights of working people by creating an environment across the nation that is hostile to the rights of domestic partners, regardless of their sexual orientation,” the resolution read.

Phil Burress, president of Citizens for Community Values and a former union negotiator, said the AFL-CIO’s opposition to the FMA does not reflect the attitudes of its members.

“I know that this is not what the union members believe in,” Burress said. “They’re taking the union members’ money and spending it on issues that the rank and file does not believe [in].”

Pardon Me, Are You Going to Destroy That? These are heady days for the information-destruction industry.

After a series of high-profile data leaks by big companies, the Federal Trade Commission has adopted a rule requiring businesses (and individuals who have household employees) to pulverize personal information before they dispose of it.

The regulation, which took effect this month, has sent the sales of personal shredders soaring and jolted business for companies that specialize in destroying information.

With its new national profile, the industry’s trade association has taken the obvious-enough step of retaining Washington representation.

The Phoenix-based National Association for Information Destruction isn’t exactly sure what it will ask Congress to do next, but it has hired the white-shoe law and lobby shop Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr to poke around.

For one thing, NAID Executive Director Robert Johnson said, the group would like Congress to expand the FTC rule’s scope. As of now, it only covers information from credit reports. Johnson said all commercial transactions should be covered, and everything from fingerprints to phone numbers should be grist for the shredder.

He said the group’s lobbyists so far have been busy “making the rounds for us.”

“These are just general discussions with the general parties involved,” he said.

Dumpster divers, you’ve been warned.

Job Insurance. As was widely expected, the American Insurance Association, today will name former Montana Gov. Marc Racicot (R) its next president. Racicot, who has worked as a lobbyist at Bracewell and Giuliani since 2001, will receive a salary of more than $1 million, although, according to sources, it will not likely be more than $1.5 million.

In his time with the firm, Racicot frequently has taken on other roles. In 2002, the former governor caught flack for serving as both a lobbyist and chairman of the Republican National Committee. He later agreed not to lobby but instead to provide advice and strategic counsel to the Houston-based firm’s clients. After his stint at the RNC, Racicot assumed the role as chairman of President Bush’s 2004 re-election campaign.

Racicot did not return a call seeking comment. The search firm Korn/Ferry International was tasked with filling the job. Racicot succeeds 18-year President Bob Vagley, who announced his intention to retire more than a year ago.

According to lobbying disclosure forms, the AIA last year spent about $3.3 million on federal lobbying on a wide array of issues, including asbestos reform and identity thefts.

Screaming for … CAFTA. The International Dairy Foods Association this week has gathered representatives from 40 of its member companies — which include Edy’s Ice Cream and the Dannon Co. — to push lawmakers to pass the Central American Free Trade Agreement, among other issues.

While the lobbying is planned for June 15 and 16, the real highlight will be an ice cream social in Upper Senate Park on June 16.

David Vance, director of public affairs for the IDFA, said several member companies are contributing the treats. “Hopefully, it won’t be 110 degrees, but they do it in the shade under the trees. They lug in big coolers,” he said.

With the weather we’ve been having, what a relief.

K Street Moves … Former Rep. Bill Lipinski (D-Ill.) has partnered with the Midwestern law firm Dykema Gossett to focus on transportation and other government issues. He will be based in Illinois and D.C. Lipinski, who retired from Congress in January, was ranking member on several subcommittees of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.

The Democratic Leadership Council and its think-tank affiliate, the Progressive Policy Institute, have made two hires. Tammy Sun, formerly a deputy communications director for former President Bill Clinton and the Clinton Foundation, joins as press secretary. Shawna Francis, who was a vice president at the Westin Rhinehart Group, will serve as director of Congressional affairs.

The Electric Power Supply Association, a group that represents companies that build and operate powerplants, has powered up with John Shelk, the group’s new president and chief executive. Most recently, Shelk served as senior vice president of government affairs for the National Mining Association.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has added Lafayette College President Arthur Rothkopf to serve as senior vice president and counselor to the group’s president, Thomas Donohue. Rothkopf will focus on such areas as work force development, education and transportation. … The National Association of Manufacturers has promoted Keith McCoy to vice president for resources and environmental policy.

Kate Ackley contributed to this report.