DeLay Set to Lose Third Spokesman in Six Months
House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-Texas) is losing his third senior press aide in the last six months, as Communications Director Dan Allen leaves the Hill at the end of June for a post in the private sector.
Allen joined DeLay’s team just five months ago following the departures of previous Communications Director Stuart Roy and press secretary Jonathan Grella. Although things have been relatively quiet for the House Majority Leader in recent weeks, Allen’s short tenure with DeLay came during a period of near-constant negative press attention.
Allen, who is joining the Republican media firm Scott Howell and Co. as vice president of political and corporate communications, said that he was leaving in hopes of being able to spend more time at home.
“This job is one of the best opportunities of my career but I think my wife is looking forward to me cutting back to about 80 hours a week,” joked Allen, who was hired by DeLay in January after two election cycles at the National Republican Senatorial Committee.
Under normal circumstances, the communications director post for the Majority Leader involves fielding a broad range of policy questions and helping to shape the party’s larger message strategy.
But Allen took the job just as stories were breaking about a variety of controversial trips taken by DeLay. He then had to fend off questions about changes to the House ethics rules and a continuing stalemate at the Committee on Standards of Official Conduct, along with still-percolating revelations about lobbyist Jack Abramoff and a Texas investigation into the fundraising practices of a political action committee founded by DeLay.
Through much of Allen’s tenure, DeLay’s media strategy has required the input of several senior aides as well as a coterie of lawyers. DeLay has skipped several leadership press conferences to avoid becoming the center of attention, and he has had to establish “ground rules” at his weekly pen-and-pad briefings to prevent reporters there from focusing only on ethics-related questions.
Since DeLay’s office has not yet filled the position of press secretary, Allen was handling the work load previously done by two people, Grella and Roy.