More Katrina Lobbying

Posted October 28, 2005 at 5:38pm

The Shaw Group, an engineering and construction company, continues a dramatic ramp-up of its lobbying muscle in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.

The company — based in Baton Rouge, La., the nearest metro area to the now devastated city of New Orleans — most recently signed up Patton Boggs to help lobby the federal government on its response to the disaster.

The company has already secured two $100 million contracts for cleanup and recovery work. Also on retainer for the company is an all-star lineup of outside lobbying firms, including the Allbaugh Company, the firm founded by former Federal Emergency Management Agency director Joe Allbaugh; Hogan and Hartson; Adams & Reese and Lundquist Nethercutt and Griles. [IMGCAP(1)]

With Patton Boggs, the company adds some Pelican State power. Name partner Tommy Boggs, a Louisiana native, is working on the account, according to Senate records. Not listed, however, is his colleague, former Sen. John Breaux (D-La.).

Neither the company nor the firm returned calls for comment.

Let Them Eat Toast. TV Watch, a coalition of entertainment companies and libertarian and business groups, today is kicking off a new campaign to highlight how easy they say it is for parents to control their family’s TV viewing.

Calling it “as easy as toast,” the group today is sending all 22 members of the Senate Commerce Committee loaves of bread fresh from an undisclosed Washington, D.C., bakery and jars of Smucker’s jam as part of its “safe tv. easy as 1-2-3” campaign.

While a spokeswoman for the group said this effort is not in response to any proposed legislation, TV Watch opposes any new indecency laws and contends that the V-Chip and a voluntary ratings systems is sufficient for parents to make sure their kids don’t see anything too risqué.

The groups involved in the coalition include the American Conservative Union, Americans for Tax Reform, the Center for Democracy and Technology as well as NBC Universal, News Corp., Viacom and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

“There isn’t a specific bill that this is about,” said Kathy Roeder, TV Watch’s spokeswoman. “This is a public education campaign that is fulfilling one of the commitments TV Watch has made to help educate parents about parental controls.”

The Senators, in addition to the bread and jam, will also receive a slew of 1-2-3 safe materials that spell out how parents can protect their families from viewing offensive programming.

Ask Us, Please! As Congressional watchdog groups continue to clamor for an overhaul of lobbying laws, lobbyists themselves continue to complain they are being shut out of the process.

In their official response to a study released last week by a watchdog coalition called the Revolving Door Working Group, the American League of Lobbyists called on Congress to invite them to the table.

“We again extend an invitation to Congress to work together on this issue,” ALL president Paul Miller said in a statement. “We believe by doing so we will come up with a better solution to the perceived problems. I hope we will get the call.”

So far this year, bills to reform lobbying rules have not attracted a single Republican co-sponsor, and none have won a hearing before a Congressional panel.

Miller acknowledged as much in his statement, noting that lobbyists and watchdogs “have been debating this issue all year without either side getting anywhere.”

If any Republicans choose to take up the issue, the first would likely be Sen. John McCain (Ariz.) and his House partner in reforming campaign finance law, Rep. Christopher Shays (Conn.).

K Street Moves. Katherine Lugar, who spent the past eight years as a lobbyist with the National Retail Federation, is heading to the Washington, D.C., office of St. Paul Travelers next month. Lugar, a Republican who early in her career worked for then-Rep. Tim Roemer (D-Ind.), will run the insurance company’s lobbying office and take on the title of vice president for federal government relations. Lugar succeeds Ruth Ravitz Smith, who joined Brown Rudnick Berlack Israels earlier this year. The executive search firm Korn/Ferry conducted the search. Lugar is the wife of David Lugar, a lobbyist at Quinn Gillespie & Associates whose father is Sen. Dick Lugar (R-Ind.).

Grant Erdel, most recently administrative assistant to Rep. Jo Ann Emerson (R-Mo.), is leaving Capitol Hill after six years to become director of federal relations at the Biotechnology Industry Organization, the lobby group for biotech companies.

Home Depot is building up its D.C. office. The home-improvement retail giant has added Eric Criss, most recently with Century Strategies, and Sarah Price, who was with CB Richard Ellis, as senior managers of government relations. Previously, Criss worked for the Consumer Product Safety Commission as a George W. Bush appointee, and Price got her start in Denver working for then-Mayor Wellington Webb (D).

The firm formerly known as Public Affairs Management has rebranded itself into Duane Morris Government Affairs. PAM has long been owned by law firm Duane Morris, but recently made the change to make its affiliation more clear. Meanwhile, Duane Morris Government Affairs has added Lindsay Murray, a former aide to Sen. Chuck Hagel (R-Neb.), as an associate director.