The Liberals Are Coming

Posted February 23, 2007 at 6:32pm

First, Democrats took over the bar at the swanky Capitol Hill restaurant Charlie Palmer Steak on Election Night. Then, Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) plunked herself down in the Speaker’s chair.

A scramble for Democratic lobbyists quickly ensued. [IMGCAP(1)]

Need any more proof that the days of the Republican-run K Street Project have come to a close? Look no further: Now a litany of progressive groups is moving into a piece of primo real estate in the heart of the K Street corridor.

The newest tenants ensconced at 1825 K St. NW, include the Campaign for America’s Future, Progressive Majority, Ballot Initiative Strategy Center, Americans United and USAction.

“Washington has been congested with conservatives abusing their power for far too long,” said the Campaign for America’s Future spokesman Toby Chaudhuri, seizing on the opportunity of the new digs.

Of his group’s tony new address, he quipped: “We’re cleaning out the stables on Washington’s K Street power corridor.” He said the move marks the beginning of a new K Street where the groups plan to open up the “back rooms to the public light.”

Chaudhuri added that his organization has signed a 10-year lease on the space, which is twice the size of its former outpost. It is reaping the spoils of the November elections. Campaign for America’s Future, for one, took out ads in the previous election cycle blasting GOP Members such as former-Reps. Bob Ney (Ohio), who is headed for prison on March 1, and Tom DeLay (Texas) on ethics issues.

New Business … Maybe. While lobbyist Lucy Calautti, who is the wife of Sen. Kent Conrad (D-N.D.), seems to be the only Senate spouse who would be barred from lobbying the chamber by new ethics reforms, a glance at new lobbying registrations suggest the impending ban hasn’t stopped her from signing up new work. According to Senate public records, two new health care clients have tapped Calautti, who is a senior adviser at the firm Baker & Hostetler. She has registered to handle health benefit provider issues for America’s Health Insurance Plans and home health care industry issues for the Baton Rouge, La., company Amedisys.

An official with Amedisys did not return a call seeking comment, but a spokesman for AHIP said no deal has been inked with his group yet.

“We’ve had preliminary discussions with her,” said AHIP’s Mohit Ghose. “But there is no signed contract. If we were to sign a contract, she would not lobby the Senate, of course.”

Neither Calautti nor her assistant returned several calls seeking comment. On both registrations, Calautti is listed as the sole lobbyist.

Capturing K Street. A selection of images from photographer Neil Selkirk’s new coffee table book “Lobbyists,” which features 60 portraits of K Streeters, will be on view Tuesday evening from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at the Hemphill Fine Arts gallery, located at 1515 14th Street NW. Among the lobbyists on display are Patton Boggs’ Tom Boggs, Hogan & Hartson’s Mike House and Chris Cox of the National Rifle Association. Selkirk will be on hand to sign copies of his book. To RSVP for the private showing, contact the Hemphill gallery at 202-234-5601.

K Street Moves. The Madison Group is in expansion mode. The firm, founded by Robb Watters, has tapped Marcus Sebastian Mason, most recently the senior director for government affairs at Amtrak, to be an equity partner. Mason is a former chief of staff to Rep. Juanita Millender-McDonald (D-Calif.) and also is a member of the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation’s corporate advisory council.

Watters, a Republican, said the bipartisan shop plans to add “at least two more people before the end of March. We have expanded into more telecom and transportation” work.

• Kristi Remington Macklin, most recently deputy assistant attorney general in the Justice Department’s office of legal policy, has joined Blank Rome Government Relations as a principal. She’s no stranger to Capitol Hill: She served as senior counsel to the House Government Reform Committee handling oversight and investigations.

• Christopher Wenk, who spent the past two and a half years at the National Association of Manufacturers, is moving over to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce to take over a newly created position as senior director of international policy.

• Andrew Wright, chief of staff to Rep. Brad Sherman (D-Calif.), is leaving his job for a lobbying gig with Dutko Worldwide where he will be a vice president. He will focus on telecommunications, energy and financial services issues.

• Lee Godown, longtime chief of staff and political adviser to Rep. Loretta Sanchez (D-Calif.), has joined Public Strategies Inc. as managing director for government relations. The firm also has added Jason Hill, most recently a senior legislative aide to Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich.), as a lobbyist.

• Joshua Fay-Hurvitz, legislative director for Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-N.Y.), has joined the lobbying team at the American Continental Group.

• The American Academy of Family Physicians has named Teresa Baker as a federal lobbyist. Baker was a senior legislative analyst and appropriations associate for then-Rep. Don Sherwood (R-Pa.), who lost his bid for re-election in November.

Bree Hocking and Tory Newmyer contributed to this report.