Cassidy Hires Full-Time Compliance Guru

Posted February 12, 2008 at 6:45pm

Reaping reform. The new world of lobbying and ethics reforms is having a very specific impact on one of the city’s oldest and biggest lobbying firms. Cassidy & Associates has plucked a prosecutor from the Department of Justice to serve as the firm’s general counsel and to keep his former DOJ colleagues at bay.

[IMGCAP(1)]Early next month, the firm is bringing on Andrew Kameros, a longtime federal prosecutor in the tax division’s criminal enforcement section at DOJ.

“As we looked at the new laws that have passed, the recent activities around town, [firm founder] Gerry Cassidy thought it was extremely important that we fully comply with all the new expectations and that we make a complete and full commitment,” said Cassidy & Associates Chief Operating Officer Gregg Hartley. “He will oversee everything we do in terms of complying with the new rules.”

Hartley added that Kameros will be Cassidy’s “face and expert who interacts with the [ethics] committees on Capitol Hill and the Senate and House clerk. And hopefully he’ll never have to interact with DOJ because we’ll be in full compliance.”

The lobbying and ethics package that passed into law last year largely was due to the wide-reaching Jack Abramoff lobbying scandal run out of the Justice Department.

Kameros said he had no involvement in that case but does bring an understanding of DOJ process and investigations. “I’ve been with the department for the last 19 years,” he said. “What attracted Cassidy to me was the compliance aspect of my responsibilities.”

Hartley said the move is no indication that the firm is on the ethical hot seat, though Abramoff did have a brief business alliance with Cassidy just before the now-jailed lobbyist’s K Street career came to an abrupt halt.

“Gerry Cassidy founded this firm 32 years ago, and he made a personal and firmwide commitment to making sure we observe the highest standards of ethics in practicing what we do,” Hartley said, adding that the firm wanted to step it up because the new law carries with it criminal penalties for lobbyists.

One of the firm’s senior lobbyists, Gregory Gill, has served as a part-time general counsel, Hartley said, but now he will return to lobbying full time.

“We wanted to have somebody with Andy’s background, who is used to dealing with complex legal matters. It wasn’t the world we used to live with — now we’re subject to [criminal] penalties.”

K Street Moves. In other Cassidy news, the firm also has added Johanna Polsenberg, who spent four years as a senior legislative aid to Rep. Tom Udall (D-N.M.), as a vice president in its energy and climate practice. Polsenberg holds a doctorate degree in biological sciences and ecosystem ecology from Stanford University.

• James Sartucci, an aide to former Sen. Trent Lott (R-Miss.), has joined Kirkpatrick & Lockhart Preston Gates Ellis as a government affairs counselor in the firm’s public policy and law practice. Sartucci worked on the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee and focused on maritime, aviation, transportation and homeland security issues before joining Lott’s staff as legislative director. He will focus on similar issues at K&L Gates.

Lott, of course, decamped for K Street himself, opening the Breaux-Lott Leadership Group last month with former Sen. John Breaux (D-La.).

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