K Street Files: Change You Can Bank On?

Posted July 16, 2008 at 6:22pm

While all that anti-lobbyist hoopla from Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) has caused something of a minor identity crisis on K Street, it turns out that the prospect of an Obama presidency has one firm seeing dollar signs.

[IMGCAP(1)]Chicago-based Dan Shomon Inc., the shop of former Obama political director and campaign manager Dan Shomon, has been busy pitching potential inside-the-Beltway clients.

“Should ‘CHANGE’ occur in November as polls indicate, we should see a lot of people from Illinois moving to Washington D.C. and taking key spots in an Obama administration,” said an e-mail from Shomon’s colleague, Gerald Galloway, to potential clients.

“Now is the time to anticipate these changes. … We will be in Washington DC August 4, 5, and 6th and were interested in scheduling a meeting with your government affairs team to discuss the changing political landscapes and our services and capabilities,” the e-mail continued.

Translation: K Street better get ready for an invasion by Michigan Avenue.

The e-mail also included a lengthy description of Shomon’s history with Obama, including noting that he “is mentioned in every book about Sen. Obama and is profiled in Senator Obama’s book, ‘The Audacity of Hope.’”

The e-mail adds that the Shomon firm currently represents such clients as Honeywell and Pfizer — so “don’t hesitate to call.”

Galloway could not be reached for comment, but Shomon said his colleague was doing some prospecting for new business.

Shomon added that he is exploring the possibility of opening a Washington, D.C., outpost and expanding his current

portfolio, which is now focused on the city of Chicago and the state of Illinois. Should he sign up federal clients, he said he would register as a federal lobbyist — a move that would render him ineligible to donate money to Obama’s presidential coffers. (State lobbyists aren’t included in Obama’s ban.)

“Some people have contacted us already,” Shomon said of potential new business in Washington.

New Firm on the Block. A trio of lobbyists has launched a new health care and education consulting firm called HCM Strategists. Terrell Halaska, most recently assistant secretary for legislation and Congressional affairs at the Education Department, has gone into business with Kristin Conklin, a former senior adviser at Education, and Michael Manganiello, most recently a principal at Whyte Hirschboeck Dudek Government Affairs.

“Today is kind of our coming-out party,” Halaska said on Wednesday, the day the firm was holding a launch party at the home of lobbyist Robert Raben of the Raben Group. “We think that there are a lot of good policy issues in the health and education arena that organizations are trying to advance to the national stage.”

For example, one client, the State Higher Education Executive Officers group, is trying to get its policy items in front of both presidential candidates. HCM’s other clients include the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation, New York Stem Cell Foundation and the testing company ACT.

Where’s the Beef? Jill Davidsaver, most recently a legislative and policy researcher and lobbyist at the Duberstein Group, is joining the legislative affairs shop of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association. At Duberstein, Davidsaver, a former aide to Sen. Max Baucus (D-Mont.), was registered to lobby on behalf of the American Apparel and Footwear Association and diamond concern De Beers Consolidated Mines.

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