K Street Files: Flying Solo

Posted November 19, 2008 at 6:46pm

Former Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle’s expected appointment to secretary of Health and Human Services won’t be a loss just to his current firm, Alston & Bird. It is also bringing change to Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell & Berkowitz, the firm where his wife, Linda Daschle, has been a lobbyist for nearly a dozen years.

[IMGCAP(1)]Linda Daschle confirmed Wednesday that she is leaving her post with the firm to start her own shop in January.

Several sources speculated that the move is to avoid any conflict of interest between Baker’s health care clients and her husband’s HHS job. Daschle said opening her own shop is something that she has long wanted to do.

“This is something I’ve been dreaming of doing for a number of years, and I just felt like it’s the appropriate time to do it,” she said, adding that she has yet to come up with a name for her firm-to-be.

The former acting administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration, Daschle said she plans to focus on transportation policy and communications.

“It’s possible that I will continue to do lobbying, but only in those areas,” she said.

Her clients at Baker include American Airlines, Boeing Co., Cleveland Hopkins International Airport, Lockheed Martin and L3 Communications.

Daschle has been chairwoman of Baker’s federal public policy group. A firm spokeswoman said that in the interim, D.C. managing partner Keith Kennedy will take over that role.

Kennedy, who was staff director of the Senate Appropriations Committee under the chairmanship of Sen. Thad Cochran (R-Miss.), said it remains to be seen what will happen in the long term with the chair position.

“We’ll certainly miss Linda,” he said.

Added Baker’s senior public policy adviser, John Tuck: “She’s done a great job and is well-known in the aviation community and others, and we’ll miss her. She was a great attribute to our firm.”

Corps Going Green. As lobbyists get ready for the new Democratic Congress to take on climate legislation head-on, five major U.S. companies launched a coalition Wednesday calling for Congressional action on the issue.

Nike Inc., Starbucks Corp., Levi Strauss & Co., Sun Microsystems and Timberland Co. have banded together with Ceres, a coalition of investors, environmental groups and other public interest entities, to form a united front on climate issues from the business community.

The companies are all paying $5,000 to $15,000 for the first year to get the initiative off the ground.

The group laid out a list of priorities, including achieving a 25 percent reduction in greenhouse gases by 2020, employing a cap-and-trade system that would auction 100 percent of carbon pollution allowances, increasing energy-efficiency policies to at least double the rate of energy-efficiency improvement and stimulating “green-collar” jobs.

While the coalition does not expect to employ its own lobbyists, it will have a government relations person who will work to support bringing a unified message to Capitol Hill, according to Mindy Lubber, president of Ceres. “Coordination is a crucial part of that, preparing joint statements, preparing consistent reports and studies for companies [to use],” she said.

Reverse Revolving Door. It didn’t take long for Democrats downtown to get the urge to head back to Capitol Hill. The movement officially began this week with two senior lobbyists making the trek to return as top aides in the House and Senate.

Chris McCannell, a lobbyist at Quinn Gillespie & Associates, will be joining Rep.-elect Michael McMahon (D-N.Y.) as his chief of staff. McCannell joined Quinn Gillespie in 2007 after spending eight years as chief of staff to Rep. Joe Crowley (D-N.Y.).

Luke Albee, who has been at Ricchetti Inc. for nearly four years, will be Sen.-elect Mark Warner’s (D-Va.) top staffer. Albee joined Ricchetti after working for Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) for 20 years, most recently as his chief of staff.

K Street Moves. Democratic lobbyist Langston Emerson, most recently director of government relations for the National Association of Real Estate Investment Trusts, has joined the firm Locke Lord Strategies. He is also a former aide to Reps. Mike Capuano (D-Mass.) and Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick (D-Mich.).

• Bryan Cave Strategies has added Tovah LaDier as senior vice president and legislative counsel. LaDier previously was a vice president at Williams Mullen Strategies and managing director of consulting firm French & Co. She also served as executive director of the Mansfield Center for Pacific Affairs.

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