K Street Files: Member Watch

Posted January 6, 2009 at 6:43pm

As the new Congress officially gets under way, several former Members of Congress still haven’t announced where they will be hanging a shingle in 2009.

[IMGCAP(1)]Some of the Members expected to head to K Street, including Democratic Rep. Bud Cramer (Ala.) and Republican Reps. Christopher Shays (Conn.), Kenny Hulshof (Mo.), Tom Reynolds (N.Y.) and Jim Walsh (N.Y.), remain undecided, according to headhunters.

There are exceptions. Former Republican Rep. Tom Davis (Va.) has joined Deloitte Consulting, while Jim McCrery (La.) is at Capitol Counsel.

The recruiting dance is taking longer than years past as the deteriorating economy forces lawmakers and firms to look more carefully at their choices.

Cramer, a former appropriator, and Reynolds, a one-time tax writer and National Republican Congressional Committee head, are considered among the most sought after of the unsigned talent.

Hulshof, too, is a potential K Streeter, although he has expressed little interest in staying in Washington, D.C.

The former Ways and Means panelist has unsuccessfully plotted his return to the Show Me State on numerous occasions during the past decade, including an ill-fated gubernatorial run last year and an failed bid to head up the University of Missouri.

“Firms are making sure it’s the right fit before pulling the trigger now,” said Ivan Adler, a headhunter at the McCormick Group. The standard is “a spec higher because they are coming without any guarantee of business,” Alder said.

K Street Etymology. In her new book, former American League of Lobbyists president Deanna Gelak appears to debunk the generally ascribed origin of the verb “to lobby,” finding multiple uses of the verb before its reputed coinage at the Willard Hotel.

Ostensibly a primer for aspiring lobbyists published by TheCapitol.Net, “Lobbying and Advocacy” traces the much-maligned word back to the early 19th century — decades before it typically crops up.

Local lore has it that the term “lobbying” was first coined to describe loiterers looking to buttonhole President Ulysses S. Grant, a frequent imbiber at the Willard Hotel bar in the late 1860s.

Not so, argues Gelak, who unearthed several earlier instances of the term’s usage, including one citation in 1820, “two years before Ulysses S. Grant was even born.

“There is evidence of the terms ‘lobbying’ or ‘lobbyists’ being used to pertain to persuading public officials before Grant became president in 1869,” Gelak writes. “Therefore, the term could not have been first coined in the Willard Hotel lobby.”

Citing the “History of Congress,” Gelak found one instance of the word’s usage on the House floor in 1808, when lawmakers were debating whether to relocate the federal government.

“We have heard it said that if we move to Philadelphia, we shall have a commanding lobby,” an unidentified lawmaker said on the House floor. “We shall learn the sentiments of the population!”

Solo Act. The Recording Artists’ Coalition, a group founded in 2000 by singers Don Henley and Sheryl Crow to lobby on behalf of performers, is merging its operations into the Recording Academy, the groups will announce today.

“We are going to combine into one very loud, clear voice,” said the Recording Academy’s top lobbyist, Daryl Friedman. “We’ve always been on the same side. It just made sense to combine our efforts.”

The No. 1 issue for both groups in the 111th Congress is to get new legislation that would make radio broadcasters pay royalties to musicians and other performers when the broadcasters play their songs over the airwaves. Not surprisingly, the National Association of Broadcasters has said it opposes the change.

“We think we can get this passed this Congress,” Friedman said.

In addition, the Recording Artists’ Coalition will now play a key role in the Recording Academy’s “Grammys on the Hill” program, which brings performers to Congress to lobby.

Boland Bounces. Michael Boland of Johnson, Madigan, Peck, Boland & Stewart is moving out of the influence game and into the consulting business.

Boland, a former GOP staffer-turned- lobbyist for the past 21 years, is starting Dome Advisors, where he is putting together a group that he says includes trade association heads, former government aides and Washington lawyers and lobbyists to give clients strategic advice.

So far, the firm has one other employee on its Web site, Vijay Sankaran, who most recently worked at Deutsche Bank.

“This is focused on information that is publicly available, but it is not understood because people in Washington speak a different language and have a different purpose,” Boland said. The firm will focus on financial services and is expected to expand to energy and infrastructure issues as it grows, Boland added.

Boland isn’t the only name partner recently to exit from Johnson, Madigan, Peck, Boland & Stewart. Founding partner David Johnson retired in June. The firm declined to comment whether it will change its name.

K Street M&A. R&R Partners has acquired the Washington, D.C., practice of Gallatin Public Affairs.

Joe Hardy, a former top aide to Rep. Adam Smith (D-Wash.); Ethan Saxon, a former aide to Del. Madeleine Bordallo (D-Guam); and Sara Bartles, a former legislative director at the Republican Majority for Choice are all joining R&R.

K Street Moves. Cassidy & Associates has enlisted former top Missouri Democratic political operative Roy Temple.

Temple, who will be a senior vice president at the firm, will join fellow Missourian Gregg Hartley, a former top aide to Rep. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.).

Temple arrives at Cassidy from the Feldman Group Inc., a Democratic pollster, after working for former Sen. Jean Carnahan (D-Mo.) and her now-deceased husband, former Missouri Gov. Mel Carnahan (D).

• Barry LaSala, a former aide to Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.), is leaving his gig at tech giant Microsoft Corp. to join the all-Democratic lobbying firm Elmendorf Strategies, which is run by Steve Elmendorf.

LaSala, who is director of government affairs at Microsoft, has focused on Senate Democrats for the Redmond, Wash., company. Microsoft is a client of Elmendorf Strategies.

• The National Association of Corporate Directors has added Barbara Hackman Franklin, a former Commerce secretary during the George H.W. Bush administration, as the group’s vice chairman of the board of directors. Franklin is also director of the U.S. China Business Council.

• Les Paul, a physician who most recently was vice president for U.S. medical affairs at Novartis Pharmaceutical Corp., is joining the National Pharmaceutical Council as a vice president, where he will focus on the group’s evidence-based medicine initiatives.

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