Connaughton Leaves QGA, Becomes Kaufman Chief of Staff

Posted January 12, 2009 at 11:25am

Vice President-elect Joseph Biden’s Senate replacement, Ted Kaufman (D-Del.), wasted no time filling his ranks, naming longtime Quinn Gillespie & Associates lobbyist Jeff Connaughton as chief of staff on Monday.

Connaughton, who has been with Quinn Gillespie since its inception in 2000, was a former staffer on the Senate Judiciary Committee when it was led by Biden and a White House special assistant in the Clinton administration working for then-White House counsel Abner Mikva.

Connaughton later formed Quinn Gillespie with Jack Quinn and Ed Gillespie, who moved to the Bush White House last year as counselor to the president.

Connaughton says the move had nothing to do with a desire to position himself for an eventual jump to the Obama White House, which has been loath to hire former lobbyists for administration jobs directly from K Street.

“This has everything to do with my relationship with Ted Kaufman,” Connaughton said. “We are very close and I revere him, and the fact that he gets to be in the U.S. Senate is something I can’t pass up.”

Kaufman worked for Biden for 22 years, the last 19 as his chief of staff.

Connaughton is the second Quinn Gillespie lobbyist to head back to the Hill for the 111th Congress.

In late November, Chris McCannell left to join Rep. Michael McMahon (D-N.Y.) as his chief of staff.

Connaughton is also one of several former Biden staffers joining Kaufman’s team.

Jane Woodfin, Biden’s legislative director, will be chief policy adviser and legislative director. John DiEleuterio will continue as state director for Kaufman, the same role he performed for Biden. Alexander Snyder-Mackler, who was in Biden’s press office, will be Kaufman’s press secretary.