K Street Files: Still Waiting

Posted February 6, 2009 at 4:30pm

Financial services lobbyists haven’t heard yet what the Treasury Department’s edict on limiting lobbyists’ influence on Troubled Assets Relief Program funds actually means.

[IMGCAP(1)]More than a week after the department put out a press release announcing the new standards — “restricting contacts with lobbyists in connection with applications for, or disbursements of” Emergency Economic Stabilization Act funds — no one has seen the new rules.

That means it’s been business as usual for most influence peddlers contacting Treasury.

The agency is still meeting with companies that have taken TARP funds, according to several financial services lobbyists.

“They are soliciting a lot of opinions on a lot of different things,” one Democratic financial services lobbyist said.

So far, the Obama administration is staying mum on when the actual rules for lobbyists will be released.

Neither the administration nor the Treasury Department responded to inquiries about the rules.

Nonetheless, some lobbyists have decided to take a pass.

“We chose not to do any TARP lobbying,” said Andrew Lowenthal, the former staff director for Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Chairman Chris Dodd (D-Conn.) who is now at Porterfield & Lowenthal.

“We thought those should have been the rules from the get-go. If you can’t pass muster with your regulators, it’s not appropriate to lobby them,” Lowenthal added.

Gephardt Group Grows. There may be a groundswell of grass-roots support to draft former House Majority Leader Dick Gephardt (D-Mo.) as the Health and Human Services secretary, but all signs point to the former Show Me State lawmaker staying in the private sector.

In recent days, Gephardt has received support on Facebook with a page dedicated to drafting Gephardt for the HHS gig.

Not only would the Gephardt Group’s lobbying portfolio, which includes clients such as GE/NBC Universal, Goldman Sachs and Anheuser-Busch, likely preclude him from being nominated, he’s also expanding his influence-peddling footprint.

The five-person firm is adding Janice O’Connell, Joel Freedman and Catherine Goode to its roster.

O’Connell, former senior foreign policy and national security adviser to Sen. Chris Dodd (D-Conn.), most recently worked as a senior international adviser at Hogan & Hartson and as senior adviser to consulting firm Stonebridge International.

Freedman, who will oversee the firm’s financial services clients, worked for the past 17 years at Hartford Financial Services Group.

Goode, who will oversee strategic communications and be a part of the international affairs team, joins after a stint as director in Quinn Gillespie & Associates’ international practice.

So far, it looks like replacing former Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle (D-S.D.) as HHS secretary nominee is far from his mind.

“Mr. Gephardt was honored to have served as House Majority Leader and greatly fulfilled by his long tenure in public service,” Goode said. “He enjoys being helpful to the administration in his current role.”

K Street Moves. Douglas Faulkner, Tim Powers and Ari Storch have co-founded Chrysalis Energy Partners, a consulting firm focused on green energy.

Faulkner served as acting undersecretary for rural development at the Department of Agriculture in the Bush administration.

Powers, who has served as a senior adviser to the Environmental Protection Agency, and Storch are founders of Chrysalis’ affiliated lobbying firm, Artemis Strategies. Joe Davis and Ari Strauss, former legislative director for the Northeast-Midwest Senate Coalition, round out the firm’s team.

• The Livingston Group and former Sen. Wayne Allard (R-Colo.) have struck up a strategic partnership. Allard, who spent six years in the House and retired after two terms in the Senate, has set up Wayne Allard Associates in Colorado.

When his clients need some federal lobbying work in Washington, he said, he will sends them Livingston’s way. “We operate on a memo basis. It’s a very loosely structured contract.”

Submit K Street Files tips here
.