K Street Files: Bloomfield Bows Out

Posted February 20, 2009 at 6:08pm

As Qwest Communications International struggles with customers dropping their landlines in favor of wireless technologies, the telecom company is doing some downsizing of its own in Washington, D.C.

[IMGCAP(1)]Shirley Bloomfield, senior vice president of federal relations and head of the company’s Washington office, is leaving Qwest on March 13.

Qwest will not replace Bloomfield.

Instead, Steve Davis, senior vice president of public policy and government relations, who is based in Denver, is taking over Bloomfield’s portfolio. The reorganization was announced internally two weeks ago, according to Qwest spokesman Tom McMahon.

Prior to joining Qwest in 2007, Bloomfield, a Democrat, was vice president of government affairs and association services at the National Telecommunications Cooperative Association.

“The company has decided to put more emphasis on a lot of the state activity and obviously the economy is affecting everybody,” Bloomfield said. “They are downsizing the Washington office but will still have a presence here.”

“The state presidents in our local area region will be taking on a much bigger role and more responsibility when it comes to dealing with Congressional delegations,” Bloomfield added.

The telecom company, which spent more than $2.6 million in 2008 on lobbying, has also terminated its outside lobbying contracts with Clark Lytle & Geduldig and Van Scoyoc Associates Inc.

Calling All Donors. Lobbyists hoping to give their wallets a break from campaign contributions after the 2008 cycle aren’t going to have much luck if the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee has anything to do with it.

The DSCC is already looking to tap company political action committees and individuals to become members of the DSCC Senate Roundtable.

The campaign committee sent out an e-mail invitation Thursday asking for a $5,000 annual commitment to the DSCC. The benefits: monthly breakfasts with Democratic Senators, two tickets to the annual DSCC fall and spring receptions, and a personal DSCC fundraising contact.

DSCC spokesman Eric Schultz declined to comment.

Firms Flying High. Pink slips are flying at law firms nationwide, but for their public policy practices in Washington, it’s so far only black ink.

Holland & Knight eliminated 243 lawyers and support staff across the firm’s 21 offices this month, yet the firm’s public policy and regulation practice in Washington added 11 lobbyists and more than 40 new clients with the acquisition of the lobbying group MARC Associates.

MARC’s client base plus Holland & Knight’s own growth it to the top of the list of Washington firms with new clients so far this year, according to the most recent Senate lobbying disclosure records.

Former Rep. Gerry Sikorski (D-Minn.) attributes the firm’s surge to several factors, including renewed interest in government inspired by the Obama administration and a recognition by clients of the increased role government will play in the economy and business in 2009.

“There is pent-up public policy that needs to be made on everything from energy to climate change, national security and health care,” he said. “Our firm’s diversity has allowed us to be faster, stronger and better in tough economic times.”

Layoffs also hit another national law firm recently: St. Louis-based Bryan Cave.

But the firm’s lobbying presence is still growing. In January, Bryan Cave brought its lobbying team, formerly known as Bryan Cave Strategies, under the law firm’s umbrella.

The restructured group, comprising 25 attorneys and professionals, quickly picked up a major hire, Jeff Berman, national delegate director for President Barack Obama’s presidential campaign in early February. The firm has also landed new clients such as the Biotechnology Industry Organization and Secure Energy Inc.

“We are seeing growth across the board,” said Broderick Johnson, head of the public policy group. “Health care, energy and financial services are key issues in 2009 where we have both expertise and strong relationships on the Hill and in the new administration.”

K Street Moves. K Street continues to be a place where former Members of Congress can find a home.

Most recently former Republican Reps. Deborah Pryce (Ohio), who retired after 16 years in the House, and Jim Walsh (N.Y.), who retired after 20 years, have headed downtown.

Pryce jumped to N.C.-based Womble Carlyle Sandridge & Rice. She will be joined by her chief of staff, Lori Salley.

The firm also added Harry Katrichis and Vicki Hicks, from Foley & Lardner, and Garrett Perdue. Perdue is rejoining the firm after a stint at real estate firm Jones Lange LaSalle and campaigning for his mother, North Carolina Gov. Beverly Perdue.

Walsh has joined K&L Gates as a government affairs counselor.

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