K Street Files: GOP in Vogue

Posted May 5, 2009 at 6:12pm

Republican Richard Hunt, a former top lobbyist for the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association who was shown the door at SIFMA after Democrats won the November elections, has scored a big new job.

[IMGCAP(1)]Hunt, who has been running his own consulting firm with SIFMA as a client, will become president of the Consumer Bankers Association on June 1, the organization announced Tuesday. He succeeds Joe Belew, who died in January.

“I’m looking forward to being part of an association with a 90-year history of focusing on the needs of retail banks,— Hunt said in a statement.

Laying It on Thick. U.S. Chamber of Commerce president and CEO Thomas Donohue spent Tuesday lavishing praises on House Ways and Means Chairman Charlie Rangel (D-N.Y.) during an event aimed at rallying Congress to advance trade with Cuba.

Pointing to issues ranging from trade agreements to health care to tax reform, Donohue reminded Rangel “how much the business community depends on you on a lot of issues that are going to come before the Congress this year.—

Major bills aimed at triggering economic growth in the coming months are going to land “on your desk and we’re going to benefit from your judgment,— Donohue gushed. “I really appreciate being here with the chairman.—

On trade, Donohue complimented Rangel’s “extraordinary commitment to the Western hemisphere— and noted his participation in last month’s Summit of the Americas.

Rangel organized the event to bring together Donohue and a group of bipartisan House lawmakers who favor legislation to ease restrictions on trade and travel to Cuba.

“For the benefit of both countries, it’s time to turn the page. The embargo has failed, and it’s time for a change,— Donohue said.

Lawmakers at the event included Reps. Marion Berry (D-Ark.), Kevin Brady (R-Texas), Bill Delahunt (D-Mass.), Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.), Donna Edwards (D-Md.), Jo Ann Emerson (R-Mo.), Sam Farr (D-Calif.), Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.), Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-Texas), Barbara Lee (D-Calif.) and Jerry Moran (R-Kan.).

Hail to the Bipartisan Chiefs. Another former chief of staff is joining Van Heuvelen Strategies, the shop founded in 2007 by Sen. Kent Conrad’s (D-N.D.) former top aide, Bob Van Heuvelen. The new hire is John Easton, who most recently served as chief of staff to then-Sen. Gordon Smith (R-Ore.).

Van Heuvelen and Easton, a Portland native who has a long résumé of political and legislative work, got to know each other through the bipartisan Senate chiefs of staff network. “This is smart politics,— Van Heuvelen said of his new hire, noting that less than three years ago, Washington, D.C., was an all-GOP town. “We’re about trying to find solutions that resonate in both caucuses.—

This won’t be Easton’s first stint in the private sector. He formerly worked at the American Forest and Paper Association and was a regional political director for the American Medical Association.

VH Strategies focuses on alternative energy, health care and tax issues, and plans to do more public relations for its clients.

Born to Run. At least five House Democrats are planning fundraisers at the upcoming Bruce Springsteen concert at the Verizon Center.

According to a list of upcoming events published by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, Reps. Dutch Ruppersberger (Md.), Peter DeFazio (Ore.), Patrick Murphy (Pa.), Ron Kind (Wis.) and Baron Hill (Ind.) are all slated to host fundraisers inside the Chinatown arena on May 18, when the Boss rolls into town in support of his “Working on a Dream— tour.

All five fundraisers require a $2,500 political action committee contribution.

K Street Moves. George Frampton, co-chairman of the Obama transition team for the White House Council on Environmental Quality, is joining Covington & Burling. Frampton, who served as chairman of the CEQ from 1998 to 2001, will serve as a senior of counsel in the firm’s clean energy and climate industry group.

• Manatt, Phelps & Phillips snagged Christopher Brown. Brown, who had been assistant administrator for government and industry affairs at the Federal Aviation Administration, joins as senior counsel.

• Venn Strategies has added two new lobbyists: Nan North signs on as assistant vice president in the firm’s health care section and will work on such clients as the Campaign to End Obesity, the National Organ Transplant Access Coalition and the University of Wisconsin Medical Foundation. New assistant VP Michael McHugh will focus on financial services clients, including MassMutual and MetLife.

North previously worked at Greenberg Traurig, while McHugh was a legislative aide for then-Sen. Gordon Smith (R-Ore.).

• Communication firm MS&L has brought on Holly Feraci as vice president of its government affairs practice. Feraci most recently served as director of health care and governmental affairs in Greenberg Traurig’s Washington, D.C., office.

• Edward Angell Palmer & Dodge scored lobbyist Edward Eynon. Eynon, who served four years at DCI Associates, is joining as a partner.

• Porterfield & Lowenthal, a financial services lobbying shop, has brought on Kirsten Johnson-Obey as an executive vice president. Before joining Porterfield & Lowenthal, Johnson-Obey represented Freddie Mac.

Anna Palmer and Matthew Murray contributed to this report.

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