K Street Files: Rehr-ing to Go

Posted May 29, 2009 at 4:40pm

The feisty Republican lobbyist David Rehr may soon be out of a job, but at least he knows he’s worth $400.

Rehr, who abruptly resigned in May as head of the National Association of Broadcasters after the group suffered a series of policy setbacks, put himself up for auction Thursday night.

[IMGCAP(1)]No, this isn’t the new way for GOPers on K Street to find work; it was for the proverbial good cause.

Rehr was one of six lobbyists who were auctioning off networking opportunities with themselves to benefit the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. Rehr, who told potential bidders, “If you work on Capitol Hill, I probably know a bunch of crap about your boss,— commanded $400.

In a twist, though, Rehr then paid $1,000 for a networking opportunity with Democratic consultant and former Texas Rep. Max Sandlin of the IGR Group, according to a “K Street Files— informant. Rehr hired Sandlin as an outside lobbyist for NAB, so perhaps Rehr does not want to find himself without Sandlin’s counsel after the Republican decamps from the association.

Neither Rehr nor Sandlin could be reached for comment Friday.

Other lobbyists who participated in the charity auction included Michael Williams Johnson of the National Beer Wholesalers Association ($300) and Jill Dowell, vice president for federal affairs at America’s Health Insurance Plans.

Luck of the Draw. The chances were 1 in 400, but the scandal-plagued and now-defunct lobby shop PMA Group appeared twice in a Government Accountability Office audit on lobbying disclosure compliance.

In its 2009 report “Observations on Lobbyists’ Compliance with Disclosure Requirements,— the GAO looked at 100 firms in which PMA and its client Unisys Corp. made the list. In addition, the GAO sampled 100 individual lobbyists and their compliance with campaign contribution reports, and Kaylene Green, a former top lobbyist with PMA, was listed.

“Everyone had an equal chance of being picked,— said George Stalcup, a director with GAO’s strategic issues team. “It was totally random.— Stalcup added that the GAO pulled the names randomly from 40,000 LD-2 reports.

Green, who is now with Flagship Government Relations, did not comment by press time.

The report concluded that “lobbyists were generally able to provide documentation, although in varying degrees, to support items in their disclosure reports.—

Ogilvy Adds Lapia. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) may have lamented on the Senate floor before the recess about how he’ll miss longtime Democratic Cloakroom aide Joe Lapia’s mother’s cooking and his sports talk, but Reid’s loss is Ogilvy Government Relations’ gain.

Lapia, who spent the past 13 years on Capitol Hill, first working for then-Sen. Joseph Biden (D-Del.), is joining the firm as senior vice president.

“His expertise of Senate leadership and proceedings will be really helpful for us and our clients,— Ogilvy’s Moses Mercado said.

Ogilvy had been short-staffed on Senate Democratic leadership since Jimmy Williams exited to work for Icahn Associates in March.

Lapia isn’t the only Democrat joining the government relations team. Tony Bullock, former chief of staff to Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan (D-N.Y.), is also coming aboard. Bullock, who has been on the public relations side of the company, joins as senior vice president.

Shipping Outfit Shutters Office. CMA CGM, the third-largest container shipping company in the world, has closed its Washington, D.C., government relations outpost. Opened four years ago by veteran influence broker William Bierre, the French company never realized its goal of acquiring American ships.

“The industry is in dire circumstances, and CMA CGM was looking at ways to cut costs,— Bierre said.

Bierre, who previously had his own lobbying practice, is restarting BIERRE-Government Relations Co.

New Kid on the Block. Mega-insurer the Travelers Companies Inc. is setting up a Washington, D.C.-based think tank to generate research on the insurance sector. The new group, Travelers Institute, will be run by company vice president and former Congressional staffer Joan Woodward.

“Travelers is committed to being a constructive participant in the public policy dialogue with regard to important issues facing our industry,— Travelers Chief Executive Officer Jay Fishman said in a statement.

K Street Moves. Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s (D-Calif.) speechwriter Christopher Fitzgerald is jumping to public affairs shop LMG. Fitzgerald, who has been a Capitol Hill staffer since 1997, has worked for several Members, including Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.) and Sens. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) and Ron Wyden (D-Ore.).

Elizabeth Brotherton contributed to this report.

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