K Street Files: Fundraisers Target iPhone

Posted June 5, 2009 at 5:55pm

In tough economic times, fundraisers are forced to get ever more creative to help lawmakers build war chests for the upcoming election cycle.

[IMGCAP(1)]Bellwether Consulting Group’s Monica Notzon believes her firm has the answer: an iPhone app that will allow users to track all of the events that their clients have on any given day.

“It will allow you to get directions to the location, read a candidate’s bio and go directly to their Web site so you can contribute via credit card in the cab on the way to your event,— Notzon, whose firm raises money for nearly 20 Senate and House members, said in an e-mail.

The fundraising outfit has bigger plans for the soon-to-be-launched application, including allowing donors to interact with virtual campaign offices and to RSVP to events directly from their iPhones.

“Our belief is that more information raises more money,— Notzon said.

It also means forgetting to cut a check is no longer an excuse.

Air Force. Defense contractor Raytheon has tapped Mark Van de Water, a senior policy adviser at Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell & Berkowitz, to lobby for a missile-defense program that could have a market outside the military world.

Raytheon has a program that shields planes from MANPADS, or shoulder-fired surface-to-air missiles.

Now, the company is looking for a market in the civilian sector, Van de Water said. Raytheon already works with the Defense Department on the program, and Van de Water said he will be focusing on Congress and the Homeland Security Department to see if the program could be used to protect commercial planes from MANPADS.

Private Practice. Former Rep. Larry LaRocco (D-Idaho), who set up his own lobbying practice this year after losing a race for his home state’s U.S. Senate seat, has tapped his mountain roots for new business.

U.S. Geothermal Inc. — a company in Boise, Idaho, that develops geothermal energy — has hired LaRocco to work on energy and climate change legislation as well as public lands bills.

LaRocco & Associates also signed up Discover Financial Services of Riverwoods, Ill., for which the firm will lobby on banking, financial services and bankruptcy bills.

“I’ve enjoyed it,— LaRocco said of his return to lobbying. “Every project I’m working on is with people I’ve been affiliated with or feel passionately about.—

Flooring It. Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) said last week that the “cash-for-clunkers— bill backed by automakers will hit the House floor sometime before Friday.

The proposal, which is sponsored by Rep. Betty Sutton (D-Ohio) in the House, was expected to be added last week to Senate tobacco legislation that was derailed after contentious amendments were added to the bill.

Sutton’s $4 billion plan would give car buyers up to $4,500 to trade in their gas-guzzlers for new, fuel-efficient models.

The downtrodden auto sector is touting the bill as a lifeline that would also help the environment — and perhaps for Democrats, a sorely needed climate change victory going into the August recess.

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