K Street Files: Time for Some Art Therapy in D.C.

Posted August 10, 2009 at 12:50pm

The American Art Therapy Association has been a virtual organization for the past 40 years, but now the trade group for art therapists is setting up an outpost inside the Beltway.[IMGCAP(1)]The organization, which historically relied heavily on volunteers and contract management firms to service its 5,000 members, has hired Chris Campbell as its chief lobbyist, according to a recent Senate lobbying disclosure filing.“They wanted a national office with a staff and a full-time person dedicated to doing policy work,— said Campbell, who has built up the trade group’s in-house capabilities to five employees.In addition to trying to gain visibility for AATA on Capitol Hill, Campbell also been focused on making sure that art therapists are considered allied health professionals in the final product of the health care bill.Do-Overs. The lobbying disclosure law may carry with it the potential for criminal penalties, but at least it also allows for mulligans.Lobbyists who find themselves not in compliance can quickly correct matters by simply filing the right paperwork. And so Gregory Smith, a partner with Smith & Brown-Yazzie, was much relieved. Smith said that unbeknownst to him, his lobbying disclosures were not filed for the past year. In recent days he has filed amended reports for several clients, including the American Racing Pigeon Union, the National Council of Urban Indian Health, National Indian Head Start Directors Association, the Navajo Hopi Land Commission Office, Pueblo of Acoma and the United South and Eastern Tribes Inc., according to the Senate Office of Public Records.“I was sweating bullets when I found out about it,— said Smith, who is now fully up-to-date with his filings.Meanwhile, the Academy of Managed Care Pharmacy also filed several amendments to correct some “modest data entry errors— and to change the way it allocates its staff salaries under the lobbying law, said William Hermelin, the group’s director of government relations and general counsel.The group recently appeared in a New York Times chart showing a sharp uptick in health care organizations’ lobbying spending, but Hermelin said that in reality the jump reflected the salaries being lumped into one quarter.“We’re going to spread it out,— he said.AMCP also did hire a new employee. “We just found with health care reform, we needed somebody to be more present on the Hill,— he said. “Numbers don’t tell the whole story.—New Business. Pharmaceutical manufacturer Novo Nordisk Inc. has tapped a team of lobbyists from Alston & Bird to lobby on health care reform legislation, according to a recent filing with the House and Senate.The lobbyists on the account include Mark Rayder, Laura Holland, Elinor Hiller and Keavney Klein.Submit K Street Files tips here.