K Street Files: Meet Fred Wertheimer 2.0

Posted August 12, 2009 at 4:04pm

Not five years ago, Daniel Weeks was a college student in New Haven, Conn. But these days, the 26-year-old says he’s attempting to “bring a new burst of energy— to the campaign finance reform community — and appears well on his way to establishing himself alongside veterans like Democracy 21 founder Fred Wertheimer. [IMGCAP(1)]Weeks, president of the New Hampshire-based Americans for Campaign Reform, is in town this week pushing his group’s marquee issue: publicly financed Congressional campaigns. Meeting with Wertheimer, Members of Congress and groups like the Cato Institute and National Rifle Association, Weeks is lobbying for passage of the Fair Elections Now Act, a bill that would provide federal “seed money— and matching funds for candidates who raise a nominal sum in small-dollar donations. In an interview Tuesday, the 2006 Yale University graduate also said the campaign finance community is ready for a makeover. Weeks said “from the start— reformers have been too aligned with “left-of-center— political ideology, which has discouraged possible conservative allies from affiliating themselves with a liberal-leaning cause. Unlike other Washington, D.C.-based groups, Weeks says his organization is not taking foundation grants, relying instead on a network of 2,500 supporters to fund its $350,000 annual budget. “He’s part of a new generation that’s become deeply involved in the campaign finance issues and the campaign finance battles,— Wertheimer said Wednesday. “His value in this battle is that he’s extremely talented and very committed to the issue and prepared to make the kind of commitments that you have to make to fight campaign finance reform battles.—Weeks’ group has enlisted an impressive — and politically diverse — roster of supporters, from former netroots darling Ned Lamont, who beat Sen. Joe Lieberman (ID-Conn.) in a 2006 primary only to lose to him in the general election, to former Sens. Bill Bradley (D-N.J.), Warren Rudman (R-N.H.), Bob Kerrey (D-Neb.) and Alan Simpson (R-Wyo.). “We’re trying to bring all types of crazy people into this,— Weeks said. For now, Weeks has no plan to relocate his group closer to the action in Washington, preferring to make the 500-mile commute from Concord, N.H., as the lobbying demands. And not unlike many workplace contrasts between baby boomers and twentysomethings, Wertheimer suggested the arrangement is curious but workable. “It’s usual not to have any specific presence in Washington, but he spends time here,— Wertheimer said. Separate No More. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is upping the ante in its quest for legal status in Italy. The church has hired its first outside federal lobbying firm, APCO Worldwide, to lobby Congress, according to recently filed Senate lobbying disclosure reports.Former Ambassador to Kazakhstan A. Elizabeth Jones signed on to represent the church at the end of July.Fettig Finds His Footing. Dwight Fettig, who recently left Arnold & Porter to become a name partner at financial services lobby shop Porterfield, Lowenthal & Fettig, is already bringing on clients. The former legislative director to Sen. Tim Johnson (D-S.D.) signed on to lobby for JPMorgan Chase, according to recently filed Senate lobbying disclosure reports. Fettig also recently registered to lobby for debt management company CareOne Services Inc.K Street Moves. H. Russell Frisby Jr., former CEO of the Competitive Telecommunications Association, is joining Stinson Morrison Hecker as a partner in the firm’s Washington, D.C., office. He will focus on communications, energy and technology areas.“Russell is an excellent addition to the firm and brings significant regulatory experience to our D.C. office,— D.C. managing partner David D’Alessandro said in a press release. “His background representing a wide spectrum of telecom and energy stakeholders makes him keenly in tune with current developments in these industries and provides unparalleled expertise to clients.—Kate Ackley contributed to this report.Submit K Street Files tips here.