K Street Files: New Gig

Posted September 18, 2009 at 5:57pm

The National Association of Broadcasters on Friday named former Sen. Gordon Smith (R-Ore.) as its new president and CEO.

[IMGCAP(1)]Smith fills a vacancy left earlier this year when Republican David Rehr left the organization. Smith, who now works at Covington and Burling, lost his bid for a third term to now-Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) in November.

“I am honored to have been selected as NAB’s new president and consider this an opportunity of a lifetime,— Smith said in a statement. “As radio and television stations embrace new technologies and new business opportunities, I look forward to articulating to public policymakers the unique and positive role played by local and network broadcasters in the fabric of American society.—

Smith joins NAB at a time when the industry is on the defensive on several issues, most notably on proposed legislation that would compel broadcasters to pay royalties to performers and record labels when airing their songs. Such a bill has already passed out of the House Judiciary Committee, and the Senate may be poised also to move on it.

Marty Machowsky, a spokesman for the musicFIRST Coalition, which is lobbying for the performance royalty bills, said his organization was “pleasantly surprised— by Smith’s selection.

He said it was, in particular, an improvement over Rehr, who had a reputation as a scrappy, take-no-prisoners Republican.

“David Rehr said he would rather cut his throat than negotiate with— performers and labels, Machowsky said. “We’re hopeful that Sen. Smith will be willing to take a look — we’ve extended a hand.—

An NAB spokesman could not be reached by press time for comment about whether the organization would take a different tack under Smith’s leadership when it comes to the royalty issue.

It’s Hip to Be Square in D.C. Boston-based Liberty Square Group is taking a second whack at opening a Washington outpost. The firm, which was founded by Scott Ferson, former press secretary to the late Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.), has hired Matthew Anthes to lead the new office.

Anthes, who spent the past seven years at Van Scoyoc Associates focusing on homeland security and informational technology issues, joins as senior vice president of federal relations and government markets.

The firm originally broke into Washington in 2002 with former Kennedy political director and deputy chief of staff Tracy Spicer. Spicer first opened Liberty Square DC, which later became Avenue Solutions. While Liberty Square DC has been defunct for several years, Spicer’s firm remains a strategic partner with the firm.

The D.C. office won’t be a one-man operation for long. The firm has set it sights on adding additional lobbyist firepower by next year, according to Anthes.

Doing the Continental. Former Freddie Mac top lobbyist Tim McBride is joining American Continental Group. McBride, a Republican, will be of counsel at the firm. ACG’s Shawn Smeallie said McBride will add experience and depth in new issue areas for the firm like the auto industry and government-sponsored enterprises given his background as a lobbyist at what was then DaimlerChrysler and Freddie Mac.

K Street Moves. EADS North America is deepening its Democratic bench, adding Michael Paroby. Paroby, a former staffer to Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) and more recently a consultant with Booz Allen Hamilton, is joining as a manager of intergovernmental affairs.

Kate Ackley contributed to this report.

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