K Street Files: Partying for Podesta

Posted October 23, 2009 at 4:41pm

Democratic power broker Tony Podesta was scheduled to celebrate his 65th birthday in style with a “red shoe— fete at the National Museum of Women in the Arts on Friday night. Riffing off of Podesta’s penchant for wearing red loafers, the party invite billed the event as “A Red Shoe Affair.— Guests were encouraged to “glamour up and join us to celebrate— — red shoes optional.

[IMGCAP(1)]“I’ve had nothing to do with it,— Podesta said of planning the fete. “I was informed I was to be there.—

Podesta said the idea was spawned by his “home wife and office wife,— Heather Podesta and Podesta Group CEO Kimberley Fritts.

While the event was expected to draw several prominent K Streeters, with the last House votes Friday morning, Podesta said he wasn’t expecting a large contingency of lawmakers to attend. The event was planned to comply with House and Senate ethics rules, according to the invite.

In lieu of gifts, guests were encouraged to bring new or gently used shoes for a donation to Soles4Souls, a charity that provides shoes to adults and children in need.

Proponents Push Tax Credit. A coalition of more than 400 companies and business groups are lobbying Congress to strengthen an innovation tax credit and make it permanent before

the provision expires at the end of the year. The R&D Credit Coalition sent a letter last week to Members of Congress, urging them to take action.

“Failure to enact a permanent and strengthened credit will have significant negative consequences for the U.S. economy and threatens investments we need to make in important areas of the economy such as renewable energy and energy efficiency technologies, health care, biotechnology, manufacturing processes, and information and communications technologies,— the group wrote.

The coalition isn’t stopping there. It’s also ramping up its lobbying campaign on Capitol Hill doing coalition and individual company meetings, according to a coalition spokesman.

Enviros Reaching Out. As disagreements over how to count carbon emissions for biofuels continue to pervade the climate change discussion in Washington, D.C., the Environmental Defense Fund is reaching out to agriculture and forest groups, biofuel producers and other environmental stakeholders to try to form a consensus on how to account for the emissions.

The decision to form a working group comes following a new report that EDF Chief Scientist Steven Hamburg co-authored in Science magazine that says bioenergy should not be treated as carbon-neutral.

But it looks like consensus among stakeholders may be a ways off.

Ethanol proponents like the Renewable Fuels Association have already jumped to criticize the report, saying that the Science article “misses the mark,— according to the RFA’s Web site.

HP Drops Out. Tech giant Hewlett-Packard has dropped out of the Coalition for Patent Fairness.

The defection comes as lobbying heats up on a patent reform bill. HP is upset over a damages provision in the Senate bill.

A coalition spokesman confirmed HP’s departure. “We’ve been pleased to work with HP and the other CPF innovation leaders to foster reforms to modernize the patent system to meet the needs of today’s high-technology and innovation-based global economy,— the spokesman said. “Though we may not be working together, CPF will continue to work side-by-side with HP to enact the strongest possible reforms to the patent system that foster innovation, spur research and development, and create high-quality jobs for Americans.—

The coalition has spent more than $1.93 million on lobbying this year with firms including Elmendorf Strategies, Patton Boggs, and Fierce, Isakowitz & Blalock on retainer.

Triple Threat. Longtime Democratic lobbyist Patrick Murphy, most recently with mCapitol Management, has launched a new lobbying venture called 3 Click Solutions. The number three is a reference to the three specialties of the new firm: lobbying, international affairs and new media.

“There are no standalone issues that just traditional lobbying can solve in this climate,— Murphy said. “In every big issue, an international component should be part of the strategy.—

Former Canadian Ambassador Paul Frazer will head that international practice, while Murphy’s brother Emmett Murphy will run the new-media side.

“You’ve also got to tap into the blogosphere,— said Patrick Murphy. “With the impact that the Internet and social networking [have], it’s becoming more of a grass-roots movement.—

The bipartisan firm’s other partners are GOPers Louis Hengen; Kymber Messersmith, who was previously vice president of state government affairs at American Express; and Robert Hall, who will handle the public relations side for the new-media division. Associates are John Edgington, Jenighi Powell and Bryan Tackett. And Murphy says the firm is looking for more employees.

Kate Ackley contributed to this story.

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