K Street Files: From Glam to Refugees

Posted January 22, 2010 at 5:59pm

Former Rep. Dan Glickman (D-Kan.) has left the building. The ex-CEO of the Motion Picture Association of America departed the group on Friday after six years as Hollywood’s chief lobbyist.

[IMGCAP(1)]The one-time secretary of Agriculture will become president of Refugees International on April 1. Glickman, whose departure has been expected for months, is being replaced temporarily by MPAA President Bob Pisano.

“For me, perhaps the best thing about the job was the movies. I love movies. And as far as I am concerned, we make the best movies in the world,— reflected Glickman, whose son Jonathan is a Hollywood producer, in a statement announcing his move.

An affable Kansan who served nine terms in the House before joining the Clinton administration, Glickman’s MPAA tenure was marred by his perceived inability to give lawmakers the hard sell on the group’s legislative priorities such as last year’s stimulus plan. More than likely, however, his reign was often compared to that of his predecessor, Jack Valenti, a legendary K Street force who created a lobbying presence for Hollywood’s interests downtown and for whom the MPAA’s D.C. building is named.

Paying the Tab. As the health care reform debate raged during the last three months of 2009, a number of medical stakeholders bumped up their end-of-the-year lobbying spending, according to disclosure reports filed with Congress last week.

The American Medical Association reported spending $8 million in the fourth quarter compared with $3.9 million in the third quarter. The American Hospital Association shelled out $5.4 million in the last three months of the year compared with $3.8 million in the previous quarter. And America’s Health Insurance Plans spent $2.5 million in the last quarter compared with $2.4 million in the third period.

AARP, the influential seniors group doled out $5.9 million for lobbying, up from $5.6 million in the third quarter. One notable exception was the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, whose lobbying tab dropped slightly to $6.3 million in the last quarter from $6.7 million.

Overall, the big spenders for the quarter included many of the usual suspects, led by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, which racked up a record $71 million lobbying bill for the period, more than double its $34 million spending for the third quarter. The chamber was followed by the American Beverage Association, which spent $10.1 million, up from $7.3 million in the third quarter. The AMA was next, followed by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Institute for Legal Reform, which spent $7.9 million. Also on the top spending list was General Electric, which reported spending $6.8 million for the quarter, down from $6.9 million the previous period, and Exxon Mobil, which spent $6.3 million in the final period, down from $6.7 million in the third quarter.

On the Town. White House party crashers Tareq Salahi and his wife, Michaele Salahi, pleaded the Fifth before Congress on Wednesday, but they were nowhere to be found at the Bombay Club’s re-enactment of the state dinner menu Thursday evening. The restaurant, which is just a stone’s throw from the White House, was packed with K Streeters and politicos alike taking in the festivities. At least one attendee of the official state dinner joined in the fun — Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner was seen chowing down with New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd, according to one restaurant-goer.

K Streeters at the event included Tom Quinn of Venable; Gerald Harrington of Capitol City Group; Mike Hutton, former chief of staff to Sen. Bob Menendez (D-N.J.); Zahra Buck of Capitol Counsel; and Lyndon Boozer of AT&T.

Across town Thursday, boutique firm Cauthen Forbes & Williams held a fete of its own, drawing a large number of people to its welcome-back-Congress party. Drew Goesl of Capitol Counsel, Jeff Murray of C2 Group, and Holland & Knight’s John Buscher were among the several dozen people who were there to toast the end of recess — or drown their sorrows?

Gloria Dittus — founder of Dittus Communications, which she sold to FD — also made it back on the scene. On Tuesday, Dittus hosted a fete in her Kalorama home for longtime White House reporter Helen Thomas to celebrate the scribe’s latest book, “Listen Up, Mr. President.— While the event was mostly packed with journos, Dittus drew Maine Republican Sen. Susan Collins, along with Hilary Rosen of the Brunswick Group; Robert Holleyman, president and CEO of the Business Software Alliance; and Robbie Aiken of the Pinnacle West Capital Corporation.

K Street Moves. Stephen J. Northrup, a former health adviser to Sen. Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.), has joined the Podesta Group as a principal. Most recently vice president of federal affairs at WellPoint Inc., Northrup will focus on health care and education clients.

“Steve will utilize his insider’s perspective as he works with health care and education, two issues that are at the foreground of the political scene today,— CEO Kimberley Fritts said in a statement.

• The Insured Retirement Institute has tapped Karen Alvarado, formerly with AEGON Insurance Group, as its new vice president for compliance and regulatory affairs.

• Mark Del Monte has been promoted to director of the American Academy of Pediatrics’ department of federal affairs.

Submit K Street Files tips here.