K Street Files: New Sheriff in Town

Posted March 9, 2010 at 5:50pm

Any lobbyist who had a problem filing a Senate lobbying report got acquainted with longtime Senate Superintendent of Public Records Pam Gavin. But following Gavin’s retirement last month, another Senate employee, Dana McCallum, is tasked with the job.

[IMGCAP(1)]McCallum has been assistant superintendent of public records since 2007. The Kentucky native said she is looking forward to continuing to provide access to public records and developing faster and better tools to assist in that access, according to a statement.

“Our office receives hundreds of thousands of documents each year, some of them paper documents while others are filed electronically,” McCallum said. “Our goal is to make those documents available to the public as quickly and efficiently as possible.”

“Pam Gavin served as a great mentor; and I learned a great deal from her, especially as the office was tasked with implementing the requirements of the Honest Leadership [and] Open Government Act,” she added.

Six Feet Under. Morticians and other funeral professionals are on Capitol Hill this week, pressing lawmakers to ease estate taxes and increase regulatory oversight of the industry by the Federal Trade Commission. Led by the National Funeral Directors Association, the coalition also includes the Cremation Association of North America and the National Funeral Directors and Morticians Association, an African-American trade group.

Today, the three associations are scheduled to meet with Democratic Reps. Bobby Rush (Ill.) and Charlie Wilson (Ohio). Jessica Koth, an NFDA spokeswoman, said lobbying comes naturally for coalition members whose job description requires them to keep a calm demeanor during tense times. “Our members are really good about talking about what it is that they do,” Koth said.

Tribes Fight Back. Sixteen American Indian tribes have hired Quinn Gillespie & Associates to try to force the government to pay billions of dollars the tribes allege is owed to them. For years the tribes have been fighting the government in court over claims that for decades the government has mismanaged American Indian trust funds by not paying money owed for mining, grazing and drilling leases on tribal lands.

QGA’S Jack Quinn and Manuel Ortiz are registered to work on behalf of the tribes, which include the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe, the Crow Creek Sioux Tribe and the Eastern Shawnee Tribe of Oklahoma. One major problem in the cases has been that the government didn’t maintain the records it was supposed to, Quinn said. So far, Quinn said he and Ortiz are trying to get a handle on the cases to come up with a framework for how much the government should pay to settle the cases. The tribes are looking for the firm to reach out to Congress and executive branch agencies to come to a resolution to settle the cases.

Speculating in D.C. Hedge funds no longer have just the Managed Funds Association to do their bidding on Capitol Hill. The Hedge Fund Association, which represents small- to medium-sized funds, recently registered to lobby, and it backdated its registration report by nearly a year. Lara Block, the group’s executive director, said HFA decided to date the registration to June because that is when the association made its first trip to Washington, D.C.

The decision to register was voluntary, Block said, noting that the group has not previously spent enough time lobbying to trigger the Lobbying Disclosure Act. “It looks more legitimate,” she explained.

Status Update. Facebook is looking to make more friends in Washington, D.C. The social networking company is hiring for two new positions in its capital office, and the additions would bring the total staff in D.C. to five.

The company wants to add a senior-level manager of public policy as well as a public policy associate. The office is headed by Timothy Sparapani, who was hired last year from the American Civil Liberties Union. Other staffers are Andrew Noyes, manager of public policy communications, and Adam Conner, an associate manager of public policy.

The office lobbies on a host of issues that concern tech companies, such as expanding green cards for foreign entrepreneurs who are in this country.

While Facebook provides an online venue for its viewers to share personal tidbits, company officials were less eager to share information about their lobbying operation: They declined to comment on the prospective hires.

K Street Moves. Thorn Run Partners is branching out to Portland, Ore. The recently opened firm has hired Daniel Bates, a former director of government relations for the City of Portland, to open the office. Bates, who previously was a lobbyist at Patton Boggs, will also spend time in Washington, D.C.

• Accounting firm Grant Thornton International has scored Mary Moore Hamrick. Formerly with the Center for Audit Quality, Hamrick will lead the firm’s public policy operation as national managing principal of public policy.

• The law firm Nossaman has nabbed Democratic lobbyist Paul Quinn, most recently special counsel at Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney, as a partner in the firm’s Washington, D.C., office.

Matthew Murray and Bennett Roth contributed to this report.

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