K Street Files: When K Street Freezes Over

Posted April 20, 2010 at 6:47pm

Public Citizen is calling on the 47 retiring lawmakers to sign personal integrity pledges that they will not take lobbying jobs for two years with any company that lobbied them or their committees.

[IMGCAP(1)]Done laughing yet?

But seriously, the watchdog group sent letters to the lawmakers Monday and launched a petition drive, asking citizens to urge lawmakers — including Sens. Judd Gregg (R-N.H.) and Chris Dodd (D-Conn.) and Reps. John Tanner (D-Tenn.) and Brian Baird (D-Wash.) — to make the pledge.

“If you’re a Member of Congress, you’re very unlikely to clamp down on Wall Street if you’re planning on taking a job with a Wall Street firm,” Public Citizen President Robert Weissman said in a statement. “Our elected officials should pledge their loyalty to their constituents by pledging not to take jobs with businesses that have lobbied them.”

The call comes amid increased scrutiny of the revolving door of former lawmakers who lobbied for the financial services industry last year, including former Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.), former Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott (R-Miss.) and former House Majority Leaders Dick Gephardt (D-Mo.) and Dick Armey (R-Texas).

Net Worth. Evaluating the worth of things is an appraisers’ stock and trade. Now the trade group representing them has decided that it needs a K Street presence. The American Society of Appraisers recently registered to lobby for itself on tax and financial services issues.

The group, which counts more than 5,000 appraisers as its members, registered John Russell as its in-house lobbyist. Russell joined the group about seven months ago from the National Association of Telecom Officers and Advisors to build out the organization’s internal advocacy effort.

“We’ve been active through the use of an outside consultant in prior years,” Russell said. “Part of the reason we created an internal department was as a way to improve the way in which we serve our members.”

ASA continues to have Peter Barash of Gordon/Barash Associates Inc. on retainer.

Off the Market. Arshi Siddiqui, a top aide to Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), has joined Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld as a partner.

Since joining Pelosi’s leadership staff in 2003, Siddiqui has worked on high-profile issues including the health care reform package, for which she received a personal shout-out from Pelosi on the House floor during debate over the measure. She also worked on tax, trade, pension and other economic matters for Pelosi — all of which make her a big get for Akin Gump.

“Arshi is a superb and highly regarded lawyer with a wealth of experience in legislative policy and strategy. We are very pleased to welcome her to the firm,” Smith Davis, co-leader of Akin Gump’s policy practice, said in a statement.

Former Rep. Vic Fazio (D-Calif.), a senior adviser at Akin Gump, said: “Arshi is bright and savvy about the ways of Washington. Our firm was most fortunate that she chose to join our team as she begins a new phase of her career.”

This will not be Siddiqui’s first time in the private sector. The Georgetown University Law Center graduate previously worked at Williams & Jensen. On the Hill, she worked for Rep. Xavier Becerra (D-Calif.) as Ways and Means Committee counsel.

Siddiqui joins an expanding policy practice at Akin Gump, one of the city’s largest lobbying and law firms. Recently the policy shop brought on the Democratic lobbying boutique of Parven Pomper Strategies Inc., including Scott Parven and Brian Pomper.

On Their Own. Eugene Patrone, former legislative director to then-Rep. Susan Molinari (R-N.Y.), has struck out on his own. Patrone left Bracewell & Giuliani, where Molinari continues to work, earlier this year and has signed up his first client, the Century Council. Patrone is working on highway safety issues for the council, which is concerned with the upcoming highway reauthorization bill.

Ginger Loper is also striking out on her own. The former Timmons & Co. lobbyist has started Loper Consulting and signed her longtime client Teva Pharmaceutical Industries. Loper said the break with Timmons came after its merger with BKSH & Associates presented a conflict of interest between Teva and some of the pharmaceutical clients at BKSH. She continues to work as a consultant for her former employer, which is now called Prime Policy Group.

The former George W. Bush administration adviser is lobbying for health care clients such as the American Medical Association and the American Council of Life Insurers through Prime Policy Group.

K Street Moves. Tech nonprofit CONNECT has added Timothy Tardibono, a former counsel to Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.), as its new director of government affairs and chief counsel in its Washington, D.C., office.

Kate Ackley contributed to this report.

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