More Staffers Depart Home Builders Association
The bloodletting continues at the National Association of Home Builders. Roll Call has learned that two more senior staffers have resigned just a day after news that the organization’s top lobbyist jumped ship.
Elizabeth Odina, who lobbied on energy issues for the group, and Holli Feichko, legal counsel, both resigned and will leave the group next week, according to sources familiar with the organization.
Their departures come on the heels of news that Joe Stanton, the group’s top lobbyist, would leave to pursue other opportunities.
In just over a year, with housing-related issues in the spotlight on Capitol Hill, the once formidable power has lost five key players, including four stars from its lobbying team.
“There is this sort of, to be frank, dysfunctional atmosphere combined with the stress of what’s going on in the industry,” said one lobbyist familiar with the organization. “It has become known around town that the morale is low over there.”
Another industry insider familiar with the workings of the association said that some of the departures were due to “natural progression” but that others were forced resignations inspired by threats of termination.
“I cannot emphasize strongly enough that there is no smoking gun,” the source said. “Most acutely, some of them have been asked to take on more work, and it’s a tough time.“
NAHB has downsized considerably in the past several years, losing more than 100 employees since the economic downturn in 2008, although the advocacy arm of the organization took a comparatively small blow, the source added.
NAHB has business before several committees, including the Joint Committee on Deficit Reduction, which met publicly for the second time Tuesday. The House Financial Services Committee, Senate Banking Committee, House Ways and Means Committee, and Senate Finance Committee have also recently held or are scheduled to hold hearings on NAHB issues.
Paul Lopez, spokesman for NAHB, offered comment only on Stanton’s departure.
“Mr. Stanton has left NAHB to pursue other opportunities,” Lopez said. “We thank Joe for his service to the industry and wish him well both personally and professionally. Effective immediately, Jim Tobin will be our new chief lobbyist.”
None of the three departed staff members could be reached for comment.
Correction: Sept. 14, 2011
The article originally misstated the date of the Joint Committee on Deficit Reduction’s second public meeting. It was Tuesday.