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Posts by Jason Dick
May 23, 2014
Talk about a Friday news dump. At 5:42 p.m., when just about everyone was either a couple of sheets in at Happy Hour or halfway to Rehoboth, the announcement came in, subject line: “Squire Sanders and Patton Boggs Announce Agreement to Combine Firms.”
The release laid out the particulars: “Operating under the name Squire Patton Boggs, the firm will consist of approximately 1,600 lawyers spanning 45 offices in 21 countries around the world. This places the firm among the top 25 firms globally in terms of lawyer headcount, and eighth by number of countries where they have offices, as per The American Lawyer 2013 Global 100. The firm will also rank as one of the top 10 largest firms in Washington DC with approximately 280 lawyers and among the largest in the United States with roughly 785 lawyers.”
Patton Boggs, like many K Street firms who have seen revenue plunge in recent years, has been trying to figure it out lately, shedding partners and checking out its merger options, so it’s no huge surprise that this happened. Earlier this week, the merger hit a snag over last minute jitters over Patton Boggs’ involvement in a lawsuit between Chevron and Ecuadorean villagers. The late-Friday-before-the-holiday-announcement signals that the powers that be finally got enough of a green light to not call the whole thing off. Congratulations to the happy couple.
May 6, 2014
“Since opening the Washington office, Butler helped us grow in the nation’s capital, which today has more than 40 attorneys and policy advisers. Butler leaves a legacy of gentility and professionalism that won’t soon be forgotten on the Hill or at Nelson Mullins,” Managing Partner Jim Lehman said.
Would that all people who work and strive in the capital city aim to be known for their “gentility and professionalism.”
April 9, 2014
It’s as a colleague said, the end of an era. Robert Zirkelbach, the long-time chief flack at America’s Health Insurance Plans, is heading to another titan of the industry, the Pharmaceutical Manufacturers of America.
Zirkelbach was in charge of helping AHIP and its head, Karen Ignagni, navigate some of the most treacherous policy and political waters in recent history: the debate over the Affordable Care Act. AHIP worked hand-in-glove with the Obama administration to make sure insurers stayed on board, and Ignagni and her organization took some major licks. The place he’s heading, PhRMA, also got criticized by those skeptical and opposed to Obamacare for doing much the same. Full story
March 10, 2014
It’s rare to find someone who is equally passionate about derivatives and modern art in the public policy world. Erica Elliott, formerly communications director for House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., and most recently policy adviser at Crowell & Moring’s public policy group, is that rare person.
“One of my issues that I’m most passionate about, and this is strange, I’m really passionate about derivatives,” Elliott said in a recent interview shortly after taking up shop with Crowell & Moring. She added that when she was thinking about leaving Capitol Hill and what would be the next professional step, she had a simple test. “I thought to myself, you’re at a cocktail party with people, having a perfectly polite conversation, what is it that would rile you up enough to actually turn that polite conversation into a political debate? And for me, it wasn’t Obamacare or politics broadly , but let me tell you, regulation of derivatives, for whatever reason, fires me up.” Full story
March 3, 2014
Well, bless my soul, rock and roll, looks like the good folks at Levick have acquired Purple Nation Solutions, the keystone communications firm founded by crisis manager maven Lanny Davis and former Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele. Levick decided to become Purple Nation people eaters because “their approach perfectly embodies Levick’s view of how to build consensus and communicate trust,” Levick President Mark Irion said in a statement announcing the acquisition.
Davis will become Levick’s executive vice president, Steele will become senior strategist on state and local issues and Purple Nation Chief Communications Officer Eleanor McManus, previously of CNN fame, will become senior vice president.
Davis, who made his bones as a fixer for the Clinton White House in the 1990s, continues to be a man in demand because politicians and companies seem incapable of following his simple “guiding principle,” which he’s offered time and time again, for free, including in his book last year “Crisis Tales: Five Rules for Coping With Crises in Business, Politics and Life.” Here they are again, for those keeping score at home: “Tell it all, tell it early, tell it yourself.”
But don’t worry, as long as there’s a bridge or an intern, or a Twitter account and a public official nearby, such advice will likely be disregarded.
February 25, 2014
Charles M. Clapton, a veteran Capitol Hill health aide who’s spent the last year at Hogan Lovells, is heading to the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America as senior vice president, federal advocacy, the trade group announced Tuesday.
Clapton, who starts at PhRMA on March 17, made his bones as, among many positions over more than a decade and a half on the Hill, health policy director for the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee and chief health counsel for the House Ways and Means Committee. He also put in time at the House Energy and Commerce Committee, was briefly an adviser for then-Speaker Dennis Hastert, R-Ill., and got his start as a legislative assistant for the Senate Judiciary Committee. Clapton will report to Chip Davis, PhRMA’s executive vice president for advocacy and member relations.
“Chuck is a dynamic advocate and an expert on the policy issues facing the biopharmaceutical sector and the patients we serve,” John J. Castellani, president and CEO of PhRMA, said in a statement announcing the hire.
February 19, 2014
Carlos Gutierrez, the former Commerce secretary under George W. Bush and a champion of immigration reform efforts, is going to be a co-chair at the Albright Stonebridge Group, moving up from his current position as a vice chairman of the firm. Full story
February 10, 2014
If you get a call from Heather Podesta or someone at Heather Podesta + Partners asking you to go to coffee, you can rest assured where you’ll end up going.
Podesta, the woman who proudly displayed a scarlet “L” for the world to see her lobbying bona fides, has signed up to represent Peet’s Coffee & Tea as it expands into Washington’s caffeine streams. Full story
Brett Loper, a former senior aide for Speaker John A. Boehner, R-Ohio, and one-time member of Roll Call’s Fabulous 50 list of influential staffers, is joining the Bipartisan Policy Center as a senior adviser.
Boehnerland and the center seem to be developing a Washington Nationals-Oakland A’s relationship, with key staffers welcome in both spaces. In December, Rebecca Tallent joined Boehner’s staff as his immigration policy director, coming over from her similar position at the center.
Loper left his position as deputy chief of staff to Boehner last year to take a position at American Express as senior vice president of government affairs. When he left the Hill, he had been Boehner’s top policy adviser as deputy chief for more than two years and was a top K Street get. Previous to that, he was senior executive vice president of the Advanced Medical Technology Association.
Before his time at AdvaMed, he was the GOP staff director for the House Ways and Means Committee under its ranking member, then-Rep. Jim McCrery, R-La. Prior to that, he was McCrery’s chief of staff. He’s got some executive branch experience as well, having worked at the Office of Management and Budget during the early years of the George W. Bush White House.
“Brett is an excellent addition to our cadre of thought leaders and policy experts,” said BPC Senior Vice President Bill Hoagland, himself a former Fab 50er and top budget and appropriations aide in the Senate.
February 6, 2014
The apartment industry’s trade group is making a slight change to its name and brand, while adding three new vice presidents.
First, the name change: The National Multi Housing Council will henceforth be known as the National Multifamily Housing Council. After all, as a council statement said, explaining the move, “Our research told us that many in the industry know us as the acronym NMHC, but the name National Multi Housing Council caused some confusion. What after all is multi housing?” Multifamily housing — on the other hand — apparently nothing says apartment living like that. “This new brand is designed to bridge the gap between who we were 36 years ago and who we are today, and it is designed to better reflect the sophistication of the $1.1 trillion apartment industry,” NMHC President Doug Bibby said in a statement about the rebrand.
Of note in the NMHC’s release is its mention of one of its founders: “In 1978, a small group of industry legends, including Sam Zell, Preston Butcher, Trammell Crow and others, got together to form an organization to fight rent control. Since then, the apartment industry has evolved dramatically from its mom-and-pop roots,” the organization said on its rebranding release.
Zell might mean a lot to the industry, but he’s also known as a billionaire who cratered the Tribune Co. and its proud newspapers and sold the Chicago Cubs in a byzantine transaction that left a bad impression with many Cubs fans in the Windy City and beyond. Interesting branding.
Now for the new peeps. Lisa Costello, most recently at the American Hotel & Lodging Association as its vice president of government affairs, will be the NMHC’s new vice president of political affairs. Her duties will include managing the council’s political action committee. She had been with the hotel people since 2001. She’s a former congressional staffer who started her Washington career with then-Rep. Bob Smith, R-N.H. She left the Hill to work for the National Association of Professional Insurance Agents and the U.S. Telecom Association.
The NMHC also promoted a couple of its own to vice president slots: Jim Lapides and Sarah Yaussi. Lapides will be VP of strategic communications and Yaussi VP of industry communications.
February 5, 2014
It’s good to be an appropriator, or better yet, an appropriations staffer.
Shockey Scofield Solutions, a growing lobbying firm founded by former House Appropriations Committee aides, has added Martin Delgado, the staff director for the House Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee as a principal. As our colleague Kate Ackley reports, the firm is one of several smaller lobbying shops enjoying a growth period, even as the big firms see a decline in business.
Delgado, who was the subcommittee’s main man for six years, joins a firm helmed by Jeff Shockey and John Scofield, both former longtime House Appropriations senior aides. Maybe all the scorn heaped on the purse-keepers by the tea party over the past couple of years hasn’t changed the fact that people who know what they’re talking about when it comes to federal spending are in high demand.
Delgado has also worked for the House Military Construction-VA Appropriations Subcommittee and the Senate Interior and Environment Appropriations Subcommittee. He began his career back in 1989 at the Agriculture Department as a budget analyst, according to the firm’s announcement of his hire.
“We couldn’t be happier for Delgado to join our team. His knowledge of FDA, food and agriculture policy is unparalleled in this town. There is a lot of opportunity in the FDA and food arenas and Delgado’s expertise and experience will enable us to maximize those opportunities,” Shockey said in the release.
February 4, 2014
TechNet, the high-tech industry trade group that represents such firms as Cisco, Google and Oracle, has chose Linda Moore, a veteran White House and Capitol Hill staffer as its new president and CEO.
“Working with Silicon Valley executives, she will help drive forward the political and policy issues that matter most to the tech industry,” John Chambers, Cisco’s chairman and CEO, said in a statement announcing the hire. Moore is a longtime political hand, whose experience dates back to ex-Rep. Richard Gephardt’s 1988 presidential run. She went on to be field director for the Democratic Leadership Council, a position that led her to working for the Clinton White House Office of Political Affairs for both terms, with a small time-out to lend a hand on the 1996 Clinton/Gore re-election campaign.
After the Clinton years, she worked for then-Sen. Evan Bayh, D-Ind., working as his senior adviser. Along the way, she worked on then-Sen. John Kerry’s 2004 presidential run, as well as Hillary Rodham Clinton’s 2008 run. She most recently hung out her own shingle, LMF Strategies.
She starts the TechNet gig on Feb. 10, taking over for Alix Burns, the acting head of the group..
Moore will also be joined by Andrea Deveau, who has been hired to be TechNet’s California executive director.
February 3, 2014
Communications shop Blue Engine Message & Media has added two press handlers to the mix, adding some congressional and White House experience to the team.
Tiffany Edwards, most recently press secretary for Democrats on the House Education and the Workforce Committee, is joining Blue Engine’s strategic communications practice. Her boss on the committee, Rep. George Miller, D-Calif., announced last month he would be retiring after 20 terms. Miller hired her in 2011 from the Energy Department, where she was deputy press secretary.
“Her professionalism, strategic thinking, and experience on and off the Hill will ensure that critical issues important to our practice are communicated effectively and receive the public attention they deserve,” Blue Engine Founder Erik Smith said in a release announcing the hire.
The firm also announced that it had hired TJ Adams-Falconer, who most recently was an intern in the Obama White House. Adams-Falconer also has executive branch experience at the state level all the way across the country in California, where he worked in the communications shop of Golden State Gov. Jerry Brown.
January 30, 2014
Charles Duross, a veteran prosecutor for the Justice Department, is heading to Morrison & Foerster. Duross, who most recently headed up DOJ’s Foreign Corrupt Practices Act unit, will lead “MoFo’s global anti-corruption practice” starting next month, according to the firm’s announcement.
Can we just pause for a moment and be grateful that even in a field that can sometimes be comically dry and self-serious, the firm has no problem referring to itself with an abbreviation typically associated with, ahem, rougher language, or at the very least the song U2 usually walked out to during their PopMart tour back in the 1990s? Thank you, MoFo.
Now back to our regularly scheduled program. Duross has been at Justice for 12 years, and is so steeped in the 1977 FCPA that, according to the firm, the Washington Post once dubbed him “Mr. FCPA.” He was the lead author of a joint DOJ/Securities and Exchange Commission publication “Resource Guide to the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.”
Mr. Smith went to Washington a long time ago — Duross’ story may perhaps one day include a chapter titled, “Mr. FCPA Goes to MoFo.”
Yes, we’re having fun now.
January 28, 2014
Mary Kathryn Steel, known to many as the wife of Speaker John A. Boehner’s spokesman Michael Steel but a professional in her own right, has taken a new position as director of media relations and public affairs for pharmaceutical giant Sanofi.
Sanofi, a Paris-based company with corporate U.S. headquarters in Bridgewater, N.J., makes such blockbuster drugs as Plavix, Allegra and “a host of vaccines including a new Dengue fever vaccine with the Gates Foundation (under Sanofi Pasteur),” Steel relayed in a statement to her professional contacts.
She’ll be going back and forth between the Garden State and D.C. and is “learning about diners, how to drive in the snow” and other things Jersey, according to her statement.
As for the Man of Steel? “Michael remains with Speaker Boehner. I’ll be commuting back and forth for now and occasionally working from Sanofi’s DC office.”