By Anna Palmer and Dave Levinthal
SNOWE’S K STREET CONNECTIONS: Maine Sen. Olympia Snowe‘s shocking decision to retire is being felt on K Street. Jane Calderwood, who spent more than 20 years on Snowe’s staff, including as chief of staff, told PI that she was ‘as surprised as everybody else.’ Calderwood, now at the Airports Council International – North America, was on travel when the announcement was made and said her BlackBerry started to blowup, getting more than 30 emails in 10 minutes.
Calderwood is one of many K Streeters to have worked for Republican Snowe. Others include Tom Geier, her former legislative director, of 3M; Wes Coulam, who did finance work and ran the small business committee, at Washington Council Ernst & Young; and Lindsey Ledwin of Peck, Madigan, Jones & Stewart. Drew Minkiewicz of Kelley Drye and Don Meyer ofRubin Meyer Communications also worked for Snowe.
WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN? K Streeters are gaming out the ramifications of Snowe’s departure on key committees – the commerce and finance panels. While she wasn’t huge in the so-called political game, never starting a leadership PAC, she was in line to become the ranking member of the Commerce Committee and was a senior member of finance. Her departure will catapult more junior conservative members like South Carolina Sen. Jim DeMint, who is in line to be the most senior Republican on commerce. One PI tipster predicted there was a ‘big sea change’ about to occur on commerce.
FUN FACT FOR HH: Snowe isn’t the first Maine senator to make a late decision to retire. Republican William Cohen announced in February of the election year 1996 that he wouldn’t seek another term. And, Democrat George Mitchell also made a late-breaking decision in the first week of March 1994.
NRSC’S ARTICLE ONE DINNER: The National Republican Senatorial Committee pulled out the stops at Acadiana for its ‘Article One’ personal money program for those that contribute $5,000 Tuesday evening. Sens. Jon Kyl of Arizona, John Thune of South Dakorta, Chuck Grassley of Iowa, Jim Inhofe of Oklahomaand Mike Enzi of Wyoming were among the lawmakers in attendance. K Streeters at the event included: Kirk Blalock ofFierce, Isakowitz & Blalock; Missy Edwards of Missy Edwards Strategies ; Linda Tarplin of Tarplin, Downs & Young; Stu Van Scoyoc of Van Scoyoc Associates; and Steve Hart of Williams & Jensen. Larry Harlow of Harlow Government Relations;Stewart Verdery of Monument Policy Group; Elena Tompkinsof Ogilvy Government Relations; Patricia Knight of Knight Capitol Consultants and Camp Kaufman of Cornerstone Government Affairs, were also spotted.
HAPPY LEAP DAY! A very wet one, indeed. Good luck keeping dry as you shoot us hot tips, juicy gossip and all the rest to[email protected] and [email protected]. Follow us on Twitter at @davelevinthal and @apalmerdc.
Now, back to what’s cooking in the latest K Street news.
HOCKEY WEEK ON THE HILL – SORT OF: The Hill is abuzz this week with all things sticks and pucks, complete with a visit by the Stanley Cup today and an annual Congressional Hockey Challenge charity game this weekend. (Our own Scott Wong has details in POLITICO Huddle: http://politi.co/ynUkEq) Enjoy the ice time while you can, however, as the National Hockey Leaguehas been a healthy scratch from the tumble and tumult of federal government action during the past year.
To wit: The league spent below the $20,000 reporting threshold for lobbying activity in 2011 – the first year since 2002 that it’s done so, federal records indicate – and retained just one lobbyist, Philip Hochberg. Typically, the NHL spends $40,000 to $60,000 annually on federal lobbying and, in 2005, launched a $220,000 power play. In the past few years, satellite television regulations, immigration and performance enhancing drugs have been the main issues the league has sought to influence. In contrast, the Pittsburgh Penguins hockey club rung up $160,000 in lobbying fees in 2009 and 2010 as it fought to secure federal transportation funding to aid with the build-out of its new arena, the Consol Energy Center.
But hockey overall remains a minor-league player when it comes to sports influence in D.C.: The National Football League, for example, spent a record $1.62 million on lobbying in 2011 in addition to making dozens of political contributions this cycle through its political action committee. The Major League Baseball Commissioner’s Office dropped $520,000 on federal lobbying last year, while the National Basketball Association spent $85,000, congressional records indicate.
ALL IN THE FINANCIAL FAMILY: Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) is tonight getting financial help from a prominent friend in the financial lobbying industry – the lobbying firm Clark Lytle Geduldig & Cranford. The firm fought against interchange fee provisions for clients such as Visa, MasterCard and the Financial Services Roundtable, is slated to be there at a $500 per ticket fundraiser for Corker at Fiola, 601 Pennsylvania Ave., according to an invitation. Corker, for his part, was a leading congressional advocate against interchange fees. Firm partner Sam Geduldig is slated to attend the fundraiser. His wife, Courtney Geduldig, is a former chief financial counsel for Corker and now works as managing director, head of federal government relations and chief counsel for the Financial Services Forum.
WHO ‘OWNS’ YOUR MEMBER OF CONGRESS?Nonpartisan research organization MapLight is out today with a tool allowing users to track which corporate powerhouses are the most prominent campaign donors to specific state congressional delegations. Find it here: http://bit.ly/x6ZCAA
LIBERAL FOX CABAL: Lefty downtowners turned out for a book release party Tuesday evening at Media Matters Washington office for ‘The Fox Effect: How Roger Ailes Turned a Network Into A Propaganda Machine’ by David Brock and Ari Rabin-Havt. Former Ambassador Elizabeth Bagley; Mary Pat Bonner of theBonner Group; Democratic strategist Eric Burns; David Jones ofCapitol Counsel; Susan McCue of Message Global; Rodell Mollineau of American Bridges; Heather Podesta of Heather Podesta + Partners and Tony Podesta of the Podesta Group were among the host committee members. About 300 people were at the event, including Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), Sen. Bob Casey (D-Pa.) and John Podesta. Other K Streeters spotted included Tom Quinn of Venable and his brother Paul Quinn of Nossaman; fundraiser Doug Jaraczewski; Mark Walsh, former CEO of Air America; Brian Fredrick, executive director of the Sports Fans Coalition; among others.
BJORNSTAD BECOMES W2A PARTNER: Fresh off the expiration of his one-year lobbying ban, Jeff Bjornstad has been promoted to partner at Washington2 Advocates. The former chief of staff to Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) leads the firm’s federal affairs and communications efforts in Washington, D.C.
GAS INDUSTRY FUELING UP: The American Gas Association today named veteran Hill staffer George Lowe its vice president of federal affairs. “As our national political leaders examine the changing energy landscape, George will help lead our advocacy work to keep them informed about the benefits of clean natural gas for our nation,” said AGA President and Chief Executive Officer Dave McCurdy. Lowe most recently ran his own consulting firm, Lowe Strategies LLC, and previously worked as chief of staff to the late Sen. Ted Stevens (R-Alaska) and Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska). The association recorded its most prolific federal lobbying year in 2009, spending $1.16 million, federal records show. It spent $840,000 in 2011.
DODD LEADS BIG DAY AHEAD AT FEC: The FEC has a packed agenda (http://1.usa.gov/yCxUsR) for its Thursday meeting, including an audit report for Chris Dodd‘s 2008 presidential campaign committee and three campaign finance advisory requests, our own Robin Bravender notes.
The panel will discuss the latest audit report for Dodd’s 2008 campaign – a review that’s undertaken for every presidential candidate who receives public funds for the primary season. Among other findings, the draft says the campaign received a prohibited contribution of $15,423 from the International Association of Fire Fighters and excessive contributions of $44,300 from other political committees. Dodd, a former Democratic senator from Connecticut, is now chairman and chief executive of the Motion Picture Association of America. Click here for more details:http://1.usa.gov/y1emOC
The panel may also vote on three advisory opinion requests: theJustice Party of Mississippi is asking for federal recognition as a state-level political party; the nonconnected political committeeActRight is asking whether it can bundle unlimited contributions through its website for outside groups that make political ads; and the Arizona-based nonprofit Stop This Insanity is asking to set up an account that can collect unlimited cash to fund independent political ads.
AFTER PROTRACTED FIGHT, CITY HIRES LOBBYING FIRM: The city of DeKalb, Ill., which has engaged in a months-long fight over whether to hire professional lobbyists, agreed Tuesday night to hire mCapitol Management to lobby the federal government on infrastructure projects, the Daily Chronicle in DeKalb reports: http://bit.ly/AFcqBN; Contract value: $72,000.
BOEHNER COMMITTEE AMENDS CAMPAIGN REPORT:House Speaker John Boehner‘s Boehner for Speaker committee, having been flagged by FEC officials for what they suspected were excessive contributions, has amended its October quarterly report to fix what it describes as a “duplicate record” and separate confusion involving two donors with the same name. Full explanation from committee treasurer Lisa Lisker here: http://bit.ly/ykuWPe
WILL BILL MAHER’S $1 MILLION SUPER PAC DONATION HURT OBAMA? That’s the question being debated in the POLITICO Arena, with Citizens United President David Bossie, former Republican National Committee ChairmanMichael Steele and former Planned Parenthood CEO Gloria Feldt among those weighing in. Join the conversation here:http://politi.co/Ask0IY
DAILY FUNNY: Syndicated editorial cartoonist Glenn McCoychides President Barack Obama for one source of his campaign contributions: http://bit.ly/x7HDAB
AUDIO … PI ON THE AIRWAVES: Dave joins Scott Braddockof WROI-FM 92.1 in Houston to explain whether more Texans are contributing to a super PAC supporting Mitt Romney or a super PAC run by comedian Stephen Colbert: http://bit.ly/wiB5hx. And this morning, Dave joined John Zach and Susan Rose on WBEN-AM 930 in Buffalo to recap Tuesday night’s presidential primaries:http://bit.ly/AewGcm
NEW POLITICAL ACTION COMMITTEE FILINGS:
SSAB Americas PAC of Lisle, Ill. – Treasurer: Patricia Snyder
Koreans for a Better Future of Walnut Creek, Calif. – Treasurer:Yongsu Edward Kim
American Promise PAC of New York City – Treasurer: Gerard Tobin Owen Drumm (super PAC)
Just Drink the Koolaid of Louisa, Va. – Treasurer: James E. Moyer (super PAC)
Citizens Against the Peripheral Canal and Other Wasteful Projects of San Francisco – Treasurer: James Sutton (super PAC)
Twelve is Enough Super PAC of Los Angeles – Treasurer: Ian Clark (super PAC)
Americans for Growth, Opportunity and Progress of Louisville, Ky. – Treasurer: Michael G. Adams (super PAC)
NEW REGISTRATIONS: (Firm: Client)
KSCW: Superfruit Nutrition LLC (dba ‘That’s It Fruit’)
KSCW: TI Industry Corporation
KSCW: U.S. Tamil Political Action Council (USTPAC)
Sullivan & Cromwell: Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group
The Duberstein Group Inc.: Griffon Corporation
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