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Frist Adds Ex-Baker Aide as Top Floor Staffer

As he scrambles to fill the holes in his staff, new Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn.) has hired an old Congressional hand to run his floor operations, according to Senate GOP sources.

Martin Gold, an aide to then-Senate Majority Leader Howard Baker (R-Tenn.) and then-Sen. Mark Hatfield (R-Ore.), has been tapped by Frist to oversee the Senate floor.

Gold has most recently been serving as the longtime lobbyist for the National Football League and other clients. He played a key role in helping the Nuclear Energy Institute win last year’s Senate fight over the Yucca Mountain waste repository in Nevada. His own lobbying shop was merged into the much larger firm Covington & Burling late last year.

Gold has remained active over the years in advising Senate Republicans on floor strategy, and former Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott (R-Miss.) unsuccessfully tried to recruit him to serve as Senate Parliamentarian back in 2001.

Frist appears to be turning to former Baker staffers for help since being thrust into the Majority Leader role following Lott’s ouster. Howard Liebengood, who served as Baker’s Sergeant-at-Arms, has been appointed chief of staff in Frist’s personal office.

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