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Volvo Drives into Town

When you think “Volvo,” some variation of this phrase probably pops into your head: boxy European car with little pizzazz but a lot of cache in some circles.

If lobbyist LeeAnn Petersen does her job right, however, power brokers on Capitol Hill will eventually erase that staid stigma from their minds forever.

For the first time in its history, Volvo Group North America has opened a lobbying shop in Washington, according to new documents filed with the offices of the Secretary of the Senate and the Clerk of the House.

The office consists only of Petersen and lobbyist Geoff Merrill, who serves as director of the organization, but they are hoping to make a large impact on major issues before Congress, such as reauthorization of the massive transportation bill.

For now, Petersen has an immediate goal: Convincing people in town that Volvo Group North America is a much more

broad-based company than most folks think. In fact, the company isn’t even involved with Volvo cars anymore.

“One of the goals is to educate people inside the Beltway about the fact that Ford now owns Volvo,” said Petersen, who serves as manager of government relations and public affairs. “They took over in 1999.”

Volvo Group North America is instead focused on the manufacture and sale of heavy trucks, construction equipment, buses (they own a bus company based in Canada), airline components and boat engines.

“It’s not even a lobbying operation,” Petersen says of the new office. “It’s really an information hub for things of interest in Washington that affect our various companies.”

Not surprisingly, one of the biggest pieces of legislation on their radar screen is this year’s reauthorization of the Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century. “We’re looking at TEA-21 to see if there are any pitfalls and any opportunities,” she said.

Here are some more of the recent filings of new clients on K Street, according to documents culled by


In the agriculture arena, lobbyist Trent Thomas has registered R-Calif USA on cattle issues along with trade and marketing matters.

Jamison & Sullivan will lobby for FMC Corp., a specialty chemical company, to address the “Alkali Silica Reactivity” issue in upcoming transportation legislation.

Land Trust Alliance, which promotes voluntary land conservation, registered to lobby on transportation issues. They will also lobby Congress for “tax benefits for land conservation, federal funding for local land conservation, farm conservation programs” and the Forest Legacy Program, according to a new filing.


Bradford Penney has added the University of Massachusetts as a client to lobby on funding for university research programs in green chemistry.


Spiegel & McDiarmid has registered to lobby for EcoFuels, which “produces ethanol from animal waste,” according to a new filing. The firm will be seeking appropriations to “promote animal waste-to-ethanol technology,” according to the documents.

Sheldon Harris has registered to lobby for Midwestern Independent Systems Operator on electrical restructuring.

Giant Industries, which has a petroleum refining and distribution business as well as service station and convenience stores, has registered to lobby on the Clean Air Act.

Finance & Insurance

Van Scoyoc Associates is now lobbying for Citigroup Inc. and the Promotory Interfinancial Network on banking issues before Congress.

Crowell & Moring has signed up Marsh & McLennan Inc., an insurance brokerage and management consulting company, as a client. The firm will assist the company in “dealing with the possible impact of changes in the Commentary to OECD (Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development) Model Treaty” on tax issues.

The Velasquez Group is lobbying for USB Americas Inc. on a proposed Internal Revenue Service regulation “regarding reporting of data on non-resident alien deposit accounts.”

Ryan Phillips Utrecht & MacKinnon is lobbying for Human Capital Resources on “the use of human capital investment contracts for the purposes of financing postsecondary education” and other purposes.

Health Care

Positive Opportunities has registered itself to lobby on “budget protections” for HIV/AIDS.

Lobbyist Larry Papasan has added Smith & Nephew as a client to work on “ortho reimbursement issues” before Congress.

American Defense International has added the Breast Foundation as a client, while the Commonwealth Group will be lobbying for Mobile Medical International Corp.


Loeffler Jonas & Tuggey is lobbying for the law firm Willkie Farr & Gallagher on trade issues affecting semiconductors.

Shaw Pittman is lobbying on behalf of Jet Pets over a proposed rule by the Agriculture Department on “standards for private, permanent horse quarantine facilities.”


O’Neill & Associates is lobbying for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts Executive Office of Transportation & Construction on reauthorization of TEA-21.

Capital Technology Group will be lobbying for KLA-Tencor Corp., a semiconductor inspection equipment company.

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