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Wine With That?

Robert Koch, a Democratic lobbyist and President Bush’s brother-in-law, is being elevated to the head of the Wine Institute, the trade group announced last week.

Koch has been a senior lobbyist for the group of California-based wineries for a decade. He spent the previous nine years on Capitol Hill in the leadership office of Rep. Richard Gephardt (D-Mo.) and then-Minority Whip Tony Coelho (D-Calif.).

Koch (pronounced “Cook”) hails from a politically connected family. He is married to Doro Bush Koch, the president’s sister.

Koch’s father, George, was a longtime lobbyist for the Grocery Manufacturers Association. His brother, P.C., has his own lobbying shop.

John De Luca, the outgoing president of the Wine Institute, will become executive vice chairman of the association. De Luca served as president for nearly three decades.

EIA Goes GOP. The Electronic Industries Alliance has tapped Doug Wiley to fill one of the two vacancies created by the recent departure of a duo of Republican lobbyists.

Wiley has a long history in telecommunications policy. He worked on tech issues for former House Commerce Chairman Tom Bliley (R-Va.) and recently worked for Alcatel.

Tech policy is a family business for Wiley. His father is Richard Wiley, who served as chairman of the Federal Communications Commission before founding the prestigious law firm Wiley, Rein & Fielding.

EIA and its president, former Rep. David McCurdy (D-Okla.), hired Wiley to replace Brian Kelly, who moved to Comcast Corp. EIA plans to lure a White House aide to fill the remaining opening in its office.

Lowell Switches Firms. Abbe Lowell, one of D.C.’s most well-known criminal and civil litigators, has left Manatt, Phelps & Phillips to join Chadbourne & Parke.

A press release on the move also touted Lowell’s government relations experience.

Lowell is perhaps best known for advising House Democrats during the Clinton impeachment proceedings. He later took on the challenging assignment of representing then-Rep. Gary Condit (D-Calif.) through the fallout of the investigation of the disappearance of Washington intern Chandra Levy, who was later found dead in Rock Creek Park.

Microsoft’s New Lobbyist. Software giant Microsoft has hired a well-connected White House aide to replace Kerry Knott, the former top Hill GOP staffer who jumped to Comcast Corp. earlier this year.

R. Edward Ingle, who has served as a deputy assistant to President Bush and deputy Cabinet secretary since 2001, will join the Redmond, Wash., company as senior director of legislative affairs.

“Ed will play an integral role in our government affairs program in Washington,” said Jack Krumholz, Microsoft’s managing director of federal affairs.

Ingle began working at the White House in 2001 after 12 years with the Wexler Group. In addition, he worked for the Office of Management and Budget in the Reagan administration.

Arent Fox Adds Three. The D.C. office of Arent Fox Kitner Plotkin & Kahn has added a trio to its public affairs practice.

Benjamin Peltier will serve as the firm’s government relations director. He has experience from the Justice Department, where he was a law clerk in the fraud and public corruption section.

Amy Demske represented a number of health care providers at the Carmen Group and Broydrick & Associates before joining Arent Fox, where she will work in the health care policy practice.

Rhonda Barton, who comes to Arent Fox from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, will be an associate in the firm’s patent practice.

CapNet Bolsters Policy Practice. CapNet, the Greater Washington Board of Trade-affiliated regional technology organization, has named Christopher Long of Washington Resources Associates as chairman of its policy committee. Long will work with CapNet’s member companies on issues related to technology.

Briggs Moves to Anderson Pitts. Bill Briggs, a legislative assistant at the American Council of Life Insurers, has become the director of legislative affairs at the Anderson Pitts public relations group.

John Bresnahan contributed to this report.

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