Amgen Hires New Head

Posted January 23, 2004 at 5:00pm

Just months after the Republican-controlled Congress rewarded pharmaceutical companies with a sweeping Medicare reform bill that grants many of the industry’s wishes, Amgen has decided to replace its top Washington lobbyist — with a Democrat.

David Beier, a domestic policy adviser to then-Vice President Al Gore, took over the post earlier this year after Republican Pete Teeley stepped down.

The move turned a few heads in Republican circles.

But Beier is a respected industry insider: He ran the Washington office for Genentech for most of the 1990s.

Lobbyists Hit Campaign Trail. Every Democratic candidate for president has railed against corporate lobbyists in the Washington establishment. But only one candidate has put his money — or lack of it — where his mouth is.

Sen. John Edwards (D-N.C.) does not accept campaign cash from lobbyists and

has done little to woo the K Street crowd.

As president, he would ban campaign contributions from lobbyists and impose a five-year ban on administration officials from lobbying in Washington. Not surprisingly, Edwards has scant support on K Street.

In fact, few — if any — lobbyists headed to New Hampshire over the weekend to campaign for Edwards in advance of Tuesday’s crucial primary.

In contrast, each of the other major presidential candidates has recruited lobbyists to knock on doors, man phone banks and organize campaign events in New Hampshire.

Chief among them is Edwards’ main rival, Sen. John Kerry (Mass.), the Democrats’ newfound frontrunner after his stunning performance in last week’s Iowa caucuses.

Kerry, who also supports the five-year lobbying ban, is getting help from dozens of Washington lobbyists and lawyers who landed in New Hampshire over the weekend.

“At this stage, it’s a get-out-the-vote effort,” said David Leiter, a former Kerry chief of staff who is now a lobbyist with ML Strategies.

For the past few months, a group of pro-Kerry allies on Capitol Hill and K Street has held weekly conference calls to map out strategy. More recently, participants in the session have been given a list of names and numbers of undecided New Hampshire voters to call.

“People are taking names to call and calling from D.C.,” Leiter said.

Meanwhile, environmental lobbyists have made the trip to New Hampshire to knock on doors and spread the word about Kerry’s pro-environmental record

“This isn’t a group of lobbyists going up to do fundraisers,” Roger Ballentine, an environmental lobbyist and the co-chairman of Kerry’s energy and environment policy team, said last week. “We are going up because we support John Kerry.”

Gejdenson Elected to New Post. Former Rep. Sam Gejdenson (D-Conn.) has been elected to the board of directors for Fort Lee, N.J.-based Phibro Animal Health.

The corporation specializes in animal health and nutrition products, particularly medicated feed additives.

Bobek Heads to Blank Rome. Kelly Rote Bobek, formerly director of federal government relations at the National Marine Manufacturers Association has joined Blank Rome Government Relations.

Bobek is a one-time manager of Congressional and political affairs for the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants.

Greenberg Traurig Continues Expansion. The international law firm Greenberg Traurig has added six new lobbyists, litigators and trade consultants.

Irwin Altschuler, a one-time U.S. Customs Service and Treasury Department staffer, represents a number of Mexican companies and government agencies.

David Amerine, who specializes in Mexico and East Asia, will focus on exporters from numerous countries involved in antidumping and countervailing duty investigations at the International Trade Commission and the Commerce Department.

Arturo Jessel comes to the firm from the Embassy of Mexico, where he was senior trade consultant.

Steve Mulder, a former GOP staffer on the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee, has expertise in trade, taxes, homeland security, banking, international relations and transportation.

Jeffrey Neeley will concentrate on international trade regulation, including issues related to antidumping and countervailing duty cases, export controls, foreign corrupt practices and the World Trade Organization. Donald Stein will practice on customs law and trade policy.

Davis Aide Lands Post-Recall Position. The former director of the D.C. office of ousted California Gov. Gray Davis (D) has landed at the Copeland Lowery Jacquez Denton & Shockey government relations firm.

Paul Cunningham served as Davis’ liaison to Congress and the White House and has held numerous positions on Capitol Hill, including stints as the late Rep. Julian Dixon’s (D-Calif.) legislative director and Rules Committee associate for then-Rep. Shirley Chisholm (D-N.Y.).