Another Podesta on K Street?

Posted January 30, 2004 at 5:16pm

Former Clinton White House Chief of Staff John Podesta has registered himself as a Washington lobbyist, joining his brother Tony Podesta on K Street — at least figuratively.

Podesta also has registered his two Democratic think tanks, Progress Through Action and the Center for American Progress, as lobbying organizations.

Why did he do that? According to spokeswoman Laura Nichols, Podesta is not lobbying now — and does not have plans to lobby Congress frequently.

But Podesta wants the ability to lobby Members of Congress when important issues surface on Capitol Hill from time to time, such as on President Bush’s proposal to create new retirement savings accounts.

“We’re not doing any lobbying right now, but we wanted to have the flexibility to do so,” Nichols said.

This is not the first time John Podesta has worked on K Street. For a brief period

after leaving the White House, John hung his hat at his brother’s more traditional lobbying shop, Podesta/Mattoon.

Traficant Aide Makes Good. Paul Marcone, a one-time chief of staff to then-Rep. James Traficant (D-Ohio), has started his own lobbying shop after recently leaving Russ Reid Co.

“I just got to the point in my career where I wanted to be my own boss,” said Marcone, who has four kids and faced a three-hour round-trip commute each day from Chantilly for his old job.

His new firm, Paul Marcone and Associates LLC, is headquartered right in his own basement.

So far, Marcone has signed up a half-dozen clients, including the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund, New York Water Taxi and the Silver Ring Thing Sexual Abstinence Education Program.

Marcone brought several of his clients from his old firm and plans to ink deals with three or four more clients in the next month. “So far it has worked out great,” he said.

Marcone resigned as Traficant’s chief of staff a few months after the FBI began its investigation of the lawmaker, which resulted in his expulsion from Congress.

McManus to Leave Hill. John McManus, a top health care aide to Ways and Means Chairman Bill Thomas (R-Calif.), plans to leave Capitol Hill early next month to start his own consulting firm providing “strategic policy advice” to corporate clients.

Though he spent at least as much time on the Medicare reform bill as Energy and Commerce Chairman Billy Tauzin (R-La.), don’t expect McManus to match the multimillion-dollar salary that Tauzin expects to command on K Street. But he will undoubtedly do just fine.

McManus currently does not have any clients because he is barred from recruiting firms until he leaves his post as staff director on the Ways and Means subcommittee on health.

Pfizer Gets Shot in the Arm. Anne Wilson has left the office of Rep. Anna Eshoo (D-Calif.) to become director of government relations for Pfizer.

Not surprisingly, Wilson worked on health issues for Eshoo.

Bush Vet Heads West. Ogilvy public relations is pumping up its presence in California politics by naming Mindy Tucker, spokeswoman for then-Texas Gov. George W. Bush’s 2000 campaign for the White House, to be a senior vice president in its Sacramento-based public affairs shop.

Tucker also served as spokeswoman for Bush’s 1998 gubernatorial re-election and worked for five years in the office of Rep. Sam Johnson (R-Texas).

New Offices, New Faces. As the Carmen Group settles into its new offices at 1301 K St. NW, the lobbying group has expanded its staff as well.

Bob Schmidt joins Carmen as managing associate in the water and resources and environment practice.

Schmidt, a veteran of the Army Corps of Engineers, served the House Appropriations Committee for 15 years, most recently as the Energy and water development subcommittee’s clerk.

Richard Doubrava, who served as the Transportation Department’s deputy director of Congressional affairs during the Reagan administration, is senior associate in Carmen’s homeland security practice. He was director of security for the Air Transport Association.

Carmen has also brought on Erica Watkins as its general counsel; Maribeth Monti as director of operations; and Rachel Kelly as an international trade junior associate.

From Groceries to Appliances. The Gas Appliance Manufacturers Association is expanding its lobbying presence by creating a new government affairs position.

Austin Primiano will become manager of GAMA’s government affairs practice after serving as state affairs and consumer products policy representative for the Grocery Manufacturers of America.

Collier’s Intellectual Property. The law firm Collier Shannon Scott has brought on Nancy Lutz, formerly of Pennie & Edmonds, to strengthen its intellectual property practice as a partner.

Seth Watkins has also joined the team as a senior associate.