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Doctors to Run Ads

A group representing nearly a quarter million physicians has launched television advertisements in two states that host key Senate races this fall, hoping to boost candidates who are likely to support legislation to cap medical liability lawsuits.

The group, Doctors for Medical Liability Reform, began advertising in South Carolina and Georgia, marking the second wave of 30-minute — yes, 30-minute — ads in its nationwide “Protect Patients Now” campaign.

Because the liability cap is currently stalled in the Senate, the group is focusing its efforts on the upcoming Senate elections by funding lengthy infomercials on both cable and network television in battleground states.

The organization, which claims roughly 230,000 physicians, was formed earlier this year and immediately began running ads in Washington state and North Carolina — home to two other hotly contested Senate races.

The ads feature interviews with patients and physicians who describe an “access-to-health care crisis” in which they assert that large damage awards can spike insurance premiums and cause some doctors to leave their practice.

In addition to airing the infomercials and print and radio ads, Doctors for Medical Liability Reform has asked all Senate candidates to sign a pledge in support of a cap and will publicize the names of those who refuse.

As Election Day draws closer, the group plans to extend its “Protect Patients Now” campaign with additional infomercials in Illinois, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania and South Dakota — other states with Senate contests that range from highly competitive to moderately competitive.

Trump’s Money. Casinos and resorts aren’t the only investments real estate mogul Donald Trump is making these days.

Reality television’s newest icon, along with the companies he controls, have contributed nearly half a million dollars to state legislators and political parties since 1990, according to data compiled by the Institute on Money in State Politics.

The report found that Trump had personally given $287,000 in political donations. Another $199,000 was contributed on behalf of Trump Hotels & Casino Resorts since 1998.

Though Trump has always been a player in the political money game, most of his campaign checks have been written in the past two election cycles.

Overall, Trump has made donations to both Democrats and Republicans in Florida, Illinois, Maryland, Nevada and Pennsylvania. But the majority of his

giving was made to political entities in New York, where the bulk of Trump’s properties are located.

In New York, the billionaire developer contributed $43,500 to the campaign of Gov. George Pataki (R) and $11,000 to Attorney General Eliot Spitzer (D) in 2002.

Other personal donations included: $500 to Florida Gov. Jeb Bush (R); $5,000 to Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich (D); $27,000 to Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell (D); and $100 to New York state Assemblyman Adam Clayton Powell IV (D).

Democratic candidates received slightly more than half (53 percent) of Trump’s money. About two-thirds of the money Trump funneled to political parties went to those associated with Democrats.

For example, Trump’s largest-ever donation — a $100,000 check — was given by Trump Hotels & Casino Resorts to the Democratic Senate Campaign Committee of New York in 1998.

Trump also is an active contributor to Members of Congress. So far in the 2003-04 election cycle, Trump has given nearly $30,000 of his own money, according to the nonpartisan PoliticalMoneyLine.

Most of his money goes to Republican and Democratic lawmakers in New York and New Jersey, including Rep. Charlie Rangel (D-N.Y.), Frank LoBiondo (R-N.J.) and Vito Fossella (R-N.Y.).

Not one to take risks, the casino owner has carefully hedged his bet on the presidential race. A week after sending a $2,000 contribution to the re-election campaign of President Bush, Trump sent an equal-sized check to Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.).

Greenberg Traurig Adds Another. Lobbying giant Greenberg Traurig has hired Fred Zeidman to be a senior director of government affairs in the firm’s Washington office.

Zeidman was appointed by President Bush to chair the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Council and is chairman of the board and a former chief executive officer of Seitel Inc. He was previously managing partner at WoodRock & Co.

USTA Fills Top Post. Former Bush administration lobbyist William Deere has taken over the government affairs shop for the nation’s local phone industry.

Deere comes to the U.S. Telecom Association from the State Department, where he served as deputy assistant secretary in the legislative affairs office.

Previously, Deere worked on the House Appropriations Committee for then-Rep. Jim Ross Lightfoot (R-Iowa).

Deere succeeds Brad Edwards, who left the trade association earlier this year to launch his own lobbying firm.

Driscoll Tapped for Lobby Post. Jay Driscoll, a former aide to Sen. Max Baucus (D-Mont.), has been named director of government and regulatory affairs for the Western Telecommunications Alliance.

Driscoll began his career as a telecommunications analyst with the Montana Public Service Commission.

He moves to the new lobbying post as Congress prepares a massive rewrite of the 1996 telecommunications law.

Other Moves … Kristin Julason has been promoted to head of the Washington office for Cigna, replacing Art Lifson, who retired in May. … MWW Group has hired Steven Berry, a veteran of the Bush administration, and Robert Turner, a one-time aide to Sen. George Allen (R-Va.). Berry will serve as director of federal affairs and Turner will be his deputy. … Rory Davenport has been hired to run the Washington pubic-affairs office for public-affairs firm Hill & Knowlton. … Emily Ashton has been promoted to senior director of government relations at BMI. … David Wright is stepping down as head of the Washington office for PepsiCo. A search for his replacement is under way.

Also: FieldWorks has hired Marie Therese Dominguez, a former adviser to President Bill Clinton, as a partner. In addition, Chris Gallaway, who was recently elected national president of Young Democrats of America, will join the firm as a vice president working in political technology. In addition, Derron Parks and Katie Fowler are new members of the firm’s associate team. … Liz Weinmann, previously executive vice president for consumer marketing at the public-relations firm Gollin/Harris, is relocating to Dittus Communications, another PR firm, where she will lead the firm’s food, agriculture and nutrition practice.

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