Jim Datri, executive director of the House Democratic Caucus and a longtime aide to Rep. Bob Menendez (N.J.), is leaving Capitol Hill to join the D.C. law and consulting firm Manatt, Phelps and Phillips.
Datri begins his job Feb. 22 as an attorney, consultant and lobbyist for Manatt, named in part for its founder, former Democratic National Committee Chairman Charles Manatt. The firm specializes in representing members of the entertainment industry, including the Rolling Stones, Bruce Springsteen and Michael Douglas.
Caucus Chairman Menendez, for whom Datri has worked since 1997, has yet to name a replacement. He said Datri’s “intellect and strategic thinking will be sorely missed within the House Democratic Caucus.”
“He has been an invaluable asset to all Democratic Members, especially in the leadership and my personal office,” Menendez said. “I will miss him and know that he will be successful in his new endeavors.”
Datri, a Harvard Law School graduate, becomes the first high-profile Democratic staffer to exit the Hill since the start of the 109th Congress. The House Republican Conference, meanwhile, has seen departures from several heavy hitters including top aides to Speaker Dennis Hastert (Ill.) and Majority Leader Tom DeLay (Texas).
Datri has worked in various capacities for Menendez, beginning as his legislative director in his personal office. Prior to that, he worked for Reps. Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.) and Sander Levin (D-Mich.).
“After more than seven great years with Congressman Menendez, and almost a dozen on Capitol Hill, it was simply the right time to be open to new opportunities,” Datri said.