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Murphy Departs

Laura Murphy, longtime legislative director for the American Civil Liberties Union, is leaving her post at the end of April.

Murphy, a former Democratic aide on Capitol Hill, has run the ACLU’s Washington office since 1993, and she had a high-profile role in the legislative battles over the PATRIOT Act and other government security programs enacted in the wake of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. Murphy is the first woman and first black person to hold that position for the ACLU.

Gearing Up for Reform Fight. Americans United to Protect Social Security has hired on Geoff Garin and Jim Margolis as consultants.[IMGCAP(1)]

Garin, a partner in the polling firm Garin-Hart-Yang Research, has established himself as the go-to guy on Social Security. He has conducted a variety of surveys for House and Senate Democrats.

Margolis will be charged with the media strategy for the group. He has a solid base in national campaigns, having handled the media for Sen. John Kerry’s (D-Mass.) presidential campaign in 2003 and early 2004.

AUPSS has set a budget of between $40 million and $50 million to fight President Bush’s plan to reform Social Security. That money will be spent on a combination of grass-roots organizing and a national media campaign.

Promotion at NFIB. Dan Danner, the top lobbyist at the National Federation of Independent Business, has been promoted to executive vice president of public policy and political. Danner will continue as the NFIB’s top advocate on Capitol Hill and will also head the group’s foundations.

“I’m looking forward to being more involved in all of our political decisions,” Danner said.

Firm Bulks Up. The law firm Akerman Senterfitt has added two top Bush-Cheney 2004 campaign aides. Mark Wallace, the campaign’s deputy campaign manager, and Bush-Cheney’s national policy director, Terry Nelson, will focus on government relations in their new jobs.

In addition to joining Akerman Senterfitt, Nelson has founded the public affairs firm Crosslink Strategy Group.

Historical Welcome. It may be freshman orientation, but the whole school is invited.

The U.S. Capitol Historical Society will hold a welcome reception for new Members of the 109th Congress tonight in Statuary Hall. All Members of Congress and CHS guests are invited to the event, which takes place from 6 to 8 p.m. and will be emceed by political humorist Mark Russell.

Russell will be welcoming the people he usually satirizes, but he argued his guests for the evening may be more humorous.

“No, the funniest guys are always on C-SPAN,” Russell said in a statement.

— John Bresnahan, Chris Cillizza, Kate Ackley and Megan King

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