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Into the Fold

The staff of Peyser Associates, a lobby firm that is more than two decades old, is closing up shop and merging into Blank Rome Government Relations as of July 1. [IMGCAP(1)]

Peter Peyser Jr., who opened the operation in 1982, said he is bringing himself and five other lobbyists to the Watergate offices of Blank Rome.

Peyser, who has Pennsylvania roots, said he has known members of the Philadelphia-based law and lobbying firm for many years but within recent months began talks with the firm about potential business.

“That led to conversations about combining,” Peyser said. “The whole thing sort of jelled in late April or early May.”

Peyser Associates’ administrative staff is being let go, but lobbyists Thane Young, Tim Rutten, Caroline Martin, Michele Altemus and Beth Greco are joining.

The newly merged government relations firm will have a projected annual revenue of $12 million.

Peyser said his side of the firm plans to bring along all of its clients.

“Fortunately, we have not had any conflicts,” he said. The firm’s registered clients include the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transit Authority, the city of Seattle and the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

Peyser, who won’t get his name on the door at his new firm, will be a senior principal, but he said he won’t miss Peyser Associates.

“I arrived at this decision because of the limitations in being a company that’s owned by one person and having that person be the centerpiece of the firm’s business efforts. In my new role, I have an opportunity to benefit from the contacts and expertise of the people there.”

Peyser, a Democrat, said his team, while bipartisan, will add more Democrats to Blank Rome’s roster. And he says he’ll benefit from the strong Republican ties already there.

“The main thing for me was finding a place where the culture is built around getting results for the clients,” Peyser said.

Foreign Agents. Van Scoyoc Associates, one of the city’s biggest lobbying firms, has sealed a deal with the Islamic Republic of Pakistan.

According to the lobbying disclosure form filed with the Justice Department, Van Scoyoc Associates will “engage in discussions with the Legislative and Executive Branches of the U.S. Government on issues of interest to the Government of Pakistan.”

The contract, which is also on file at the Justice Department, said the Van Scoyoc consultants will help Pakistan with federal agency matters as well as legislative issues for the rate of $30,000 a month from May through July of this year. At that point, the price will go up to $40,000 a month.

Mark Tavlarides, an associate vice president at Van Scoyoc, said he and fellow lobbyist Lee Rawls are working on the account. Tavlarides worked in the Department of Defense and the National Security Council during the Clinton administration. Rawls is a former chief of staff to Sen. Bill Frist (R-Tenn.) and also recently a top official at the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Pakistan was a longtime client of former Rep. Charlie Wilson (D-Texas), who has since retired and moved back to the Lone Star State.

Tavlarides added that he and his colleagues will focus on appropriations and arms sales issues, as well as “generally building support for a strong U.S.-Pakistani relationship” and informing U.S. policymakers “about Pakistan’s role in the war on terrorism.”

Of course, Wilson is just a phone call away for strategic advice on his former client.

Does CAFTA Have a Prayer? As if CAFTA weren’t in enough trouble, now it’s got a group of pro-life Catholics decrying the trade agreement.Catholics for Faithful Citizenship, a group based in Ohio, is calling for lawmakers to dump the Central American Free Trade Agreement because it is immoral and against a “culture of life.”

Eric McFadden, the group’s president, said CAFTA is counter to the church’s teaching on “life issues” such as workers rights and environmental protection.

The group is holding a press conference call today. It also took out an ad in Roll Call. “CAFTA is unable to increase opportunities for the poor, and that’s a very important issue for us,” McFadden said.

And in another example of odd Washington bedfellows, the liberal-leaning group, Public Citizen, is helping the Catholic group get its message out.

Black Gold. Quinn Gillespie and Associates has registered to lobby for the American Petroleum Institute, according to Senate filings. Naturally enough, the firm will be working on energy issues for Big Oil’s trade association.

K Street Moves. The lobbying firm Colling Murphy is burnishing its telecom credentials with the hire of Philip Maggi, most recently a technology counsel to Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-Maine). Before joining Snowe’s staff, Maggi was a technology policy counsel for Infotech Strategies, where he provided legal and policy analysis to Hewlett-Packard, Dell and Motorola.

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