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Berry Set to Leave DeLay for Time Warner

Tim Berry, chief of staff to House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, is leaving the Texas Republican’s office to become a top lobbyist for media giant Time Warner.

Berry, 37, will depart DeLay’s office in early October. Brett Loper, DeLay’s deputy chief of staff for floor operations, will take over as the Texas Republican’s top aide.

Berry, who became DeLay’s chief of staff in August 2002, oversaw a turbulent period in the Majority Leader’s political career as DeLay faced repeated allegations of ethics violations, particularly about his relationship with former GOP lobbyist Jack Abramoff, who recently was indicted in Florida on federal fraud charges. The House ethics committee is expected to begin a probe of several overseas trips that DeLay took with Abramoff in the next several months.

In a statement released by his office, DeLay praised Berry for his long service on his staff.

“Tim Berry is widely regarded as a complete professional,” DeLay said. “His dedication, integrity, work ethic and vast experience have served me well during his 10 years of working with me in the House of Representatives. While Tim’s leadership in the Office of the Majority Leader will be missed, I wish him and his family the warmest congratulations and future success in his new professional endeavor.”

Berry will become vice president of global public policy in Time Warner’s Washington office. He will report to Carol Melton, a former Federal Communications Commission official and Viacom executive.

Berry will lobby Congress and the Bush administration, as well as help the company interact with federal regulators on a number of policy issues. Chief among those will be the the debate over a new telecommunications bill. Time Warner is the parent company of Time Inc., Time Warner Cable, CNN, HBO, New Line Cinema, Turner Broadcasting System and Warner Bros.

“It has been an honor and privilege to work for Tom DeLay for the last 10 years,” Berry said. “[DeLay] and [his wife] Christine presented me with the opportunity of a lifetime and I will always be grateful to them.”

Berry said he had no intention of leaving DeLay’s office, but Time Warner officials approached him recently with an offer he couldn’t turn down. “Time Warner is an incredible company and I simply could not pass up the opportunity to join their team. It was the right job at the right time for both me and family,” Berry said.

Berry first came to Capitol Hill in 1993, joining the staff of then-Rep. Jack Quinn (R-N.Y.) as a legislative assistant. He went to work for DeLay in 1995 as a legislative assistant in the Texas Republican’s personal office.

From 1996 to 1998, Berry served as a floor assistant in DeLay’s vaunted Whip operation, and he was appointed chief floor assistant in 1999. Berry had extensive contacts with Members during that period, and earned kudos from both sides of the aisle for his legislative acumen.

In August 2002, Berry moved up to chief of staff for the then-Majority Whip, and has been a part of the inner circle of House GOP leadership aides that includes such power players as Loper; Dan Flynn, another senior DeLay aide; Scott Palmer, chief of staff for Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.); Mike Stokke, Hastert’s political director; and Brian Gaston, chief of staff to Majority Whip Roy Blunt (R-Mo.).

Berry is married to Lisa Barcley, a Washington lawyer with the firm Zuckerman Spaeder. The couple has two children, Ella and Christopher.

Berry, a native of Silver Spring, Md., graduated from Middlebury College in 1991 with a bachelor’s degree in history.