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Leaving the Hill, Part I

Bill Wichterman, most recently a policy adviser to Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn.), has left Capitol Hill to join the lobbying practice at the Washington law firm Covington & Burling.

As part of his duties in Frist’s office, Wichterman, 41, served as a conduit between outside interest groups and the Majority Leader’s office. He worked with business lobbying groups such as the National Federation of Independent Business, U.S. Chamber of Commerce and National Association of Manufacturers, as well as with such socially conservative groups as Focus on the Family.

[IMGCAP(1)]In addition, he handled judicial nominations, bioethics and stem-cell research, as well as abortion matters, which led him to joke in an interview, “I had all the noncontroversial issues.”

Wichterman said that Martin Gold, who served as legislative counsel in Majority Leader Frist’s office and who now co-chairs Covington’s legislative practice, helped bring him to the firm.

Wichterman spent the past 18 years on Capitol Hill, not counting time off for graduate work and a stint with the 1992 U.S. Senate campaign of Maryland Republican Alan Keyes. “The last time I worked in the for-profit sector, I was waiting tables,” he said.

Gold said Wichterman’s addition to the firm will help expand the legislative practice, which “is a matter of growing importance inside the whole firm.”

For years, Covington was more reluctant than some of its law firm rivals to get heavily involved in lobbying. But in recent years, that has changed. Last year, according to the lobbying publication Influence, Covington’s lobbying practice netted $23.4 million.

Leaving the Hill, Part II. Capitol Hill veteran Jason McKitrick is leaving to become a government relations adviser with the law firm King & Spalding.

Since 1998, McKitrick has worked for the House Budget Committee as a professional staff member. He served as the lead member of the Budget Committee staff on health policy and Social Security.

From 1995 to 1998, McKitrick worked as legislative aide to then-House Budget Chairman John Kasich (R-Ohio), specializing in health policy as well as Social Security, defense, transportation, education, housing, welfare, veterans’ affairs and small business.

Escalator Fire. The Capitol South Metro station was briefly closed Monday afternoon after an escalator unit caught fire.

The fire was put out within minutes, and no injuries were reported, said Metro spokesman Steven Taub.

The cause of the fire remains under investigation.

The station was closed for seven minutes, from 2:32 p.m. to 2:39 p.m., Taub said.

— Kate Ackley, Louis Jacobson and Elizabeth Brotherton

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