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A Fork in the Road

Eight years after leaving the American Trucking Association to head its sometimes-rival, the Motor Freight Carriers Association, Timothy Lynch is back.

His return to the ATA comes as the motor freight group reorganizes in the wake of recent mergers that left it with only two member companies. [IMGCAP(1)]

With the MFCA turning away from lobbying activities, Lynch said his move back to the larger trucking lobby was natural.

“It’s sort of where my heart is,” said Lynch, who will serve as the ATA’s senior vice president of federal relations and strategic planning.

The MFCA, which was formed to represent large, unionized trucking companies, will now focus on labor relations and contract negotiations, Lynch said. The two remaining member companies, Yellow Roadway Corp. and ABF Freight, will now handle their lobbying individually and through their membership in the ATA.

ALL Shook Up. In response to a recent Roll Call story about Democratic Senators calling for tighter restrictions on government workers-turned-lobbyists, the American League of Lobbyists issued a statement calling for truce.

Paul Miller, president of the lobbyists’ lobby, called on Members on both sides of the aisle to “stop their continued attacks on lobbyists in an effort to score political points.”

The Senators’ proposals included restricting former staffers from lobbying their one-time colleagues for longer than the current one-year ban and revoking the floor passes of former Senators who become lobbyists.

“Recent news stories regarding alleged practices by Jack Abramoff and others have cast an unfair shadow on the entire lobbying profession,” Miller said in the statement. “The overwhelming majority of lobbyists exercise their First Amendment right to petition the government in a totally ethical manner and view adherence to current disclosure requirements as a critically important element of their responsibilities.”

Opposites Attract. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the American Civil Liberties Union are rarely on the same side of an issue. And the Chamber, known for its keen advocacy of tort reform, isn’t often a champion for lawyers.

But the two groups got together for a press event on Friday to bolster a key tenet of the American justice system: attorney-client privilege. Other groups participating were the American Bar

Association, the Association of Corporate Counsel and the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers.

In a statement, the groups called on lawmakers to clarify provisions in the federal sentencing guidelines that encourage corporations and other organizations to waive their attorney-client privilege in order for leniency in federal criminal cases.

“The privilege is at the heart of a defendant’s right to effective counsel and is a cornerstone of basic due process,” said Chamber President and CEO Thomas Donohue.

Hark! Three veteran Washington, D.C., strategists have joined forces to launch the Herald Group, a new consulting firm that will focus on communications and consulting.

The group was founded by Matt Well, formerly director of public affairs for the Securities and Exchange Commission; Taylor Gross, a spokesman for President Bush; and Doug McGinn, an assistant vice president at Dittus Communications.

“It’s critical to be able to integrate a number of tactics into a comprehensive campaign-style strategy,” Well said. For the Herald Group, those tactics will include strategic planning, crisis communications, coalition development, media relations and grass-roots work — but not lobbying.

Though the firm only launched officially late last month, Well said he and his colleagues have already signed up a handful of clients in financial services, legal reform and energy and are currently looking to add bodies to their staff.

K Street M&A. Buchanan Ingersoll, a Pennsylvania-based law firm that has made a big push into the lobbying arena over the past year, has acquired Hill Solutions, a small, defense-focused firm.

Hill Solutions’ eight employees include founding partners Jack Thomas Tomarchio, a former Army lawyer, and Eric Weinberg, a former Defense Intelligence Agency official. Both will serve as co-chairmen of Buchanan Ingersoll’s national-security practice. Hill Solutions, which has offices in D.C., Philadelphia and Harrisburg, represents such clients as Disney, Shire Pharmaceuticals and the Philadelphia Orchestra.

“They’re heavy into a lot of national security issues, homeland security and defense matters,” said Ron Platt, who chairs Buchanan Ingersoll’s lobbying practice.

The two firms had been in negotiations off and on for more than a year, but Platt said talks became serious within recent months. “After several meetings, we knew these are our kind of people.”

Since Platt joined the firm to head the government practice just over a year ago, it has added seven lobbyists, including former House Majority Whip William Gray III (D-Pa.).

“Next year, we plan to add another four or five people,” Platt said. “I think the real growth is not necessarily in the issue-specific areas, but people who have the kind of contacts on the Hill, access on the Hill and trust from staff and Members.” That said, Platt added the firm’s appropriations clients have grown and he is likely to look for staff in that area.

Going West. The law and lobbying firm Greenberg Traurig has combined with a lobbying/law firm in Sacramento, the Livingston & Mattesich Law Corporation.

“Livingston & Mattesich is precisely the firm Greenberg Traurig was looking for to expand our National Governmental Affairs practice to Sacramento,” Fred Baggett, chairman of the firm’s governmental affairs practice group, said in a statement.

K Street Moves. The Financial Services Roundtable is adding a Democrat to its in-house lobbying team. Paul Begey joins the financial services trade association from the National Association of Telecommunications Officers and Advisors. Begey has worked for Rep. Albert Wynn (D-Md.). …

Marlene Colucci has been named executive vice president for public policy at the American Hotel and Lodging Association. She had been a special assistant to President Bush in the White House’s domestic policy office. …

Alanna Miller, a one-time legislative assistant to Rep. John Boehner (R-Ohio), has joined Venn Strategies as an assistant vice president. While working for Boehner, who chairs the House Education and the Workforce Committee, Miller worked on such issues as the No Child Left Behind Act. Most recently, though, she served as government-relations analyst for the MedCath Corp. At Venn, she will work with a number of health care clients including Amerinet, the American Orthotics and Prosthetics Association and the University of Wisconsin Medical Foundation. …

Brad Bennett is leaving the public-relations and grass-roots firm Direct Impact, where he was vice president of media relations, to join Hill & Knowlton. Bennett will work in the firm’s public-affairs practice, drawing on Hill experience he gained working for Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-Texas) and Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Texas). …

The Business Roundtable, the lobby group for big corporate CEOs, has snapped up Maria Ghazal to lead its health and retirement task force. Ghazal comes to the group from the American Benefits Council, where she lobbied Congress on health policy for eight years. She previously served as director of government relations for Verizon. …

Tom Foulkes is moving up the food chain at the National Restaurant Association. Formerly director of state relations for the group, Foulkes will continue state-level work in his new role as a vice president, with an added focus on the association’s grass-roots activities.