K Street Files: Ponying Up for Coleman

Posted January 27, 2009 at 6:02pm

Democrat Al Franken may so far have bested former Republican Sen. Norm Coleman by 225 votes.

[IMGCAP(1)]But the power of incumbency is strong, and as a three-judge panel in Minnesota kicks off the trial that will decide the fate of the Minnesota Senate seat, there is no doubt K Street is on Coleman’s side.

LD-203 forms filed this week — a requirement of the Honest Leadership and Open Government Act of 2007 — show that Coleman had more than 50 lobbyists and political action committees contributing nearly $100,000 to his recount effort.

The forms, which must be filed by lobbyists and lobbying organizations by Jan. 30, list ties to political action committees, federal campaign contributions over $200 and expenditures for events that honor officials covered by the law.

Several of the companies backing Coleman’s efforts have roots in the Land of 10,000 Lakes, including Northwest Airlines, CropLife America and the U.S. Beet Sugar Association.

Coleman, the former ranking member of the Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry Committee, has some notable inside-the-Beltway backers as well, including Jade West of the National Association of Wholesaler-Distributors, Ken Duberstein of the Duberstein Group, and former Rep. Bob Walker (R-Pa.) of Wexler & Walker Public Policy Associates.

Franken, meanwhile, had only seven lobbyists contributing to his cause for $22,550, most of which came from unions, including the International Brotherhood of Boilermakers, the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers and the United Steelworkers of America.

Better Watch Out. The anti-tax crusaders Club for Growth is warning Members that the group won’t forget if they vote “aye” for the $825 billion stimulus bill expected to go to a vote on Wednesday.

“It is critical that Republicans and Democrats in Washington understand how serious we are taking the stimulus bill,” Club for Growth President Pat Toomey said in a statement. “Congress needs to remember that this money comes straight out of the pockets of American taxpayers and will do little to actually stimulate the economy.”

The group announced on Tuesday that failing to vote “nay” will preclude lawmakers from receiving the club’s 2009 Defender of Economic Freedom award.

In its most recent scorecard in 2007, the group bestowed that title on nearly 50 lawmakers, including House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio), who is expected to vote against H.R. 1.

“No Congressman can vote for the stimulus bill and claim to be a defender of economic freedom,” Toomey said.

The Club for Growth, whose membership finances primary challenges against GOPers it deems fiscally unfit for office, has helped unseat two Republican lawmakers in recent years: ex-Reps. Wayne Gilchrest (Md.) and Joe Schwarz (Mich.). Both seats are now held by Democrats.

Meanwhile, organized labor also has been turning the screws on lawmakers this week — but to vote “aye” during Wednesday’s vote.

On Tuesday, Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Chairman Chris Van Hollen (Md.) was expected to meet on the Hill with Service Employees International Union Treasurer Anna Burger and AFL-CIO President John Sweeney to discuss the vote.

A New Mellody. Longtime OBC Group lobbyist Charles Mellody is leaving to open an as-yet-unnamed firm. Mellody, who worked as an aide to then-House Ways and Means Chairman Dan Rostenkowski (D-Ill.) for a decade, has been with the firm since 1993.

“I just wanted to do something different,” said Mellody, who lobbies on behalf of Honeywell and Anheuser-Busch, among others. “I’ve been working for people my whole life.”

K Street Moves. The National Association of Mutual Insurance Companies moved to broaden its Democratic profile, hiring Kathy Mitchell and Dylan Jones as lobbyists.

Mitchell, a former aide to then-Rep. Tim Mahoney (D-Fla.) and Rep. Dan Boren (D-Okla.), will be the lead lobbyist on natural disasters for the trade group. Jones, who has worked for Reps. Paul Kanjorski (D-Pa.) and Shelley Berkley (D-Nev.), will focus on issues such as credit-based insurance scoring.

• The Managed Funds Association is beefing up its Washington office, hiring David Landers and Louis Costantino Jr. as vice presidents. Landers, an aide to former Sen. Lauch Faircloth (R-N.C.), most recently worked as director for external affairs and public policy in Credit Suisse’s Washington office. Costantino joins MFA from Merrill Lynch, where he was a director of government affairs.

Submit K Street Files tips here