K Street Files: Allbaugh Bows Out?

Posted February 3, 2009 at 3:50pm

Former Federal Emergency Management Agency head and President George W. Bush confidant Joe Allbaugh appears to be out of the influence game.

[IMGCAP(1)]Allbaugh, who formed the Allbaugh Co. in 2003 after exiting FEMA, has terminated all of his clients, according to Senate lobbying disclosure reports.

It’s quite a stark difference from his emergence onto K Street. After leaving FEMA, Allbaugh quickly signed up five clients, including the National Mining Association and Union Pacific.

Allbaugh terminated his lobbying relationship with BP America, Current Communications Group, Shaw Group Environmental and the Unified Recovery Group, according to fourth-quarter reports.

So far, Allbaugh is staying mum on the future of his consulting business and the firm’s Web site is under construction. Stay tuned.

Compensation Crisis. For years, lobbyists have been taken to task for the colossal sums many of them earn from their high-paying clients. But now it’s time for lobbyists to defend their clients’ mammoth compensation packages.

Financial services lobbyists are starting to respond to critics such as Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.), who took to the Senate floor blasting financial services executives for raking in cash while taking in federal Troubled Asset Relief Program funds.

“It seems to be overly restrictive,” said Scott Talbott, senior vice president of government affairs at the Financial Services Roundtable, of McCaskill’s bill. “It would greatly hinder the ability of companies to attract and retain experts and good employees that are necessary.”

So far, the Financial Services Forum, an association composed of 17 major financial services executives, hasn’t weighed in on the criticism.

“We really haven’t been doing anything,” said Erica Hurtt, a FSF spokeswoman.

With Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Chairman Chris Dodd (D-Conn.) expected to address the issue at the committee’s hearing on TARP oversight on Thursday, it could only be a matter of time.

K Street Kumbaya. Former Missouri Gov. Matt Blunt (R) is joining downtown lobby shop Cassidy and Associates, the firm announced Tuesday, quieting rumors — for now, at least — that the political scion might be planning to run for his father’s seat in 2010.

Matt Blunt, the son of Rep. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), will be a senior consultant at the firm, which also employs Gregg Hartley, the elder Blunt’s ex-chief of staff.

The former naval officer, 38, unexpectedly announced in January 2008 that he would not seek a second term after a prolonged battle with Democrats over allegations of ethical lapses by his administration — a rift that Cassidy suggested in its release has since passed.

“He will be a strong addition to our team as Washington embraces a new spirit of post-partisanship,” Cassidy Chief Executive Officer and former Rep. Marty Russo (D-Ill.) said in statement Tuesday.

After the younger Blunt stepped aside, Republicans nominated then-Rep. Kenny Hulshof (R-Mo.) to face popular state Attorney General Jay Nixon (D), who crushed Hulshof 58 percent to 40 percent in November.

Roy Blunt has been a persistent subject of retirement rumors since stepping down from GOP leadership at the beginning of 111th Congress.

If he runs for Senate or retires in 2010, Matt Blunt has been viewed as a possible candidate to run in his father’s very conservative southwestern Missouri district.

Pharmaceutical Sales. With major health care overhauls on the legislative horizon, the National Community Pharmacists Association is pre-emptively mobilizing thousands of customers to push its agenda.

On Tuesday, the group announced the launching of Fight4rx.org, “aimed at educating patients on the positive role community pharmacists play in their lives and to recruit these patients as grassroots activists on behalf of pharmacy during the upcoming health care reform debate,” NCPA spokeswoman Lisa Miller said in an e-mail.

So far, roughly 1,000 member drugstores have signed on to recruit customers. The group hopes to have 50,000 e-mail addresses by this summer.

K Street Moves. Tommy Sevier, former deputy chief of staff for then-Rep. Robin Hayes (R-N.C.), has joined the National Pork Producers Council. Sevier will serve as director of government relations.

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