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K Street Files: Anti-Reform Blitz

Updated: 4 p.m.

Business groups are continuing their air war against the health care overhaul efforts as Congressional Democrats inch closer to crafting the final plan.

[IMGCAP(1)]A coalition led by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce on Thursday announced the release of a new round of television spots that warn the health care plan will increase health care costs.

The ad, which will play on national cable television channels for a week, warns of hidden taxes in the health care bill that will increase costs for consumers at the drugstore, at the hospital and in their paychecks.

The chamber has been one of the most vocal opponents of the Democrats’ health care plans and has run a series of ads opposing the efforts.

The ad is being underwritten by the coalition Employers for a Healthy Economy, which is made up of 248 employer associations. Chamber officials would not divulge the cost of the ad buy.

Democratic Duo. Artemis Strategies has hired two new Democratic lobbyists: Joye Purser and George Durazzo. Purser, who previously worked for the Obama presidential campaign and on the Hill for Reps. Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-Texas) and Lincoln Davis (D-Tenn.), holds a doctorate and has been a biomedical research scientist.

Durazzo, founder and managing partner of Warhorse Consulting and London Ventures International, focuses on energy, military, security and intelligence issues. His political consulting clients have included Rep. Melissa Bean (D-Ill.) and Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.). He also previously worked for the National Restaurant Association’s government affairs shop.

“We are pleased to bring aboard two government and public affairs professionals as we begin a new year,— said Ari Storch, chairman of Artemis Strategies. “Joye and George each bring unique experiences that broaden our reach in public policy and government affairs.—

Staffing Up. McGuireWoods Consulting is continuing its expansion, adding former Virginia Attorney General Jerry Kilgore and his former Chief Counsel Christopher Nolen. Kilgore will be a senior adviser at the firm. Nolen will be a senior vice president for state government relations.

“Jerry and Chris have been well-respected leaders on the Virginia political and governmental scene for years, and we are very pleased to welcome them to our firm,— Frank Atkinson of McGuireWoods said in a statement. “Both are highly regarded for their integrity, professionalism, and skill at working across party lines to produce positive results for clients.—

The additions come on the heels of Democratic lobbyist Ron Platt, formerly at Sonnenschein Nath & Rosenthal, joining the firm as a senior adviser.

K Street Moves. The U.S. Grains Council has tapped Keith H. Heffernan as senior vice president of operations and industry relations. Heffernan was the chief of staff for the Farm Credit Administration and previously served as executive director for the Iowa Corn Growers Association.

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