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K Street Files: Burger Not Yet on the Griddle, SEIU Chief Says

Anna Burger, secretary-treasurer of the Service Employees International Union, is denying reports that she’s considering a departure from the group. In April, Burger mysteriously dropped out of the race to replace her mentor, Andy Stern, as SEIU president, and ever since she has been dogged by rumors that new President Mary Kay Henry is pushing her out. Burger is also chairwoman of Change to Win, a labor federation that broke away from the AFL-CIO five years ago.

Last week, Henry said she is conducting a monthlong review of her top deputies, including Burger.

“She and I have begun discussions and are committed to reaching an agreement by the end of May. … Every officer is now in a review process about what role they will assume,” Henry said. “It is the prerogative of the president to reassign responsibilities.”

In response, Burger said her new boss is simply following protocol.

“Just like after every convention regardless of who had been elected president there would have been a review of the organization and roles and responsibilities,” Burger said in a statement. “For the past 38 years I’ve taken on expanding roles and responsibilities on behalf of social and economic justice. There is no question in my mind that I will take on more challenges in the future.”

Lockhart Locked In

Former Clinton White House spokesman Joe Lockhart is also apparently not going anywhere. Last week, Glover Park Group lobbyist Joel Johnson told K Street Files that his colleague at the firm is merely eyeing his options in academia, while spending more time at his beach house.

“We can barely get him to show up for work, but that’s nothing new,” Johnson joked. “I think that’s how all the rumors got started.”

Johnson pledged to “announce it to the heavens” if Lockhart ever does depart because “we’ll be more profitable then.” Until then, he said his colleague continues to service the firm’s impressive stable of clients.

“He’s on the payroll, he’s on the website, he’s on the letterhead,” Johnson said. “Whether or not he’s worth it is a totally different matter.”

Greener Pastures

Longtime Congressional staffer Muftiah McCartin is heading to Covington & Burling after more than three decades on Capitol Hill.

McCartin, the Democratic staff director of the House Rules Committee, has also worked for the House Appropriations Committee and the Office of the Parliamentarian. According to a Rules panel spokesman, it is uncertain what her role will be with her new employer. In floor speeches last week, Republican and Democratic Members alike showered her with praise for her 34 years of work.

On the House floor, Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said, “We have been blessed with her service over many, many years,” while Rules ranking member David Dreier (R-Calif.) said, “We are very sorry that she will be leaving us.”

Reps. Lincoln Diaz-Balart (R-Fla.), Doris Matsui (D-Calif.), Jared Polis (D-Colo.) and Doc Hastings (R-Wash.) also gave floor speeches last week regarding McCartin’s lengthy tenure.

“Muftiah, thank you very much for all that you have done. This is coming as news to me, by the way, so I’m quite taken aback by the fact that you’re leaving us,” Pelosi said. “But thank you for your service. I wish you well in the future. We have been very blessed by your service. Congratulations on where you’re going next.”

Trading Places

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce renewed its free-trade lobbying campaign last week. On Friday, the chamber released a study, “State of World Trade,” in which the organization says 18 million American jobs are dependent on commerce with other countries. Pending trade deals with Colombia, Panama and South Korea await approval from Members, who are undoubtedly concerned about the optics of removing trade barriers while the unemployment rate hovers around 10 percent. Still, the chamber is pushing trade deals as a revenue-neutral job generator.

“With nearly one in ten Americans looking for work, it is irresponsible and inexcusable to delay any further,” chamber President Tom Donohue said in a statement. “If we don’t act, not only will we miss out on opportunities to create new jobs, we will lose existing jobs as well.”

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