K Street Files: Going Gaga Over DADT; K Street Bundles Big Bucks

Posted December 3, 2010 at 5:42pm

Lady Gaga is back in the advocacy biz.

Despite worries by some gay-rights activists that her flamboyant persona distracts from their lobbying effort, Lady Gaga released a new video urging her fans to press Senators to repeal the military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy.

“Hi guys, it’s Gaga,” says the performer, sporting sunglasses and sitting on a couch in a tweeted video message.

She urged what she called her “little monsters” to contact the website of the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network, which is asking Senators to do away with the current policy barring openly gay service members.

Lady Gaga acknowledged that performers taking up political causes “can be kind of trivial.” But the rock star claimed her fans “are screaming, ‘Please end the law.’”

Officials with SLDN argue that Gaga has been effective in arousing political interest in younger people, noting that when she did a video in September, it was viewed by 2.1 million people. But other liberal groups complained that the performer did little to sway Senators who are unfamiliar with her work.

Bundling Up

Lobbyists and their employers pitched in during the last days of the midterm elections to help collect nearly $230,000 for several House lawmakers and the Democratic party.

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee led House groups in bundling totals, reporting more than $112,000, according to documents filed last week with the Federal Election Commission. Lobbyist Brian L. Wolff of the Edison Electric Institute helped raise more than $86,000 for the DCCC, while lobbyist Vincent Roberti of Navigators Global helped bring in more than $25,000.

The campaign committee of House Judiciary Chairman John Conyers (D-Mich.) reported that Echostar and Dish Network had raised more than $51,000 for the Congressman, while the American Association of Orthopaedic Surgeons raised another $24,000.

Rep. Jerry McNerney (D-Calif.) received more than $20,000 in bundled contributions from the League of Conservation Voters Action Fund.

Winds of Political Change

A top manufacturing executive is conceding that the economy and a new
Republican-led House will be the primary impediments in the coming months to winning increased funding for wind energy production projects.

“We’ve been talking to a lot of people on the Hill, but things have been changing up quite a bit,” Siemens Corp. CEO Eric Spiegel said.

The company’s PAC has contributed primarily to Democrats during the past two election cycles.

Spiegel spoke from Hutchinson, Kan., where his firm officially opened a new wind turbine assembly plant that expects to employ 400 people by 2012.

The Siemens boss also said that his company continues to lobby Members on an expiring federal grant that promotes private wind energy investment in the United States. “Wind needs some additional support in the next few years, as it continues to become more and more competitive with conventional power,” he said.

K Street Moves

• Katie Huffard, senior vice president of government affairs at Fierce, Isakowitz and Blalock, will leave at the end of the year to spend more time raising her family, according to a news release issued Friday by the firm.

Huffard has been at the all-Republican firm for 11 years. Before joining the shop, she worked for Sen. Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) and then-Sen. Bill Frist (R-Tenn.).

“I’m going to greatly miss coming to work every day, but it is time for me to focus on my family and all the joys of raising 3 rambunctious — and hopefully Republican — little boys,” Huffard said in the firm’s news release.

• DDC Advocacy has appointed Steve Rice, who has 15 years of experience in political and public affairs, to be its vice president of field operations.  At DDC, he will be responsible for grass roots, grass tops, coalition building and overseeing state and national field operations.

• Matthew Beck, communications director and policy adviser on the House Ways and Means Committee, is leaving to join the Glover Park Group. After more than nine years on the Hill, Beck will be vice president for public affairs and marketing in Glover’s financial services practice. His first day on the new job is today.

Matthew Murray and Alex Knott contributed to this report. Submit K Street Files tips here.