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K Street Files: Top Chefs to Fete Venn Strategies

After 10 years at the helm of Venn Strategies, lobbyist Stephanie Silverman has scored a K Street chef-d’oeuvre. But it’s not of the legislative variety.

For her shop’s upcoming 10th anniversary fete, Silverman has lined up a handful of “Top Chef All-Stars” former contestants to nourish her clients. The chefs, who will each prepare a course, include Richard Blais, winner of “Top Chef All-Stars”; Spike Mendelsohn, a “Top Chef All-Stars” contestant and owner of Capitol Hill joints Good Stuff Eatery and We, the Pizza; Mike Isabella; Carla Hall and Antonia Lofaso.

“In this town, if you think of something really cool and are willing to put in some sweat equity, you can oftentimes make it happen,” said Silverman, who is a big fan of the “Top Chef” series on Bravo.

Silverman said Hall, who did a small dinner for her about eight months ago, reached out to her former cast members and recruited them for the July 21 dinner at the Mexican Cultural Center.

Silverman said clients are flying in from across the country, including Colorado, Texas and Illinois. But this is no competition.

“There’s no judging,” she added. “I’m a Jewish mother, so I love to feed people.”

The lobbyist wouldn’t reveal the menu, but she called it “an extraordinary array of local ingredients.”

Client Development

Former Rep. Walt Minnick (D-Idaho), who lost his seat in last year’s midterms, seems to be earning his keep at his lobby shop, the Majority Group. Minnick and his former chief of staff, Robert Ellsworth, who is a Majority Group partner, signed on Boise, Idaho’s Agri Beef Co. as a client.

But the Lobbying Disclosure Act registration is quick to point out that “Former Congressman Walt Minnick will only be contacting the Executive Branch.” That’s because Minnick, like all former House Members, is subject to a one-year ban from lobbying anyone in Congress.

For the client, the lobbying duo will focus on antitrust and environmental regulations on agriculture.

The ex-Member isn’t the only one signing on new business. Former Rep. Sonny Callahan’s (R-Ala.) Sonny Callahan & Associates recently filed registrations on behalf of the City of Pensacola, Fla., and Global Energy. The firm plans to help the city to acquire funds for airport construction, and it is working on the development of nuclear energy programs for Global Energy.

In addition, several of the dozen K Street firms that Google announced July 1 that it was hiring have made the arrangement official by filing with Congress. Crossroads Strategies, former House Majority Leader Dick Gephardt’s (D-Mo.) Gephardt Group, the Normandy Group, the FIRST GROUP, Holland & Knight, the Madison Group and the Raben Group all have filed new client disclosures to represent Google.

The Normandy Group reports that it will “address issues related to the Federal Trade Commission’s review of competition and consumer matters with respect to Google.” Google announced that it would hire the firms after the FTC began an antitrust investigation into the tech giant’s business practices.

K Street Moves

American Defense International has added two new lobbyists. Jessica Kenyon, who will be ADI’s director of health affairs, joined the firm after working at the Telemedicine & Advanced Technology Research Center. And retired Army Col. David Rice signed on as vice president of business development and military affairs.

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