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K Street Files: New Campaigns Are Anti-Counterfeit, Pro-Can

A bill that would block websites selling counterfeit goods, such as discount golf clubs and tax-free cigarettes, is getting an extra push from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

A chamber-led coalition will run ads in major Capitol Hill publications and on the Washington, D.C., radio station WTOP for two weeks starting Monday supporting legislation that would expand the tools American companies can use to combat foreign counterfeiters. The ads will coincide with visits to every Senate office, said Steve Tepp, who is managing the effort.

“This is the theft of American jobs,” said Tepp, a chamber counsel who handles intellectual property issues. “They are literally stealing our intellectual property and selling it back to us in dangerous form.”

Introduced in May by Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), the bill authorizes the Justice Department to file a civil action against foreign websites “dedicated to infringing activities.”

The order would require search engines such as Google to bar these suspect sites from showing up in search results and would bar Internet service providers from connecting users to the flagged sites.

Coalition members include Walmart, Eli Lilly & Co. and Netflix, but one big chamber member — Google — has spoken out against the idea.

Opponents of the legislation, including Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), who has put a hold on the bill, argue that it will restrain online commerce and that it is the first step to censoring the Web. Others say the language defines infringing too broadly.

Can Do

Heidi Biggs Brock takes over shortly as the new president of the Aluminum Association, which has been testing out some innovative new PR and advocacy tools to promote its industry.

In addition to announcing Brock’s arrival, the association recently touted its successful bid to break a Guinness World Record for helping put together the world’s longest chain of aluminum cans.

The trade group teamed up with the self-proclaimed Commissioner of Tailgating, Joe Cahn, to lay out the five-miles long chain of cans end-to-end at a fair ground in Green Bay, Wis., at the start of the football season. The event kicked off a 17-city “Can Crusade” tour to encourage NFL tailgaters to drink from recyclable aluminum cans.

“There’s a terrific sustainability message about aluminum,” said Brock. “If people can recycle one can, they can power a TV for three hours.”

Brock takes over from Steve Larkin, who is retiring at the end of this year after 13 years with the association. Brock was vice president of federal and international affairs at the Weyerhaeuser Co., which deals in wood products and real estate.

The association also will release its first industry-wide sustainability report at its annual meeting in Chicago this week.

On the Run

The quickly-growing government relations firm of Thorn Run Partners is adding a senior Republican lobbyist to its Washington, D.C., team, tapping Jessie Howe Brairton to be a senior vice president.

Brairton, who starts later this month, leaves a post as director of federal government affairs at Eli Lilly & Co., where she focused on health care reform, Medicare and Medicaid issues. She previously was a senior legislative assistant to House Judiciary Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas). Brairton’s 15-year career also included stints on the staff of the Senate Special Committee on Aging, and at the National Federation of Independent Business.

From Senate to Mouse

Mike Castellano is leaving the office of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) to join the Washington, D.C., office of Walt Disney Co. as vice president of government relations, handling intellectual property and trade issues.

As senior counsel and senior policy adviser to Reid, Castellano focused on international trade, intellectual property rights and cyber security, among other areas. His previous jobs included Democratic trade counsel on the House Ways and Means Committee, and trade and tax counsel to Rep. Sander Levin (D-Mich.), the panel’s ranking Democrat.

Flying High

The Air Transport Association is also balancing out its GOP presence with the arrival of Christine Burgeson, a former senior lobbyist for President George W. Bush, as senior vice president for global government affairs.

Burgeson is just the latest of several additions to ATA’s advocacy team since Nicholas E. Calio took over as president and CEO in January. Burgeson was managing director of federal government affairs in Washington for Citigroup, where Calio had previously been executive vice president for global government affairs. In the White House, Burgeson served as special assistant to Bush for legislative affairs.

(Pro-)Life Sciences

The Susan B. Anthony List is launching a new public policy initiative, a soon-to-be-named institute that will focus on backing up its anti-abortion message with scientific analysis on maternal and reproductive health.

Spear-heading the effort will be Chuck Donovan, the former legislative director for the National Right to Life Committee. Donovan also worked in the Reagan White House and served as vice president for the conservative Family Research Council.

“Chuck joins the SBA List team at a most critical moment in fighting the most consequential civil rights battle of our time,” said organization president Marjorie Dannenfelser in a statement. “The science and data informing historic levels of debate on the abortion issue are critical to” the group’s objectives, she said.

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