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Special Interests: Judy Sarasohn

Ford Retools Lobby Shop

By Judy Sarasohn
Thursday, November 25, 2004; Page A41

Ford Motor Co. has spent the past year hiring new folks to rev up its Washington government affairs operation.

"We're in a good position to move into the new year running," said Dan Brouillette, who came on board earlier this year as vice president of Washington affairs. "We're trying to attract a world-class team."

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The most recent new hires are J.T. Young, who was associate director for strategic planning and communications at the Office of Management and Budget; and Peter Arapis, a senior adviser at the law firm of Manatt, Phelps and Phillips and earlier a longtime aide to Sen. Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.), now the Senate minority leader. Young and Arapis signed on as federal legislative managers.

Young also worked at Treasury and was deputy chief of staff at the Senate Finance Committee and chief economist for the Senate Republican Policy Committee, among other posts.

"By definition, in the Senate, you have to work both sides or get nothing done," Brouillette said of the bipartisan hiring.

Earlier this year, Ford added Ziad Ojakli, Senate liaison at the White House, as group vice president of corporate affairs; Stephen Biegun, former national security adviser for Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn.), as vice president for international government affairs; and Alison Jones, a member of the White House legislative office, as a legislative manager.

Also, Tony Reinhart, manager of Ford's Ohio Valley regional office, moved to Washington last summer as a federal legislative manager. Reinhart earlier was an aide to Attorney General John D. Ashcroft when he was governor of Missouri.

The Washington office also has veterans Jay Morgan, a federal legislative manager, and Jerry Roussel, energy and environmental issues manager.

"We're creating a lobbying firm inside of Ford," Brouillette said. "You cannot wait until Congress asks your opinion." He notes Ford will continue to use outside lobbyists, as well.

Big issues that Ford faces, Brouillette said, include implementation of Medicare changes and the new prescription drug benefit, international trade and environmental regulation.

Humane Society Merges

The Humane Society of the United States will be merging with the Fund for Animals. The two animal-protection groups will create a new lobbying arm, as well.

The merger will occur formally Jan. 1, and the combined organization will operate under the Humane Society name. The Fund will continue its direct animal care programs. The two groups have worked together in the past and jointly publish the "Humane Scorecard," tracking lawmakers' voting records.

The Humane Society claims 8 million members and constituents, a 2004 budget of $82 million and more than $100 million in assets. The Fund reports 200,000 members and constituents, a 2004 budget of $7 million, and $20 million in assets. The merged organization is expected to have a 2005 budget of more than $95 million.

"This union ushers in a whole new era of strengthened activism for animals," David O. Wiebers, chairman of the Humane Society's board of directors, said in a statement.

Wayne Pacelle, chief executive of the Humane Society, said current IRS regulations would restrict the two groups to a total advocacy budget of about $1.5 million. With the formation of a new 501(c)(4) political organization, the merged group will be able to do much more lobbying and political activities, he said, perhaps growing to as much as a $15 million operation in three or four years, Pacelle said.

"We hope to become an even more influential player," Pacelle said.

Michael Markarian, president of the Fund, will become the executive vice president for external affairs of the merged organization.

In Other Shop Moves

Furthermore . . . Scott Brenner, associate administrator for external affairs at the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, is joining the Rubber Manufacturers Association next month as vice president for government affairs. Earlier, he was assistant administrator of public affairs at the Federal Aviation Administration, was the chief spokesman for the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee and worked for the House Ways and Means Committee.

The Health Strategies Consultancy has brought on three new folks: Margaret Nowak, formerly of the Congressional Budget Office where she worked on Medicare issues and analyzed the budgetary effects of legislation; Catherine Harrison, formerly assistant managing editor of the Pink Sheet; and Reggie Williams, formerly a health policy research assistant at the National Academy of Social Insurance. Health Strategies is a health policy think tank and strategic consulting firm.

J.B. Hancock has left Alcalde & Fay for the American Veterinary Medical Association, where she is director of communications. She also earlier operated her own communications shop and was broadcasting director for AARP.

Spitfire Strategies, a communications shop that specializes in work for nonprofits, has added Jill Greenberg, former press secretary for retiring Sen. Bob Graham (D-Fla.), as vice president, and Brendon Shank, from Porter Novelli, as senior associate. It is expanding its roster by three and adding a new office in the Big Apple. Spitfire Strategies also hired Lisa Magnino from Golin Harris's public affairs unit to open a New York office.

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