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Special Interests: Judy Sarasohn

Liberals Ready When Bell Sounds

By Judy Sarasohn
Thursday, February 10, 2005; Page A21

The Alliance for Justice is getting prepared.

With Washington buzzing about possible successors to ailing Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist and wondering whether Senate Democrats will continue to fight President Bush's judicial nominees, the Alliance, a liberal advocacy group, is ramping up its lobby staff.

The group announced this week that it hired Dick Woodruff, a former chief of staff for Rep. Rosa L. DeLauro (D-Conn.), as its chief lobbyist on judgeships and class-action legislation, among other issues, and Seth Rosenthal, a former Justice Department civil rights lawyer, as its legal director, heading up research on judicial nominations. They fill a vacancy left by Marcia Kuntz, who had headed the Alliance's judicial selection project, when she moved last year to Media Matters for America.

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"These two bring great expertise and range of talent. . . . We face some of the most important national debates over judicial selection and civil justice over the next few years," said Nan Aron, president of the Alliance.

Woodruff left the Hill in March to take time off to travel, climbing in the Himalayas and visiting Italy, among other adventures. Now, he says, he's ready to get down to work. Although Bush won reelection, Woodruff said he does not believe Senate Democrats will let his judicial nominees get through this year without a fight.

"I think the Democrats . . . last year demonstrated they're going to put their collective foot down on nominees that are extreme," Woodruff said.

Besides working for DeLauro, Woodruff was director of congressional affairs for the National Endowment for the Arts, and served as legislative director for then-Sen. Howard M. Metzenbaum (D-Ohio).

Before going to the Justice Department, Rosenthal served a two-year public interest fellowship sponsored by the Skadden, Arps law firm and worked on prison reform and death penalty issues in Georgia and Alabama. At the Justice Department, he litigated fair housing practices and then prosecuted civil rights crimes.

ACG Grabs Republicans

Continuing to expand, particularly on the Republican front, the American Continental Group has signed on Mike Barbera, former chief of staff for Rep. Curt Weldon (R-Pa.), as a managing director. Last month, ACG scored Carl Thorsen, former general counsel for House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-Tex.).

More recently, Barbera was vice president for government affairs and public relations at MGB, an Arlington-based defense lobbying shop. ACG's David J. Urban said Barbera, who started Monday, brought along some of his clients, such as AgustaWestland Inc., which designed the helicopter for the international group led by Lockheed Martin Corp. that won the contract to build the president's Marine One helicopter.

Arnold Finds His Voice in Washington

California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) has named his new lobbyist in Washington: David Wetmore, who has served as director of government relations for the National Association of Insurance Commissioners since 1999. Wetmore will be director of the governor's Washington office -- he starts Feb. 21.

Before going to work for the insurance commissioners, Wetmore was then-Gov. Pete Wilson's Washington lobbyist; earlier, he was a legislative assistant to then-Sen. Wilson.

Three Join Livingston Group

Catching up with the Livingston Group: Tripp Funderburk, a congressional aide to then-Rep. BobLivingston (R-La.), has left the Washington Group to affiliate with the Livingston Group.

Other new affiliations with the Livingston lobby shop: Timothy D. "Tim" Hugo, who represents the Centreville area in the Virginia House of Delegates, and Neil Messick, a former top aide to the late Sen. William V. Roth Jr. (R-Del.) and longtime lobbyist for General Electric Co. Hugo earlier served as chief of staff to then-Rep. Bud Shuster (R-Pa.) and worked at the Defense Department in the Bush I administration.

There's Life After One House Term

Also in the lobby biz . . . Max Burns, a one-term House Republican from Georgia, has joined Thelen Reid & Priest as a government affairs consultant. According to a release from the law firm, Burns is prohibited from lobbying Congress for a year but, nonetheless, his addition "will offer Thelen Reid clients greater access to GOP lawmakers in Congress, as well as to the current administration."

Thelen also promoted Walter L. Raheb from senior policy adviser to chair of the government affairs practice, and added Scott Brian Clark, a tax specialist previously at Robinson & Cole and PricewaterhouseCoopers, as "of counsel."

Julie Cram, deputy communications director for Bush-Cheney 2004, has joined Burson-Marsteller, as a director in its public affairs practice.

Robert Neal has joined his former boss, ex-House member George R. Nethercutt (R-Wash.), at Lundquist, Nethercutt & Griles. Neal will focus on defense, trade and emerging technology issues.

Lisa Shuger Hublitz, a former deputy director of then-New York Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani's Washington office and more recently director of government relations for the American Orthopsychiatric Association, has joined the American Society for Therapeutic Radiology and Oncology as director of government relations.

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