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Special Interests: Judy Sarasohn

For Mr. Ed, a Talking Lobbyist

By Judy Sarasohn
Thursday, March 31, 2005; Page A17

Even horses need lobbyists these days. Well, at least the people who make money on horses do.

The National Thoroughbred Racing Association, based in Lexington, Ky., has opened a lobbying office in Washington.

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Gregory C. Avioli, who had been president of NTRA, is the group's lobbyist here. He said he's sharing space with the veteran American Horse Council, which has focused on agriculture and equine issues.

NTRA also relies on lobbying by the Alpine Group and Thomas A. "Tad" Davis of Davis & Harman. It gets help for its Horse PAC from fundraiser Rachel Pearson.

But the thoroughbred racing industry decided it needed to bolster its presence here because of threats to its industry. Avioli said it represents more than 480,000 jobs and has a $34 billion impact.

The group's big interests are on curbing illegal Internet gambling, which cuts into on-site wagering on the ponies, capital gains issues, immigration and visas, and the capability to simulcast races overseas. The threat of offshore gambling "is substantial," Avioli said.

Avioli says the thoroughbred industry has been warmly received here, and the Congressional Horse Caucus has more than 60 House members.

"Americans always have a love affair with the horse," he said.

Halliburton Hires the Allbaughs

Just because Halliburton Co.'s former leader is the vice president of the United States doesn't mean the company and its subsidiary Kellogg Brown and Root Services Inc. don't need lobbyists now and then.

The Allbaugh Co., headed by former Federal Emergency Management Agency director Joe M. Allbaugh, has registered with Congress to lobby on behalf of KBR. Also on the lobby registration: M. Diane Allbaugh, Allbaugh's wife.

According to the lobby registration, the Allbaughs plan to "educate the congressional and executive branch on defense, disaster relief and homeland security issues affecting Kellogg Brown and Root."

Also on the Halliburton Watch: Kelly Philson, who had been in Halliburton's office here handling the company's political action committee, has joined the Independent Petroleum Association of America.

Philson will be responsible for the group's PAC -- the IPAA Wildcatters Fund -- and will oversee its grass-roots efforts.

Headhunters' Alert

Dust off your résumés.

Terrence M. McDermott, chief executive of the National Association of Realtors, is retiring at the end of 2005, and the NAR is looking for a successor.

Also, Jack Faris, chief executive of the National Federation of Independent Business, has announced his plans to retire March 31, 2006. He said he was giving ample warning to "allow our board sufficient time to search for, interview and hire my replacement."

Folks are already buzzing about Dan Danner, a former special assistant to President Ronald Reagan and NFIB's veteran lobbying chief who recently moved up to executive vice president of public policy and political affairs for the small-business group.

Changing Horses

Moving about . . . Lipman Hearne Inc., a communications firm that specializes in the nonprofit sector, is bringing on Peter Coffey as a senior vice president of its public affairs practice in Chicago. Coffey most recently worked on Illinois Democrat Barack Obama's successful campaign for the U.S. Senate. Coffey had been an aide to the late senator Paul Simon (D-Ill.).

Kevin P. Chavous, a former member of the D.C. Council, has joined the Center for Education Reform as a "distinguished fellow." According to a statement from the center, Chavous's "knowledge, expertise and commitment will strengthen CER's grassroots and legislative advocacy efforts, and foster positive change in education across the country."

Ted Michaels, previously staff director of the Senate Environment and Public Works subcommittee on superfund and waste management, has left the Hill to become president of the Integrated Waste Services Association, which represents companies and municipalities in the "waste-to-energy" industry. Michaels used to work for then-New Jersey Gov. Christine Todd Whitman (R), who headed the Environmental Protection Agency in the first George W. Bush term.

Jonathan Sumrell, deputy press secretary to vice presidential nominee and then-Sen. John R. Edwards (D-N.C.), has joined Global Communicators, focusing on media and government relations.

Steven M. Mister, director of government affairs at the National Association of Professional Employer Organizations, starts soon as chief executive of the Council for Responsible Nutrition, a dietary supplement industry trade association. He succeeds Annette Dickinson, who is moving to Minneapolis and will remain a consultant to the group.

Jean Yavis Jones has joined America's Second Harvest, the food bank network, as senior policy and research counsel. Previously, she headed the agriculture and food section of the Congressional Research Service and was a legislative specialist on food and agriculture policy.

Scott D. Bates, former senior policy adviser to the House Select Committee on Homeland Security, has signed up with the Center for National Policy as a senior fellow for national security.

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