Forces Fuse Into FreedomWorks
By Judy Sarasohn
Thursday, July 29, 2004; Page A21
Citizens for a Sound Economy and Empower America have merged to form FreedomWorks, a grass-roots advocacy and political group to bolster their fight for "lower taxes, less government and more economic freedom."
CSE had been most recently chaired by Richard K. Armey (R-Tex.), the former House majority leader; C. Boyden Gray, White House counsel for President George H. W. Bush, was a former chairman of CSE. At Empower America, former representative Jack Kemp (R-N.Y.)and William Bennett, former education secretary in the Reagan administration, chaired the group.
Armey, Gray and Kemp will co-chair the new group, and Bennett will be a senior fellow focusing on school choice. Matt Kibbe is the new president and chief executive.
Armey said the principles had worked together on similar issues so they decided to join forces.
The group is nonpartisan, Armey said, though he doubts many Democrats will sign on. FreedomWorks is also intended, in part, to challenge political liberal groups such as MoveOn.org for voters this campaign season.
FreedomWorks claims more than 360,000 members and is organized in a way that will allow for lobbying, political fundraising and political activities, including voter education and get-out-the-vote efforts in key campaigns, Armey said. The group also boasts a political database with more than 600,000 conservative activists.
"We're invested in ideas. We'd like to see those ideas become the law of the land," he said.
Land Deal Lobby
Donald V. Moorehead, a partner at Patton Boggs, specializes in tax policy and regulation of financial institutions and "represents clients in connection with a broad range of congressional investigative matters in tax and financial matters," according to the firm's Web site. In the mid-1970s, he was chief Republican counsel to the Senate Finance Committee. All in all, the kind of D.C. operative the Nature Conservancy could use as it picks its way through a Senate Finance Committee investigation and an IRS audit.
Moorehead has been advising the Conservancy, the world's largest environmental organization, for some time and has been a point of contact with the committee since the Senate panel began investigating easement transactions involving the group and other charities last year. The Washington Post reported last year that the Conservancy bought land, added development restrictions and then resold the properties at reduced prices to its trustees and supporters.
The Conservancy said the sales prices were proper because the restrictions reduced the market value of the tracts. After the articles, however, the Conservancy announced that it would no longer conduct such deals with its board members and trustees.
Late last month, Moorehead registered to lobby on behalf of the Conservancy. Patton Boggs managing partner Stuart Pape, said he needed to register only recently because his work had "morphed into" dealing with potential legislation.
Conservancy spokesman James Petterson said that for the past year Moorehead has helped the group's officials respond to the committee's requests for information and advised on the group's internal evaluation of its practices. But recently, Petterson said, Moorehead told them the legislation work required him to register as a lobbyist with Congress.
Veteran health care and tax lobbyist Frederick H. Graefe is leaving his partnership at the law firm of Hunton & Williams to go solo Aug. 1.
His specialties will include legislative and regulatory counsel on Medicare, taxes and life insurance. His clients include Invacare, Amgen, American Fidelity, Trans World Assurance, the Federation of American Hospitals and the Cleveland Clinic.
"I've always wanted to do it on my own," Graefe said.
John Czwartacki, former spinmeister for the Federal Emergency Management Agency, Sen. Trent Lott (R-Miss.) and the House Republican Conference, is moving around in Verizon Communications and joining the corporate public affairs and communications department in a newly created position, executive director for external communications. In his new post, "CZ" will be responsible for helping "craft and shape key public policy and business messages."
In Other Moves . . .
Furthermore . . . Susan Siemietkowski, most recently government programs executive for IBM Corp., is moving to the American Frozen Food Institute as vice president of legislative affairs Aug. 16. She has served as staff director of the House Small Business government programs subcommittee and as a staffer of the House Republican Study Committee.
The Biotechnology Institute signed on Jennifer Moire as director of communications. Moire was director of global public relations for American Medical Systems and worked for Shandwick Public Affairs and Dittus Communications, as well as the press office of the Bill Bradley for President campaign.
© 2004 The Washington Post Company