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Special Interests: Judy Sarasohn

Zell Miller, Bound for K Street

By Judy Sarasohn
Thursday, December 9, 2004; Page A31

Sen. Zell Miller, the Georgia Democrat who turned on colleague John F. Kerry (D-Mass.) and campaigned for President Bush, will be trying his hand at government relations in the private sector when he retires from the Senate next month.

Miller is joining McKenna Long & Aldridge, a law firm of 350 lawyers and policy advisers, with offices in Atlanta, the District and elsewhere. He will be a "senior policy adviser" in the law firm's government affairs practice.

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Even when the year-long restriction on lobbying senators is over, it does not sound as if Miller will be actually buttonholing lawmakers. He said he will be advising clients on how they can get their legislative way and come up with "practical solutions."

"I certainly don't plan on walking any halls of Congress," he said in an interview yesterday. But his work for McKenna is "something I can do and still live in my home" in Young Harris, Ga. He talked about "a certain expertise" he has in national security and military matters but said he has not been able to talk to the law firm about the specifics of what he will be doing, because he is still in the Senate.

Miller has long-standing ties with a number of folks at McKenna. He noted that his former chief of staff from the Senate, Alex Albert, is at the firm, as is his former chief of staff from his days as governor of Georgia, Keith Mason.

Asked if the firm was concerned about any fallout from Miller's harsh criticism of the Democratic Party and his support for Bush, Eric J. Tanenblatt, senior managing director of the firm and leader of the firm's national government affairs group, praised Miller's "distinguished career" and said he will "help solidify our firm and government affairs practice."

McKinnon Heads Home

Speaking of Bush supporters . . . Mark McKinnon is returning home to the Austin-based Public Strategies firm after a successful run as director of media for the Bush-Cheney reelection campaign. He will be vice chairman of the public affairs firm.

"I love it. It's my home. It's my tribe," McKinnon said yesterday.

Public Strategies brought on a bipartisan mix of folks along with McKinnon, who noted that he was in Washington yesterday, standing side by side with former Clinton spokesman Mike McCurry at an event promoting help to fight AIDS. "We decided many years ago that we wanted to create a bipartisan firm," McKinnon said.

Starting out with six or seven people in 1988, Public Strategies now has more than 200. Four new hires, coming on board next year, were announced this week: Travis Thomas, national finance director for the Bush-Cheney campaign and earlier director of the office of business liaison at the Commerce Department; Jill Bratina, most recently communications director for the president's brother, Florida Gov. Jeb Bush; Joe Householder, communications director for Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.); and Jill Angelo, who earlier worked in the White House for presidential adviser Karen Hughes. John Krueger, a Republican who earlier worked for the National Conservative Political Action Committee, is being promoted to director and moving to the D.C. office.

New at Cassidy

Cassidy & Associates is signing on two veteran GOP Hill aides next month.

Ali Amirhooshmand, policy adviser to House Majority Whip Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), will work at expanding Cassidy's communications and media practice. Amirhooshmand earlier was a legislative assistant for Rep. Cliff Stearns (R-Fla.) and worked for Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-Tex.).

Ron Phillips, a senior policy adviser to the House Armed Services Committee, will focus on technology for national security, space and aviation.

The Heartland, in a Way

Like other groups that want to boost their profile and make their lobbying more effective, the Heart Rhythm Society, the group that represents physicians and others involved in cardiac pacing -- implanting pacemakers and defibrillators -- is moving its headquarters to the District.

The organization, which was based in Natick, Mass., lobbies on such issues as Medicare, funding for heart rhythm research, and regulation of medical devices.

"Being in Washington will help us forge stronger alliances with governing agencies and healthcare groups whose work complements ours," the group's president, Stephen C. Hammill, said in a statement. The advocacy group will have a staff of about 30 here.

Nickles and Change

Furthermore . . . Sen. Don Nickles (R-Okla.) is not going out on his own when he forms the Nickles Group (often "the Group" or "& Associates" is wishful thinking). Joining this enterprise are Stacey Hughes, who has worked for the assistant GOP leader and was deputy staff director of the Senate Budget Committee; Hazen Marshall; and Cindi Tripodi.

And not only is U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations John C. Danforth leaving his post. His spokesman, Richard Grenell, who also worked for the previous ambassador, John Negroponte, is heading off for the private sector.

Grenell is taking his communications skills to San Diego-based Titan Corp., where he will be vice president for corporate communication.

Jerome M. Hauer, director of the Response to Emergencies and Disasters Institute (READI) at George Washington University, is joining Fleishman-Hillard Government Relations and will co-chair the homeland security practice.

Earlier, Hauer was a senior health and emergency preparedness adviser to Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy G. Thompson.

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