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Special Interests: Judy Sarasohn

Law Firm Gains Indian Affairs Powerhouse

By Judy Sarasohn
Thursday, January 6, 2005; Page A17

Holland & Knight, a law firm that has one of the largest Indian affairs practices around, has scored one of the most widely known names in Indian affairs -- retired senator Ben Nighthorse Campbell (R-Colo.).

One of the 44 chiefs of the Northern Cheyenne tribe, Campbell was the only Native American in the Senate before his recent retirement. He is joining Holland & Knight in a couple of weeks as a senior policy adviser.

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Campbell served in the Senate from 1993 to 2004 and in the House from 1987 to 1992; he switched from Democrat to Republican in 1995.

"I'm going to be a conduit for Indian issues," Campbell said yesterday. "I've always encouraged tribes to be active in public policy."

Indian casinos may be "a flamboyant" issue, he said, but few tribes have casinos and fewer still make big money on gaming. He said some of the key issues on which he expects to be working include tribal sovereignty, water rights, health care, education and economic development. One of his big disappointments last year was the inability of legislation that would reorganize the Indian Health Service to gain traction, but Campbell said he expects it to be raised again this year.

"The big thing with the tribes, more than any other, is not losing any more than they've already lost," Campbell said.

Gerald E. Sikorski, a former Democratic House member from Minnesota and head of the firm's government section, said Campbell's experience on the Hill, particularly with appropriations, veterans affairs and the environment, and his corporate contacts will be important, as well. He also noted Campbell's experience in judo and Harleys.

"He's a unique engaging human asset you don't find that much anymore," Sikorski said.

DeLay's Counsel Joining GOP Lobby Group

It's not as if the American Continental Group needed another Republican lobbyist. The lobby shop of about a dozen people is all Republican. Nonetheless, ACG snagged itself another Republican -- one with particularly strong ties to the House Republican leadership.

Carl Thorsen, general counsel for House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-Tex.), is joining ACG later this month. He has a one-year ban on lobbying the GOP leadership or DeLay, personally, but David J. Urban, an ACG partner, said in the interview that the firm is not concerned because Thorsen's congressional and administration experience is broader than that.

No one is discounting his experience with DeLay, however. "As a senior legal and policy adviser for one of Congress' most important members, Carl brings a unique understanding of public policy, the legislative process and American politics to our team," Urban said in a written statement.

Thorsen has also worked for Sen. Arlen Specter (R-Pa.) and members of the House, as well as the House Judiciary subcommittee on crime. He served as deputy assistant attorney general for legislative affairs. Taking a leave of absence for several months earlier this year, Thorsen went to Iraq to serve as a senior adviser for border enforcement with the Coalition Provisional Authority's Civilian Policing Advisory Training Team.

Thorsen said that "it's very exciting for me" to join the growing lobby shop and that he is "looking to be helpful to their clients across the board in any way that I can. I would like to think that I've developed relationships across the aisle and the Hill."

Among the other Republicans at the firm: Shawn H. Smeallie, former Senate liaison for President George H.W. Bush, and Edward M. Rahal, former finance director of the National Republican Senatorial Committee. Some of the firm's clients: the city of Philadelphia, the National Indian Gaming Association, Northpoint Technology Ltd. and Prudential Insurance Co. of America.

Veteran Senate Staffer Now a Lobbyist

John Lampmann, chief of staff to Rep. Lamar S. Smith (R-Tex.) for 18 years, started his new life in the private sector earlier this week. He went to work for Johnson, Madigan, Peck, Boland & Stewart, which is hoping that his connection to Smith and the House Judiciary Committee will eventually serve its clients well. Smith is a senior member of the judiciary panel.

The bipartisan lobby shop, 12 senior folks, has been involved in coalition efforts on legal reform issues that find their way to Judiciary, such as asbestos, securities litigation and class-action issues. The firm lobbies for the American Insurance Association and the International Employee Stock Options Coalition, and on class action issues for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

Peter T. Madigan praised Lampmann's knowledge of the substance of issues before Congress as well as his political acumen.

"The fact is he's with Lamar Smith for 18 years working on Judiciary Committee matters. And he's known as a rock-solid senior guy," Madigan said.

On the Move

Furthermore . . . Aleix Jarvis, a senior aide to Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.), is signing on with the lobby and consulting shop of Fierce, Isakowitz & Blalock as a director of government affairs.

Debra DeShong, a senior communications adviser for the Kerry/Edwards presidential campaign, has joined the United Nations Foundation as director of communications and public affairs. She earlier did communications for the Democratic National Committee.

Former Rep. W.J. "Billy" Tauzin (R-La.), who started Monday as chief executive of the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, has brought on two aides from the Hill: Mimi Simoneaux Kneuer, as senior vice president of external affairs, and Ken Johnson, senior vice president of communications.

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