Making Their Moves Without DeLay

By Judy Sarasohn
Thursday, April 28, 2005

Two major lobbying operations recently signed up folks with significant ties to House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-Tex.) -- proud of these key hires and confident that DeLay's growing ethics issues will not taint them.

Juliane Carter Sullivan , who was DeLay's policy director and earlier his senior appropriations adviser, joined Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld as a senior adviser in the law firm's policy department.

Joining Quinn Gillespie & Associates on Monday is Amy Jensen Cunniffe , who most recently worked in the White House legislative office as a special assistant to President Bush, and earlier worked for House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.) and as a policy analyst for DeLay when he was majority whip.

Akin Gump's Bill Paxon , former Republican House member from New York, said Sullivan "is a high-quality talent" in dealing with legislation and appropriations.

Jack Quinn , who served as White House counsel for President Bill Clinton, said Jensen Cunniffe "is steeped in health care policy and is a valuable resource for our clients."

Paxon and Quinn, as well as other lobby shop leaders in town, said they don't hire people for their connections to a single lawmaker or administration official.

"We don't hire for connections. We hire for smarts and the ability to work with others," Quinn said.

In January, the American Continental Group proudly announced its "get" of Carl Thorsen , who was general counsel to DeLay. While not discounting Thorsen's time with DeLay, ACG's David Urban noted that Thorsen's experience was broader than that. Yesterday, Urban said: "We think Carl is an outstanding guy. He stands on his own."

Thorsen said he's "felt no blow-back at all" from clients or anyone else because of the spotlight on DeLay. "I like to think I'm offering clients more than access to any particular office," he said.

Sullivan, who left DeLay's office for Akin Gump, said she "was overwhelmed by the warm reception" she has received. There has been "no chilling whatsoever," she said.

But some lobbyists in town caution that some of their colleagues who have been heavily marketing their DeLay ties may be in for uncomfortable times.

Bigger Lobby for Show-Me Firm

The Missouri-based Bryan Cave law firm is already growing its lobbying subsidiary, which was launched last month. Bryan Cave Strategies is designed to expand the law firm's government relations presence in Washington.

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