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Abraham's Rechanneled Energy

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By Judy Sarasohn
Thursday, November 3, 2005

S pencer Abraham is making good use of his experience as President Bush's first energy secretary. Along with two former top aides, he has set up the Abraham Group , an "international strategic consulting" shop.

The two former aides are Joseph McMonigle , who was chief of staff at the Department of Energy, and Majida Mourad , who was a DOE senior adviser on international affairs.

In case there's any doubt, the firm says its "major focus and specialization is the international energy sector." Abraham, a former senator from Michigan, is also on the board of directors of Occidental Petroleum.

McMonigle said he and Abraham have one-year restrictions on contacting department personnel or representing foreign interests; those limits expire early next year. "We're not a lobbying company, though that's not to say we won't do any," McMonigle said.

He declined to identify the firm's clients but noted that Cheniere, a Houston-based energy company, announced that it has hired the Abraham Group.

Shortly after the news became public, self-described wild man Jim Cramer issued a "triple buy" on Cheniere on his CNBC "Mad Money" show, calling it a "pure play on cronyism."

Though Cheniere's plans for two new liquefied natural gas facilities on the Gulf Coast need federal regulatory approval, Cramer is "betting with Abraham's help, the projects will go through" -- "Give it 18 months to 'work the Spencer magic,' " Cramer said, according to TheStreet.com's recap of his show.

McMonigle prefers his shop's highbrow brochure language to "pure play on cronyism," but says " 'Spencer's magic' isn't bad either."

A Lonesome Lawyer No More

Hot off a book tour for his autobiography and deflecting a move to be drafted for Congress again, James Rogan has landed at Preston Gates Ellis & Rouvelas Meeds .Formerly director of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and before that a House Republican from California, Rogan joined the firm's policy and intellectual-property practices here and in Orange County.

Rogan had been at Venable's California office but said: "I was there all by myself. I wanted to be with a lot of lawyers." Preston Gates has 16 professionals in its Orange County office.

Rogan says he'll be doing IP litigation as well as lobbying and consulting. "I did used to be a real lawyer."

Rogan, who was one of the Clinton impeachment managers in the House, says he declined a draft to run in a special election for the seat of Christopher Cox, now head of the Securities and Exchange Commission.

'I've Been in a Door and Out a Door'

We should have remembered that Mary Waters , who left ConAgra Foods Inc. and joined the Bush administration as assistant secretary for congressional relations at the Agriculture Department, had moved on earlier this year to Farmer Mac -- where she is vice president for corporate relations. Waters was one of the many folks listed by the Revolving Door Task Force

Waters says she's now in financial services, a different animal from her ConAgra and USDA days: "I've been in a door and out a door, but not . . . through the revolving door." She notes that she resigned from the USDA in April without even having interviewed for a job and took two months off before looking. "You do what you feel comfortable with," she said.

Cancer Society Expands Staff

The American Cancer Society has added five folks to its national government relations department: Steven Weiss as senior director of communications and media advocacy, Cameron Moody as director of strategic planning and operations, Allen D. Segal as associate director of federal government relations, Jaimie Vickery as a senior federal representative, focusing on Medicare and other issues, and Brian Rubenstein as associate director of nationwide grass roots.

Weiss earlier held communications jobs with the Center for Responsive Politics and then-Sen. Bob Graham (D-Fla.), Moody worked for the 2004 Democratic National Convention Committee, Segal worked at the National Association of Home Builders, Vickery was on the Hill with then-House member Stephen Horn (R-Calif.) and Rep. Judy Biggert (R-Ill.), and Rubenstein was a senior field representative for the society.

Recent Moves

Also about town . . . Victoria "Penny" Rostow has landed at Sonnenschein Nath & Rosenthal as a partner after leaving JPMorgan Chase & Co., several months ago, where she was co-head of federal government relations. Rostow was deputy assistant Treasury secretary for legislative affairs in the Clinton administration.

Jill Hershey has moved up to senior vice president for legislative affairs, a new post at the Bond Market Association. Before joining the group in 2003, Hershey served a stint as director of tax policy for Sen. Rick Santorum (R-Pa.).

Everyone wants a homeland defense and national security practice and Buchanan Ingersoll is no different. The law firm has added Hill Solutions , an eight-person lobby shop that specializes in such things, to its federal government relations operations. Hill Solutions was headed by Jack Thomas Tomarchio and Eric J. Weinberg .


© 2005 The Washington Post Company

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