A Power Lunch

By Judy Sarasohn
Thursday, January 19, 2006

Yes, that was attorney general-turned-consultant John Ashcroft having lunch at the posh Hay-Adams the other day with congressman-turned-trade association chieftain Billy Tauzin .

Ashcroft now runs a consulting-lobbying shop, the Ashcroft Group , while Tauzin, a Louisiana Republican, is chief executive of the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers Association (PhRMA).

What were they chatting about just a block away from the White House?

Juleanna Glover Weiss , Ashcroft's colleague in the private sector, former adviser in the Senate and former press secretary to Vice President Cheney, was also at the Hay-Adams table, but she referred us to PhRMA for the goods on the conversation.

"They were catching up on old times," PhRMA Senior Vice President Ken Johnson said.

Oh, and Ashcroft was "briefing Billy on his firm's" capabilities, Johnson added.

GlobalOptions Buys James Lee Witt Associates

James Lee Witt Associates , the crisis management and lobby shop founded by former Federal Emergency Management Agency director James Lee Witt , is being acquired by GlobalOptions Group, a risk management services company.

GlobalOptions said "it has entered into a definitive agreement" to acquire James Lee Witt Associates "for $6 million in cash and stock, the assumption of certain liabilities and an earn out based upon achieving certain revenue goals." The purchase is expected to be completed in the first quarter of 2006.

Witt's shop will continue under its own name as a division of GlobalOptions. Going along with Witt to GlobalOptions are his two vice chairmen: retired Gen. Wesley Clark , former NATO supreme allied commander, and Rodney Slater , former secretary of transportation in the Clinton administration.

According to the GlobalOptions statement, James Lee Witt Associates, which was started in 2001, generated more than $11.5 million in revenue last year. Lobbying clients have included Allstate Insurance, Harris Corp. and Nextel Communications. Witt was hired last year by Louisiana Gov. Kathleen Babineaux Blanco (D) to advise her on the state's hurricane relief work.

GoDaddy.Com Opens Capitol Hill Office

GoDaddy.com, an Internet domain registration company known for its racy Super Bowl ad last year featuring a woman in a spoof of a congressional indecency hearing, has come to Capitol Hill for real.

The Internet company just opened an office and hired Martha R. Johnston , former director of legislative affairs at the Federal Communications Commission, to head its lobbying operation.

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