Monster Gobbles Up Staff, Hires Lobby Firm

By Judy Sarasohn
Thursday, March 23, 2006

Is Monster Worldwide Inc. taking on Washington?

Monster Worldwide, the parent company of Monster, the online career service, signed on Melissa Wojciak , staff director for the House Government Reform Committee, as director of federal affairs. Last year, the company tapped Phillip Bond , a former undersecretary of commerce for technology and earlier an aide to then-defense secretary, now-Vice President Cheney, as senior vice president of government relations.

Now, Monster has an outside lobbying shop. Mehlman Vogel Castagnetti has registered with Congress to lobby on behalf of Monster, providing "information and strategic counsel in connection with federal legislative and regulatory matters."

"We want to play a corresponding role in the public sector as we do in the private sector: a leading role," Bond said.

Noting that Wojciak worked for Republican Rep. Thomas M. Davis III (Va.), chairman of the House Government Reform Committee, Bond said he needed "a thinker on the Democratic side," part of why Monster signed up Mehlman Vogel Castagnetti. David Castagnetti directed congressional operations for the presidential campaign of Sen. John F. Kerry (D-Mass.).

Bond said a top issue for Monster is the difficulty the federal government has in competing with the private sector for top employees.

Also on the Mehlman Vogel Castagnetti team: Kelly Bingel , former chief of staff to Sen. Blanche Lincoln (D-Ark.); Bruce Mehlman , who was general counsel of the House Republican Conference; Alex Vogel , former chief counsel to Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn.); Dean A. Rosen , Frist's health-care adviser; C. Stewart Verdery Jr. , assistant secretary for homeland security; and Karin Hudson , who worked for Sen. Christopher J. Dodd (D-Conn.).

Federalist Group Diversifies

The Federalist Group , once a Republican-only firm, broke the GOP barrier this year when it hired Andy Rosenberg , a former aide to Sen. Edward M. Kennedy (D-Mass.). But the Federalist Group hasn't stopped there.

The lobby shop has hired former representative Chris John (D-La.) and his former chief of staff, Gordon Taylor , away from the law firm Arent Fox .

The group's Wayne Berman , a political appointee of Bush I and husband of Lea Berman, White House social secretary for Bush II, says clients wanted some Democrats. "It's the right business move for us to be a full service . . . firm," he said.

Starting Point Blank

Former Democratic operatives Amy Weiss and Debra DeShong have left the United Nations Foundation and formed Point Blank Public Affairs to provide issue advocacy, strategic counseling and crisis communications services.

Weiss most recently served as vice president of public affairs for the United Nations Foundation and executive director of the Better World Campaign. Earlier, she held communications posts for the Recording Industry Association of America, President Bill Clinton and the Democratic National Committee.

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