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Carmen's Africa Team Has Its Keystone

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By Judy Sarasohn
Thursday, July 6, 2006

The Carmen Group , which in the past year has made a play for business in Africa and hired strategically to make that happen, has scored a substantial lobbying client -- the government of Algeria.

While it might not be in the Indian casino range, the fee is a healthy $25,000 a month, for a total of $300,000 for the one-year term of the contract, according to the Carmen Group's Foreign Agents Registration Act filing with the Justice Department. The shop also filed a lobby registration with Congress.

And for these fees, the Carmen Group says it will work to strengthen relations between the Algerian and U.S. governments and expand trade, through government relations and "strategic advice." The Carmen team will brief U.S. policymakers, "project an up-to-date image of Algeria" and promote congressional, public and media support for "Algeria's legitimate interests and policy goals," according to the FARA report. The shop will also promote contacts with U.S. business interests.

In a recent interview, David Carmen said there was "no single issue" at this time to lobby on for Algeria, but the shop will be "brand-building" in Washington and working to get more businesses to invest in that nation. Algeria as a client was in the works when the company started to work on building an Africa practice, he said.

David Keene , a managing associate at Carmen and chairman of the American Conservative Union, is responsible for managing the firm's services for Algeria, according to the contract with Algeria. But also on the team: the aforementioned David Carmen, Gerald Carmen , John Ladd , Constance Berry Newman , William Outhier , Paul Marisa and Charles Williams .

Newman, a former assistant secretary of state for African affairs, was one of those strategic hires earlier this year, as was Williams, former chief of staff to Rep. Jim McDermott (D-Wash.) and former president of the US-Nigeria Development Institute in Abuja, Nigeria.

And last month, Michael Lempres , former vice president of the Overseas Private Investment Corp., returned after a hiatus of several years to be managing director of Carmen's international practice and direct the Africa practice. Earlier, he was director of international affairs for the Justice Department in the administration of George H.W. Bush.

Ice Cream Social Activists

The Ben and Jerry behind Ben & Jerry's are rolling into town Tuesday, along with a specially designed ice cream, to talk up their latest crusade: diverting billions of federal dollars that now fund the nation's nuclear arsenal to programs benefiting children.

Ice cream activists Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield are going on a multi-city tour to promote the cause of redirecting perhaps $13 billion a year -- still leaving the nation with plenty of nukes, Cohen said -- to improving schools and health care for needy children.

They and their scoop shops will encourage people to send postcards to lawmakers about this and will try to increase public awareness with a Web video and other activities at http://www.benjerry.com/AmericanPie .

Oh, and there's a specially concocted ice cream for the campaign, "American Pie," with apples and pie crust pieces. "Pie" refers to the graphic that explains federal spending, Cohen said in a telephone interview yesterday.

"There's no justification for having so many nuclear weapons that we could blow up the world several times over," Cohen said. "This is definitely a case where the politicians are not listening to the people."

Auto Lobbyist Shifts

With the globalization of the auto industry, it's a little difficult to tell the differences among the car manufacturers' trade associations. Suffice it to say, Mike Stanton is moving from the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers to one that is a little more global in scope, the Association of International Automobile Manufacturers.

The alliance's members include Ford, DaimlerChrysler, General Motors and Toyota, among others. The AIAM includes Toyota, as well as Honda and Nissan.

Stanton leaves the alliance, where he was vice president -- he worked for the trade group and its predecessor organizations for about 27 years -- July 14 for AIAM, where he will be president and chief executive.

He said he'll be talking up the economic contributions that his new trade group's members make to the United States as well as dealing with safety and fuel-efficiency issues.

Here and There

Jeff Blattner , a consultant to XM Satellite Radio, is joining the company as a senior vice president for public policy and special counsel, effective Sept. 1. Most recently, Blattner was president of Legal Policy Solutions , a legal and public policy consulting shop, and earlier served as a deputy assistant attorney general and was chief counsel on the Senate Judiciary Committee staff of Sen. Edward M. Kennedy (D-Mass.).

Patton Boggs has added two folks to its health-care practice: Kathleen A. Strottman , formerly legislative director for Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.), and Piper L. Nieters , a health-care lawyer.

The National Group has signed on Ryan Henry , a Lubbock, Tex., native and former chief of staff to Rep. John Carter (R-Tex.).


© 2006 The Washington Post Company

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