Everett to Take Helm at Black Think Tank

By Judy Sarasohn
Thursday, November 30, 2006

At a time when African American Democratic lawmakers are poised to take significant leadership roles in Congress, Ralph B. Everett is leaving a major law firm to head the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies, the nation's premier black think tank.

Washington policymakers, lawmakers and candidates have come to rely on the Joint Center's research to take the pulse of black America and develop policies and programs to improve the lives of minorities.

"I just think this is a great time . . . a great opportunity to drive public policy to improve the lives of African Americans and other minorities," Everett said yesterday. "This is a time when more African Americans will wield power in Congress than ever before. We want to be part of that mix."

Everett succeeds Togo D. West Jr., secretary of Veterans Affairs during the Clinton administration, who resigned earlier this year after a short tenure. Interim Chief Executive Officer Margaret C. Simms will stay on at the think tank.

A trailblazer himself, Everett was staff director and chief counsel for the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee under then-Sen. Ernest F. Hollings (D-S.C.).

Since 1989, Everett has been a partner at Paul, Hastings, Janofsky & Walker and has served as managing partner of the firm's D.C. office and co-chair of the federal legislative practice.

"This will be fun. We will do good," Everett said.

Paoletta to Join Dickstein Shapiro

Buzz is that there was a bidding war for Mark Paoletta, chief counsel for oversight and investigations at the House Energy and Commerce Committee, and Dickstein Shap iro won.

Paoletta will become a partner at the law firm after the first of the year and will specialize in guiding clients through congressional investigations. Also heading off for Dickstein: Andrew Snowdon, oversight and investigations counsel at the committee.

With four children to educate, Paoletta said he had planned to leave the Hill for the private sector after the midterm elections, "win or lose."

Paoletta said he has managed more than 200 congressional hearings. He said that he took particular satisfaction from the committee's investigations into Firestone tires, Enron, Hewlett-Packard's "corporate spying" and child pornography.

"Oversight is a great tool for Congress. You can look at things and change things without having to pass legislation," he said. "Whether it's a 50-vote margin or a 12-vote margin, it's always difficult to pass legislation."

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