Consulting Firm Takes On GOP Look at Top

By Judy Sarasohn
Thursday, December 7, 2006

Just as many firms are professing their Democratic bona fides in the wake of the Democratic takeover of Congress, Clark & Weinstock is unabashedly pushing Republican Vin Weber forward.

Davis Weinstock, a Democrat, is stepping away from his managing partner duties, although he will continue to be chairman of the consulting firm. Weber, a former House member from Minnesota, moves up to chief executive Jan. 1.

Weber opened the D.C. office of the New York firm in 1994, and when the Republicans took the Hill, the lobby shop grew to a total of 35 people. For a while, there was another big Democratic name, former House member Vic Fazio of California, but he has moved on, and there has been a decidedly Republican cast to the firm.

He concedes to be looking to hire some Democratic congressional staffers, but Weber said that he not too concerned about being left out in the new world order on the Hill.

"When I started the firm, we had Democrats in charge of everything, and then it was still the Clinton administration" when the Republicans took Congress," Weber said. "You make adjustments. I'm not too concerned."

As a good Republican, Weber said that he regrets his party's losses in the midterm elections but adds: "I just think change is good for our business. When there's big change in Washington, all sorts of people need help from people with experience in Washington."

Also at the lobby shop: Edward Kutler, a senior adviser to then-House speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.), moves up to be president and chief operating officer; and Sandra Kaplan Stuart, a Defense Department official in the Clinton administration, becomes chief marketing officer.

Clark & Weinstock, a part of the Omnicom Group, has a client roster that has included Pfizer, Freddie Mac and Microsoft.


Democratic lobbyist John D. Raffaelli is leaving the Washington Group, a lobby shop he founded and sold to Ketchum (also part of the Omnicom empire) several years ago. He is starting Capitol Counsel, which opens Jan. 1.

Capitol Counsel will be moving into offices and partnering with the American Continental Group, a shop with a GOP reputation.

Also joining Raffaelli: Denise Henry and her health-care practice that includes Sara Franko, a former Democratic congressional staffer, and Dan Papadopolis, who worked for then-Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan (D-N.Y.); Shannon Finley, political director for Sen. Max Baucus (D-Mont.); James C. Gould, a tax lawyer who was chief counsel to the Senate Finance Committee under then-Sen. Lloyd Bentsen (D-Tex.); and David W. Jones, who most recently consulted for the campaign of incoming House Ways and Means Chairman Charles Rangel (D-N.Y.) and Baucus. Henry starts out as the firm's only Republican.

Raffaelli is connecting with his earlier partner, Peter Kelly, a former chairman of the California Democratic Party, and Mike Roos, a former California Democratic legislator. Another former partner in the original McAuliffe, Kelly & Raffaelli firm is Terry McAuliffe, former Democratic party chairman.

Raffaelli, a former Bentsen aide, said that the time seemed right for him to shed administrative burdens and focus on lobbying.

"I love lobbying. I love being part of the legislative process," he said.

The Washington Group is headed by former GOP House member Susan Molinari (N.Y.).

Hill Traffic

During the current transition between Republican and Democratic control of Congress, it might be wise not to get in the way of the traffic between the Hill and K Street. Among those making the move:

Mark Kadesh, chief of staff for Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), is leaving the Hill after 16 years to join Bartlett & Bendall today. The firm is changing its name to Bartlett, Bendall & Kadesh.

The other names on the door are Doyle Bartlett, earlier chief of staff for Rep. Bill McCollum (R-Fla.), and Jennifer Bendall, former lobbyist for Vivendi and the Recording Industry Association of America and policy adviser to Sen. Richard Shelby (R-Ala.).

Also leaving the Hill is Elliot S. Berke, most recently counsel to House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.), who has signed up with GOP lobby shop Barbour Griffith & Rogers as general counsel. He will focus on advising clients and the firm on such issues as foreign agent registration, lobbying disclosure and campaign finance issues.

Andrew Halatei and Ashlie T. Van Meter stepped off Capitol Hill to join the Stanton Park lobby shop. Halatei worked for Rep. J. Randy Forbes (R-Va.), and Van Meter worked for Rep. Melissa Hart (R-Pa.). Also, Brian Cavey, earlier with Washington Group International and Baucus, has joined Stanton Park.

That's Saying a Lot

Thank goodness they have finally officially merged and changed their name.

Two national associations of state and local air pollution control agencies have worked together for many years and have gone by their joint name of the State and Territorial Air Pollution Program Administrators/Association of Local Air Pollution Control Officials -- or STAPPA/ALAPCO for short.

The new name: the National Association of Clean Air Agencies. The longtime executive director of the two original groups and now the merged organization is S. William Becker.

NACAA might not be elegant, but it's a whole lot easier to say. Becker notes that people now ask "if I can get them Final Four tickets."

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