Michael Patrick Flanagan, the Republican youngster (he was only 31) who stunned the Democratic establishment by sweeping 18-termer Dan Rostenkowski out of his House seat representing Chicago in 1994 and then was swept out himself two years later, is coming back to the Washington scene.
As a lobbyist, of course.
Part of the Republican revolution that took over the House, Flanagan joins the Wexler Group Oct. 18 as a principal and senior director. The lobby shop named for chairman Anne Wexler, a denizen of the Carter White House, has been making an effort, like other firms known for their Democratic ties, to become bipartisan. The group's most visible Republican is president Robert S. Walker, a former member of Congress from Pennsylvania who also left office in 1996.
"We feel we've done a really good job becoming bipartisan," said Joel Malina, a principal and director of communications. Malina said that Wexler officials found that "folks from both parties remembered [Flanagan] fondly."
"Having worked side by side with Mike in Congress, I know how valuable his insights and counsel will be to our clients," Walker said in a prepared statement.
Flanagan, who could not be reached for comment yesterday, will work on a variety of issues, Malina says. Since leaving office, he's done some consulting with the Chicago Transit Authority, also a Wexler client, and has been working on a book of reflections on Congress.
Moving From D.C. to D.C.
Speaking of lawmakers turned lobbyists . . . Dennis E. Eckart, a former Democratic member of the House from Ohio, is leaving the D.C. office of Arter & Hadden to take his lobbying practice to the D.C. office of Baker & Hostetler on Monday. There, he joins the legislative group, including Fred Graefe, former representative Guy Vander Jagt (R-Mich.) and Matt Dolan, once an aide to then-Sen. David Durenberger (R-Minn.).
"It's not a departure driven by angst," Eckart said, but of opportunity and Baker & Hostetler's "phenomenal" media and technology practice.
He says he's taking his clients with him, some of whom already have other work done by Baker & Hostetler, such as the Hearst Corp. and News Corp.
Both law firms are based in Cleveland, of singular importance to Eckart, who has family in Cleveland as well as season tickets to the Cleveland Indians games.
CapitolWatch, which bills itself as a nonpartisan grass-roots organization "committed to protecting Social Security and Medicare and defending American taxpayers from higher taxes and wasteful spending," has recently elected its board of directors: Randall P. Schumacher of Jefferson Government Relations; William Jarrell of Preston, Gates, Ellis & Rouvelas, Meeds; S. Bradley Traverse of U.S. Strategies Corp.; Robb Watters of Ruder-Finn Global Public Affairs; and Beau Phillips of Chlopak, Leonard, Schechter & Associates.
Lobbyists who sit on the group's board say they are there because of their own interest in CapitolWatch's work, not because of their clients. Watters, president of the board, says they're all unpaid.
"I've known about CapitolWatch for a number of years. They do great work," said Jarrell, former deputy chief of staff to House Majority Whip Tom DeLay (R-Tex.).
"I recruited people who had no agenda on the issue but understood how to move the ball down the field," Watters said.
The group backs legislation to create a Social Security "lockbox," which would prevent the spending of any Social Security Trust Fund surplus on other programs. CapitolWatch met yesterday with Sen. Spencer Abraham (R-Mich.), a supporter of lockbox legislation.
"Our people love the lockbox," Watters said. "The issue crosses party lines."
Two New VPs
SISCORP has added two senior vice presidents: Bob Meissner, formerly a Department of Defense legislative affairs director and more recently deputy director of the Washington office of Litton Industries Inc., and Don Massey, previously a senior vice president at Fleishman-Hillard Inc., who also served as chief counsel of the Senate Appropriations Committee and deputy sergeant at arms for the Senate.
Beer, Trees, Bonds and Health
On Friday, Jeffrey G. Becker, vice president of alcohol issues at the Beer Institute, moves up to become president, representing the trade group on legislative and public policy matters on the Hill. He replaces Ray McGrath, who resigned earlier this year.
Sharon H. Kneiss, Chevron Corp.'s federal relations representative, joins the American Forest and Paper Association as vice president for regulatory affairs.
John R. Vogt, senior vice president of the Bond Market Association, adds to his duties the running of the trade group's D.C. office and lobbying operation. He succeeds Micah S. Green, who becomes chief operating officer but will remain heavily involved in its lobbying effort, according to a spokeswoman. The group represents securities firms and banks that underwrite, trade and sell debt securities.
George Strait, a medical correspondent with ABC News since 1983, is joining IssueSphere, a PR firm devoted to health issues. He'll be a senior counselor.