If any client is able to shell out big bucks to lobby the American public and policymakers, it would be a good guess that client would be Saudi Arabia.
The Royal Embassy of Saudi Arabia is paying Qorvis Communications $200,000 a month for advertising expenses, lobbying, public affairs and research. Influence, an online publication on lobbying, reports that Qorvis has already received a whopping $3.8 million for work on behalf of Saudi Arabia since last year.
"It's been a fascinating client and at a fascinating time," said Michael Petruzzello, one of Qorvis's founders and the former chief executive of Shandwick North America.
In on the deal are Patton Boggs, the lobby and law firm that owns a chunk of Qorvis, and the Gallagher Group. The Patton Boggs team includes Edward J. Newberry and John J. Deschauer Jr. and the Gallagher Group lobbyist is James P. Gallagher, who has previously done work for Saudi Arabia, Petruzzello said. Also on board from Qorvis is Judy Smith, who provided crisis management communications for Monica S. Lewinsky and others and was senior vice president of corporate communications at NBC and deputy press secretary to former president George Bush. Petruzzello said he wasn't sure how the money broke down among the group.
Petruzzello said Saudi Arabia signed on last October after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. Saudi Arabia wanted to get the message across to the American people that it abhorred the attacks and that it was and is America's ally in the war against terrorism, he said. Now, the team is helping to promote Saudi Arabia's vision for peace in the Middle East.
Petruzzello said the work is not "lobbying," but "educating" the public and policymakers.
"This is an important relationship for both sides. It was tested after September 11th and survived that test," Petruzzello said.
Biomedical Group Gets New Official
Mary Hanley, director of public affairs for former commerce secretary William Daley and most recently communications director for the White House Council on Environmental Quality, has signed with the National Association for Biomedical Research as executive vice president.
The association is a nonprofit representing more than 350 medical, academic, pharmaceutical and biotech institutions that supports the use of animals in biomedical research, product safety testing and education.
Hanley had also worked at the State Department during the Carter administration, the Wilderness Society and Infotech Strategies.
Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund Hires 3
The Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund, which works to elect gay and lesbian candidates on the federal, state and local fronts, has three new folks. Bob Kearney, former director of field and state operations for the American Psychological Association and national field director for the American Civil Liberties Union, is the group's new political director, and Jason Young, media relations coordinator for People for the American Way, is the communications director. Craig Wilkinson, project manager for the Center for Community-Based Health Strategies, joins as deputy development director March 28.
The Victory Fund says that since its beginning in 1991, it has raised about $3 million for candidates and helped to quadruple the number of openly gay office holders to more than 200. Victory Fund endorsements cross party lines.
Ex-Dole Worker to Run UPS's PAC Royal Roth is trucking over to the United Parcel Service, where he'll manage its political action committee. Roth had been vice president for political affairs at the American Trucking Associations. He also worked for the Dole for President campaign, was deputy finance director for Campaign America and worked at major-donor fundraising at the National Republican Senatorial Committee.
Pernod Ricard Fills Government Position
Matthew Godlewski moves over from Joseph E. Seagram & Sons Inc., where he was a lobbyist, to Pernod Ricard USA as director of state and federal policy, a new position. Pernod Ricard's outpost in the United States had been known as Austin, Nichols & Co., which became Pernod Ricard USA with the acquisition of the Seagram Spirits and Wine Group.
Environmental, Energy Lobby Shop Debuts
Longtime Texaco environmental lobbyist and counsel William Bresnick has set up his own shop, Energy & Environment Twenty-One Inc. The government relations shop naturally will specialize in energy and environmental protection issues.
Ex-Bush Aide Joins Dutko as Vice President
The DCS Group, the public affairs arm of the Dutko Group Cos., has brought on Brian Sailer to be vice president, and Dutko's state-based firm, Kauffman Pattee Branstad & Miller, has signed on Gian-Carlo Peressutti to be an associate.
Sailer previously was managing director of the Launch Co., a high-tech strategic consulting shop. Peressutti comes from the White House Office of Public Liaison; earlier, he worked for former president George Bush as an aide and press secretary.