In the big-money world of federal appropriations, sometimes relatively small amounts are nothing to sneeze at.
Indeed, the legal services community is thrilled that Congress approved in the omnibus appropriations bill $9.5 million more for the Legal Services Corp., a longtime target of conservative Republicans, than President Bush's request of $329.3 million.
Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) had sought $19 million more, to help 26 states that would be losing significant amounts of federal legal aid funding in fiscal 2003 because of shifts in state poverty populations. Federal law requires the LSC to distribute funds based on the most recent census data. Harkin had some GOP support in the Senate, particularly from Pete V. Domenici (N.M.) and Gordon Smith (Ore.).
While LSC lawyers are prohibited from lobbying, the National Legal Aid and Defender Association (NLADA) organized a grass-roots effort to lobby lawmakers. Lawyers in private practice, the American Bar Association and members of the National Organization of Legal Services Workers, the union representing workers in federally funded legal services programs, called lawmakers from the states that were hit hard by the new census numbers.
LSC supporters were concerned that the Washington atmosphere of deficits and tax cuts would work to their disadvantage. And some LSC supporters worried that Rep. Frank R. Wolf (R-Va.), chairman of the House Appropriations subcommittee with jurisdiction over LSC funding, would hold fast to the president's budget numbers.
"We worked steadily since July . . . against some serious odds," said Julie Clark, NLADA's senior vice president for government relations. Wolf said yesterday that there was no controversy over the LSC funding and that he was not subjected to any lobbying campaign. House and Senate appropriations conferees split the difference between Bush's budget and Harkin's $19 million addition.
"This is a program that helps the poor. . . .We've always been for the program," Wolf said.
Yet LSC supporters noted that the program has fought to survive over the years, and has had only level funding the past few years.
"If you look at the history of the LSC, you realize the tremendous symbolic meaning of getting $10 million," said Eric D. Kleiman, communications director for the LSC.
Chamber of Commerce Hires Legal Champion
Hoping to maintain the momentum of its fight against what it considers frivolous class-action lawsuits and other trial lawyer "sins," the U.S. Chamber of Commerce has created a post for Stanton D. Anderson as executive vice president and chief legal officer to oversee all of the chamber's legal issues.
While remaining a partner at the D.C. law firm of McDermott, Will & Emery, where he is head of the legislative practice group, Anderson will coordinate the chamber's National Chamber Litigation Center, the public policy legal arm of the group; the Institute for Legal Reform (ILR) and the office of general counsel.
An adviser to the chamber for some time, Anderson said he has been helping to run the ILR since James Wootton left last year for private practice. Effective next month, the new head of the ILR will be Lisa A. Rickard, vice president of federal and state government affairs for Dow Chemical Co., Anderson said.
Anderson said the idea behind establishing his new post "was to create at the chamber more mass and more experience on legal reform issues."
"Stan is . . . a skilled political analyst and a proven leader," chamber CEO Thomas Donohue said in a written statement. "It is critical that the chamber build on its early victories in tort reform. . . . Stan combines the legal insight and political know-how to help make a difference in those efforts."
Anderson served in the Nixon White House and was deputy assistant secretary of state for congressional relations under Henry Kissinger. He was counsel to the Reagan-Bush campaign in 1980.
Baker, Donelson Signs Public Policy Democrats
Baker, Donelson, Bearman & Caldwell, a Tennessee-based law firm, has signed on two Democrats for its public policy group.
Eric Washburn, former top energy and environment adviser to Senate Minority Leader Thomas A. Daschle (D-S.D.), is joining the firm as a senior public policy adviser. (Already at the firm: transportation lobbyist Linda Daschle, the senator's wife.)
The other newcomer to the firm as a policy adviser is Seth Radus, formerly senior legislative assistant to then-Rep. Karen L. Thurman (D-Fla.). He'll specialize in health care issues.
Furthermore . . .
Matthew Clark, a former legislative aide to Rep. John Shadegg (R-Ariz.) and veteran of the Arizona Republican Party, is joining Americans for Tax Reform.
Wendy New joins the American Cancer Society's national government relations operation as director of strategic planning and operations. New had served as senior aide and director of West Wing office operations for Vice President Al Gore. Since her Gore days, New has been at Harvard's John F. Kennedy School of Government, earning her master's degree in public administration.
Judy Waxman, most recently deputy executive director at Families USA, has signed on with the National Women's Law Center as vice president for health and reproductive rights.
Manatt, Phelps & Phillips is the new home of Peter P. Arapis, former floor manager for Senate Democratic Whip Harry M. Reid (Nev.). He's a senior legislative adviser.