Potomac fever, love of politics and being in the best place to take advantage of one's experience and connections has probably resulted in what seems to be a lot of folks in the lobbying biz who hail back to the Reagan administration.
"There's no common denominator, but there are a lot of us," said M.B. Oglesby, former head of legislative affairs and deputy chief of staff to President Ronald Reagan. "People get involved in politics because they enjoy it." Oglesby is vice chairman of the lobby shop BKSH & Associates.
"We were all relatively young when we worked for the president. I was in my thirties," said Frank Donatelli, who was White House political director for Reagan and now heads the federal public policy practice at McGuireWoods Consulting. "It's a pretty good credential to say you worked for President Reagan."
Also at the top of lists of former Reagan folks in the lobbying community are Kenneth Duberstein, former White House chief of staff and head of the Duberstein Group; and Craig Fuller, assistant to Reagan for Cabinet affairs and now chief executive of the National Association of Chain Drug Stores, after a series of high-profile lobbying jobs.
Other Reagan administration veterans who stayed in town to lobby and spin and advise include -- and this is by no means a comprehensive list -- Michael E. Baroody, who was in the Labor Department, now executive vice president of the National Association of Manufacturers; Frederick McClure, who worked in legislative affairs for the White House, now at Sonnenschein Nath & Rosenthal; David Bockorny, also in legislative affairs, who has his own lobby shop; Judy Black, special assistant for intergovernmental affairs, now at Brownstein Hyatt & Farber; Robert J. Kabel, legislative affairs on the Senate side, now at Baker & Daniels; Robert K. Dawson, civilian head of the Army Corps of Engineers, Dawson & Associates; Hal Furman, deputy assistant secretary of the interior, the Furman Group; Richard J. Doubrava, the Carmen Group; and John Tuck, legislative affairs, now at Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell & Berkowitz.
Some folks have been in and out of government, including Linda Arey Skladany, who was deputy director of the White House Office of Public Liaison, worked as a lobbyist at Parry, Romani, DeConcini & Syms, and is now at the Food and Drug Administration; and Pamela Turner, who did legislative affairs, landed at the National Cable and Telecommunications Association and is now at the Department of Homeland Security.
Some fell in love with each other as well as Washington: Heidi and John Stirrup met when they worked in the Reagan administration. Heidi Stirrup worked in presidential personnel, later lobbied on behalf of the Christian Coalition, worked for then-House Majority Leader Richard K. Armey (R-Tex.) and is now doing lobbying at the law firm Venable. John Stirrup held a number of posts at the departments of Labor, Commerce, and Housing and Urban Development and is now at Foley & Lardner.
The fact that so many former Reagan people are still in town "to me is good news," said Heidi Stirrup. "People do influence policy."
And, of course, there's Michael K. Deaver, who was deputy chief of staff to Reagan. After he left the administration, Time magazine ran a photo of him on its cover with the headline "Who's This Man Calling? Influence Peddling in Washington." Deaver was later investigated and convicted on three counts of lying about lobbying contacts he made after leaving the White House. He was sentenced to three years of probation, fined and directed to perform 1,500 hours of community service. Deaver said after his trial that his judgment had been clouded and portions of his memory erased by alcoholism.
But Deaver has risen from the scandal and is now vice chairman-international for public relations giant Edelman.
Gardner Carton & Douglas continues to grow its D.C. operations, raiding the law firm of Arent Fox for Robert J. Waters, who will chair Gardner Carton's government relations group and join its health law department, which has four other lobbyists.
Waters earlier was chief of staff for Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa).
The other four lobbyists are R. Edwin Redfern, a former aide to Sen. Charles E. Grassley (R-Iowa); Ilisa M. Halpern, former director of federal affairs at the American Public Health Association and ex-aide to Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif); Christine K. Williams; and Jackie Eder-Van Hook.
Looking to grow again: Bergner, Bockorny, Castagnetti & Hawkins, which has lost some folks over the past year, and the Petrizzo Group are merging, forming Bockorny Petrizzo Inc. Republican lobbyists David Bockorny and T. J. Petrizzo will oversee a firm of 12 lobbyists, including Democrats, and hope to add several more by the end of the year.
Hill Veterans on the Move
Furthermore . . . Douglas F. Bennett, executive vice president of Timmons and Co. and earlier GOP counsel to the House Energy and Commerce Committee, is moving next month to the Liberty Mutual Group as vice president for federal affairs and head of its new D.C. public affairs office.
Maria Berthoud, senior vice president for federal government affairs at the Independent Insurance Agents and Brokers of America and a former staffer for Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman (D-Conn.), has joined B&D Sagamore Associates as a vice president.
Hill veteran Lisa Meyer has joined Cornerstone Government Affairs as a vice president, specializing in health care policy. She served stints for Sen. Pat Roberts (R-Kan.), Rep. Doug Bereuter (R-Neb.) and Rep. Jim Ryun (R-Kan.).
United Way of America has signed on Patrick W. Lester as director of public policy. Most recently, Lester was senior public policy analyst at the Maryland Association of Nonprofit Organizations and legislative director for the Coalition on Human Needs.