Fighting Attorney General John D. Ashcroft and reauthorization of the USA Patriot Act, the Alliance for Justice yesterday turned to "Spy-Der-Man" for help.
In an Internet animation, Ashcroft is portrayed in a bunchy Spider-Man suit as Spy-Der-Man, grabbing hospital records, computers and library books with his spider webbing. The alliance has a Web site (www.ashcroftresign.org) that has petitions to sign calling on the attorney general to resign, and stuff for sale.
The alliance, a liberal national association of civil rights, environmental, women's and other groups, has been arguing that Ashcroft has gone too far in intruding on free speech, privacy and due process in the name of fighting terrorism.
"We think this Flash animation will be able to reach many more individuals than our traditional grass-roots means," President Nan Aron said. "We sent it out on the Internet to our list, expecting these people to send it out to their lists, creating a viral event."
Spy-Der-Man is a project of the alliance's Allies for Justice, directed by Natacha Blain, a former chief counsel for Sen. Richard J. Durbin (D-Ill.) and most recently a Supreme Court fellow. Also new to the group is Marissa Brown, formerly of the League of Conservation Voters, who is vice president in charge of alliance operations.
A Basis for More Bases
While some military communities are lobbying the administration and Congress to prevent their bases from being closed, Kansas has hired the big guns of Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld to lobby for growing its military installations.
The Greater Topeka Chamber of Commerce, which is overseeing the effort on behalf of the state, recently retained the D.C. lobbying powerhouse. On the bipartisan team from Akin Gump are former House member Bill Paxon (R-N.Y.); Daniel R. Glickman, secretary of agriculture in the Clinton administration and a Democratic House member from Kansas before that; J. David Carlin, former assistant secretary for congressional relations at the USDA; Ado A. Machida, former deputy assistant for domestic policy to Vice President Cheney; John M. Simmons, former appropriations aide to Rep. James T. Walsh (R-N.Y.); and Bert L. Steele III, former Senate liaison for the Marine Corps.
Simmons said the four military installations they're looking after are Fort Leavenworth, Fort Riley, McConnell Air Force Base and Forbes Field.
"We're trying to show that we are a great location to grow," Simmons said, if the Base Realignment and Closures Commission decides to close some bases and move their operations to other installations. For instance, Simmons said, Fort Leavenworth, which is home to the Army Command and General Staff College, would be ideal to take in military education programs "realigned" out of other bases.
The Akin Gump team is helping to assess the communities' assets and value to the military, work with the Kansas congressional delegation and identify "alumni" who can help press the Kansas case.
"If you're not out there waving a flag, you're just in a crowd," Simmons said. "Being modest and quiet is not going to do it."
Latvia Campaigns to Reach Summit
The NATO summit for 2006 is some time away, but it's never too soon to lobby for being the host site.
The Embassy of Latvia has hired Dutko Group Cos. to help persuade the NATO allies to choose the former Soviet republic, a new NATO member, to host the 2006 summit.
"It's like any campaign," said Dutko's Ronald C. Kaufman. The lobbyists will be trying to convince NATO members "that it makes sense" and would show the world that the former Soviet republics and East Bloc countries that joined NATO have "come of age," he said.
Kaufman, who was deputy assistant for political affairs to President George H.W. Bush, said he was not sure that Dutko was required by law to register with Congress on this effort, but "I'd rather overcomply. . . . It's a close call."
Also on the Dutko team are Brian Sailer and Dutko Global Advisors' Sally Painter and Karen Tramontano, who was a deputy chief of staff to President Bill Clinton.
Matton Opens With Boeing
Michael N. Matton, recently retired from the Boeing Co. as vice president for legislative affairs, has gone into the lobbying business, setting up his own McLean shop, Michael N. Matton and Associates. His first lobbying client: Boeing. Matton was with the McDonnell Douglas Corp. before it merged with Boeing.
Kristin H. Roesser, who has served as a senior public affairs officer at the International Monetary Fund, has signed on with the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board -- affectionately known as the "PCAOB" -- as deputy director of government relations. As its Web site says, the board is a "private-sector, non-profit corporation, created by the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002, to oversee the auditors of public companies in order to protect the interests of investors."
Scott Melville joined the Healthcare Distribution Management Association earlier this week as senior vice president of government relations. He succeeds Sherry Haber who's retiring after 20 years. Melville was senior director of government affairs for Cephalon, a biopharmaceutical company, and earlier worked for F. Hoffmann-La Roche, Sterling Winthrop Inc. and Rep. Jerry Lewis (R-Calif.).
Bill Cullo joins Wilson Research Strategies, a Qorvis Co., as executive vice president. Cullo, who was deputy director of polling for the presidential campaign of former senator Robert J. Dole (R-Kan.), most recently was with the research firm of Fabrizio, McLaughlin & Associates.