The buzz is that Loeffler Jonas & Tuggey, the law firm founded by Tom Loeffler, a former Republican member of the House from Texas, is continuing its growth spurt with the major catch of former House member William H. Gray III.

Gray, who was majority whip when the Democrats controlled the House, brings his contacts not only to the Dems on the Hill but also to the Congressional Black Caucus. Gray, the pastor of Bright Hope Baptist Church in Philadelphia, is the former head of the United Negro College Fund, and last month he received the Award of Merit from the NAACP.

He also served as special adviser to President Bill Clinton and was the secretary of state for Haitian affairs.

Gray was traveling in Europe and could not be reached for comment, but a Loeffler Jonas insider confirmed that he would be joining the firm by the end of the month.

Loeffler, a major fundraiser for President Bush, apparently is not worried about his GOP friends who believe that lobby shops and trade associations should be hiring only Republicans. He recently brought on board Democrat Julie Domenick from the Investment Company Institute, and Wallace Henderson, who's worked for both sides -- Sen. John Breaux (D-La.) and Rep. W.J. "Billy" Tauzin (R-La.).

"Tom Loeffler, as strong a supporter of the president as he is, has always been one to reach across the aisle," the insider said. Nonetheless, "we'll be looking at a very senior Republican after the election."

The firm, earlier this year, also brought on Republicans Dallas "Rob" Sweezy, Joseph N. Mondello and Kristen Palasciano Gullott.

Can't just throw caution to the wind.

Torchbearer for Security

Another congressional veteran has been helping General Atomics of San Diego make sure it gets continued funding for its security system at the Statue of Liberty and Liberty Island.

George J. Hochbrueckner, a New York Democrat who served in the House from 1967 to 1994 and was a member of the Armed Services Committee, has been promoting General Atomics' E-Smart technology for Lady Liberty. The network of sensors, alarms, data analysis tools and other features was originally developed by General Atomics and the Air Force Research Laboratory to deal with environmental monitoring.

The system, which can take add-ons as technology changes, has gotten several million dollars from Congress as a demonstration project at Liberty Island with the Air Force and the National Park Service.

"I know all the players," said Hochbrueckner, noting his electronics engineering background.

George Hopper, vice president of Washington operations for General Atomics, said Hochbrueckner has been helping with the Northeast congressional delegations.

New Voice on Education, Nonprofits

News at the Livingston Group: Marjorie Strayer, a lobbyist at Capitol Impact, has signed on as director for the education and nonprofit practice area. Strayer formerly was chief of staff to Republican Reps. Heather Wilson (N.M.) and Randy Tate (Wash.). During the 1998 election cycle, she was director of incumbent retention for the National Republican Congressional Committee.

Also, Livingston and Jones Walker announced a strategic alliance with a new consulting company, DMC Consultors, headed by Dawson Martin Cancienne, former district chief of staff for Rep. W.J. "Billy" Tauzin (R-La.).

A Round of Address Changes

Thomas "TC" Roberge is leaving the staff of Sen. Peter Fitzgerald (R-Ill.), where he was legislative counsel, to lobby on behalf of the American Medical Association.

Caroline Fredrickson has joined NARAL Pro-Choice America, the major advocacy group for abortion rights, as general counsel and legal director. Earlier, she was chief of staff for Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.), deputy chief of staff to Senate Democratic leader Thomas A. Daschle (D-S.D.) and a special assistant to President Bill Clinton for legislative affairs.

Thomas Hunt Shipman is joining the National Food Processors Association next month as executive vice president of government affairs and communications. Most recently, he served as majority staff director for the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry, and earlier was deputy undersecretary of agriculture for farm and foreign agriculture services and a staff member of the Senate Appropriations Committee.

Witeck-Combs Communications brought two new folks on board: Glynnis Breen and Sam King. Breen comes from the National Organization on Disability and earlier worked at Ketchum Public Affairs. King came from the Corporate Executive Board.

Joe W. "Chip" Pitts III was recently elected chairman of the board of directors of Amnesty International USA. A resident of Texas, he is chairman of the Bill of Rights Defense Committee of Greater Dallas and has worked in private legal practice and as a "technology entrepreneur."

The Generic Pharmaceutical Association has signed on Richard Hegner as a senior policy adviser and Andrea Hofelich as director of media relations.

Hegner was a senior research associate at the National Health Policy Forum at George Washington University. Hofelich was communications director for the Senate Governmental Affairs Committee.