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Boehner’s Gang Rep. John Boehner (R-Ohio), the newly minted House majority leader, ran as the candidate of reform, but his ties to K Street are among the most extensive in the House. Terry Holt, best known as the spokesman for George W. Bush’s 2004 campaign, was Boehner’s press secretary at the House Republican Conference from 1996 to 1999. For Holt, it’s especially good timing. He opened his own communications shop, Holt Strategies, at the beginning of the year. Meanwhile, management at Cassidy & Associates may be shaken up over Boehner’s upset win. Gregg Hartley, its chief operating officer and Rep. Roy Blunt‘s former chief of staff, openly campaigned for his old boss. On the other hand, Christy Evans, a Cassidy lobbyist, worked in Boehner’s office from 1993 to 1998. Marc Lampkin, also a former Boehner staffer, now at Quinn Gillespie & Associates, was mum on how his former boss’s win will affect his business. “I haven’t even thought about that,” he said. Other Boehner staffers turned lobbyists include John Fish, a former legislative director now at R.J. Reynolds Tobacco, and Brenda Reese, now at Bockorny Petrizzo. — Andy Metzger
The Jesuit Way In these days of scandal for K Street, perhaps it’s no surprise that a small, 97-page book on ethics and lobbying is making something of a comeback. Published by the Woodstock Theological Center along with Georgetown University Press, the book, The Ethics of Lobbying: Organized Interests, Political Power, and the Common Good, did not make much of a splash when it debuted, in 2002. It lacked a distributor and really wasn’t marketed. But Gasper Lo Biondo, the director of the center, hopes to change that as Washington’s current zeal for lobby reform takes flight. Lo Biondo says there is no elaborate plan to push the book onto store shelves, but the center wants to sponsor workshops with congressional staffers in the next year to discuss the book’s lessons on lobbying. The message of the slim tome is ecumenical, as Woodstock is an independent institute established by the Jesuits at Georgetown. It focuses on the individual’s moral compass and how one’s underlying approach to life relates to the lobbying profession as a whole. In the 1990s, Edward Arroyo, who served as a senior fellow at the center, conducted roughly 50 interviews with lobbyists that led to the book. The center held events at the time with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the American League of Lobbyists, but Thomas Susman, a partner at Ropes & Gray who participated in some seminars at the time of the book’s release, says one criticism is that the book doesn’t really deal with the issue of money in politics. “What do we do about dollars, campaign finance, and the relationship between all these things?” he says. “The report was remarkably void of serious discussion.” Copies of the book were sent to every U.S. congressional member in 2002, but one lawmaker sent the book back with a note saying, sorry, he couldn’t accept gifts. “I don’t know how serious or cynical that comment was,” Arroyo says. Who was that member with a sense of humor? True to their Jesuit vows, Arroyo and Lo Biondo kept that information in confidence. — Joe Crea
Status Quo Union Though most Americans may tire of the laundry list of sundries that clog the average State of the Union address, at least one group pays rapt attention. After all, they aren’t so much policy aspirations as a road map to the year ahead. Take, for example, last year’s speech, which President George W. Bush used to launch his push for an overhaul of the Social Security system. That movement, however ill-fated, did manage to tie up Congress for months. So, a year later, lobbyists were watching the address with a keen eye for any big ideas — anything, in other words, that might derail the issues they’re working on. What a difference a year makes. “Nobody takes any of these budget proposals seriously,” says Rich Gold, head of Holland & Knight‘s lobby practice, his comment reflecting both Bush’s diminished political standing and the pie-in-the-sky nature of proposals typically put forth in the annual address. Lobbyists doubt that anything proposed in the president’s speech last week — including the desire to slash oil imports by 75 percent — will throw a wrench in Congress’ agenda the way Social Security reform proposals did last year. Part of that, they say, is the need to stick to a strict schedule in an election year. “That speech really passed in the wind,” adds Gold. — Andy Metzger

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