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Good Boy? Call it puppy love. Sen. Rick Santorum (R-Pa.) is pressing ahead with a measure that would set new commercial breeding standards for a range of animals, from dogs to lizards. The Pet Animal Welfare Statute, or PAWS, would subject home breeders and rescuers of pussycats and pooches to U.S. Department of Agriculture licensing by closing a loophole in the Animal Welfare Act, opponents say. Leading the No PAWS coalition is Bob Kane of the Sportsmen’s and Animal Owners’ Voting Alliance. Kane, who’s opposed to the legislation because it would regulate hunting dogs, has marshaled a growing coalition of breeders and pet lovers, including the Cat Fanciers’ Association, the American Dog Owners’ Association, the Polish Tatra Sheepdog Club of America, and the American Veal Association. Kane says he was not invited by Santorum to participate in a hearing late last year to discuss amending the bill. So instead, Kane took out an ad in Roll Call showing a bunch of animals being gagged outside the hearing room. Kane says he tried to get the National Rifle Association involved in his campaign, but it refused, choosing to stay loyal to Santorum in his heavily contested Senate race against Pennsylvania Treasurer Bob Casey (D). The bill, which is also being sponsored by Sen. Richard Durbin (D-Ill.), has been four to five years in the making. Santorum’s press secretary, Robert Traynham, says the senator is still pushing ahead with the measure and opposition is minimal. He notes that among the bill’s supporters are the Humane Society of the United States and the American Kennel Club. The Doris Day Animal Foundation also formerly backed the bill but switched sides. Que sera, sera. — Joe Crea
Inch by Inch The next step in the lobby reform process looks to be drawing closer. This week, congressional leaders expect to announce the conferees for the committee that will bridge the gulf between the House and Senate lobby reform bills. Heidi Armstrong, a spokeswoman for House Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.), says she expects an announcement “sometime soon.” The conference committee is faced with reconciling two very different bills. The clash between the chambers centers on gift giving by lobbyists: The Senate bill would ban it outright, while the House version calls only for the documenting of gifts. Treatment of grass-roots groups and lobbyist-paid travel will also need to be hammered out. The Senate bill is far more restrictive on both counts. Major changes to the House version could spell doom for the reform effort. Though the Senate bill passed overwhelmingly by a 90-8 margin, in the House it was a tight, largely party-line 216-207 vote. — Andy Metzger
General Patton Maybe they’re getting a little registration weary, but regardless, lobbyists at Patton Boggs had to be beaming last week after signing on a bevy of new clients. Among them are the American Association of Orthodontists (reimbursement adjustments), Clemson University, Mission Capital, the American College of Rheumatology, Detroit Economic Growth Corp. (appropriations), the Greater Lafourche Port Commission, Hillside Capital Inc., the London Stock Exchange (regulation of security exchanges), the Matanuska Electric Association (expanding tax-free bonding authority to certain Alaskan cooperative associations), Mosaic Potash Carlsbad Inc. (OSHA and MSHA regulations), the Port Gamble S’Klallam Tribe (issues related to tribal constitution), the Presbyterian Villages of Michigan (federal funding for elder-care programs), and Datacard Group. That client roster follows up on what apparently was a strong last half of 2005 for Patton Boggs. According to 181 year-end reports released by the Senate Office of Public Records last week, the firm raked in a total of $17.6 million in lobby loot. That’s in addition to the $4.8 million reported in filings already released by the Senate. Patton Boggs’ clients were a motley crew. Mars Inc., maker of M&M’s, Milky Way, and the tragically underappreciated Bounty bar (Saddam Hussein was purportedly a fan), shelled out $1 million in the last six months of 2005 for Patton Boggs’ help on a variety of chocolate-related issues. Mars’ chief policy concerns: the West African cocoa supply, nutrition standards, and negotiations over the Central American Free Trade Agreement, which contained several contentious sugar provisions. The Association of Trial Lawyers of America, a decidedly less appetizing client, spent $920,000 on its lobbying with the firm, while Wal-Mart Stores Inc. ponied up $100,000 for work on health care and CAFTA-related issues. The Jena Band of Choctaw Indians, whose efforts to build a Louisiana casino Jack Abramoff tried to thwart in 2002, chipped in $20,000 to Patton Boggs, its only lobbyists on record. (The Choctaws still don’t have a casino.) Another big winner in the last half of the year was Sonnenschein, Nath & Rosenthal, which seemed to have the prosthesis market covered, pocketing $60,000 for its work for the Amputee Coalition of America and $40,000 from the American Academy of Orthotists & Prosthetists. Meanwhile, the Washington Group scored $180,000 from Freddie Mac, and the Federalist Group took in $220,000 from the Internet gambling trade coalition Poker Players Alliance to work on online-gaming issues. — Joe Crea and Andy Metzger
House Rules While Patton Boggs was the outside firm of choice, several corporations also spent big money in house, according to the Senate filings. Toyota Motor North America reported dropping $3.42 million on its lobby operation during the last half of 2005. Union Pacific Corp. was close behind at $2.1 million, and the Shaw Group, which has scored tens of millions of dollars in Hurricane Katrina-related rebuilding contracts, spent $670,000. Alliant Energy dished out $320,000 to lobby on a variety of gas issues, while Sunoco Inc. spent $280,000. Universal Music Group reported laying out $250,000, targeting issues such as broadcast-flag legislation, parts of a child pornography bill relating to peer-to-peer technology, and intellectual property protection matters in China and Russia. Yum! Brands, the company that brings you fine dining from KFC, Taco Bell, and Pizza Hut, spent $350,000 to lobby on maladies affecting both bird and beast. Yum!’s lobby efforts were focused on the political issues surrounding mad cow disease and bird flu. Finally, one lobby disclosure report released last week proves that some beasts are nearly impossible to slay. Enron Inc.’s infamous “E” logo was auctioned off long ago, but the defunct company was still able to come up with $80,000 to fight provisions in last year’s energy bill that would have required it to make termination payments to utilities, municipalities, and former business partners. — Andy Metzger
Viva L’Alcatel! Count PodestaMattoon as the latest lobby shop to grab a piece of the $14.1 billion merger between French telecom company Alcatel and U.S.-based Lucent Technologies Inc. The deal looms as possibly the next major foreign acquisition to incur the wrath of Congress, after the failed acquisition of six U.S. ports by a Dubai company and last year’s attempt by a state-owned Chinese oil conglomerate to acquire California oil giant Unocal Corp. Though PodestaMattoon did not return a phone call seeking comment, it isn’t the only firm helping with the merger. Lucent recently hired WilmerHale’s Jamie Gorelick, Reginald Brown, and Stephen Preston to advise on a complex regulatory approval process, and Alcatel has retained Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom; Patton Boggs; and the Duberstein Group to work on its end of the deal. — Joe Crea
Small �C.’ A conservative judicial group going after the Bush White House? Well, maybe it’s not as absurd as it sounds. No, it isn’t Progress for America, the Bush backer that blanketed the country with ad blitzes to confirm Supreme Court nominees John Roberts Jr. and Samuel Alito Jr., but Judicial Watch, a conservative group that was recently successful in getting the U.S. Secret Service to release White House logs noting visits by Jack Abramoff. The logs show two documented visits by the disgraced lobbyist, one in 2004 and another in 2001. Chris Ferrell, Judicial Watch’s director of research, says the group is philosophically conservative with a small c. Ferrell says his group, which does not endorse political parties or politicians, has come under fire from both Republicans and Democrats. The group repeatedly went after the Clinton administration and took the Bush White House to task over Vice President Dick Cheney’s energy task force. “I don’t think he [Cheney] likes us, and the White House is none too thrilled about us pressing them on this Abramoff thing,” says Ferrell. “But they need to explain why a felon was wandering the White House.” — Joe Crea
Cool Down Is the Justice Department finally cracking down on new lobbyists who violate the one-year ban on contacting their former congressional bosses? Last week it was reported that Justice broke new ground by prosecuting Jack Abramoff lobbyists Neil Volz and Tony Rudy for violating the one-year cooling-off period. But Volz, a former chief of staff to Rep. Bob Ney (R-Ohio), and Rudy, the former deputy chief of staff to Rep. Tom DeLay (R-Texas), were anomalies in that they were guilty of far more serious crimes, and Congress has not sent a message to Justice that it wants stronger enforcement, says Thomas Susman, a partner at Ropes & Gray and the co-editor of a how-to digest, The Lobbying Manual. Kenneth Gross, a partner at Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom and an election-law expert, adds that historically, the Justice Department has gone after revolving-door activities between the executive branch and the private sector, but Volz and Rudy represent a breakthrough because both went from the legislative to the private sphere. The current Senate lobby reform bill would extend the year ban to two years. But, as noted, that bill still has to be reconciled with the House version. — Joe Crea
Cable Guise Tired of fighting city hall? So are AT&T, the National Association of Manufacturers, and other business interests that have formed TV4US. They’d rather take the fight to Congress. They’re advocating for a national cable franchising process, which would enable cable providers to reach an agreement with the federal government to provide television service nationwide. Currently, cable providers must reach franchising agreements with individual municipalities. TV4US has signed up Dewey Square Group to lobby on the issue. Joe Eyer will be taking the lead for Dewey. The effort will target key members of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce and the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, both of which are considering separate bills to create a national cable-franchising process. The bills were introduced May 1 by Rep. Joe Barton (R-Texas) and Sen. Ted Stevens (R-Alaska). The proposals follow the lead of state legislatures, which have recently taken steps toward overhauling cable franchising. Florida’s House of Representatives recently passed a bill allowing telephone companies to market cable television service across the state without negotiating with municipalities. California is considering a similar measure. — Gabe Nelson

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