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Super Furry Animals How exactly does a Mississippi pest-control worker and exotic-pet owner become acquainted with a major Washington lobbyist? Well, in the case of Mark McDaniels, who keeps two monkeys at home, and William Hanka, partner at the Ferguson Group, there was a sort of yenta at work. McDaniels is president of a group called Uniting a Proactive Primate and Exotic Animal League, whose mission is to preserve the rights of private exotic-pet owners. Turns out another of Hanka’s clients, Mike Daly, a commissioner for Deschutes County in central Oregon, is a fellow monkey owner and another member of the exotic-animal lobby group. When the group began seeking Washington representation, Daly played matchmaker for the group and Hanka. “I was happy to work for them. They’re very nice folks,” says Hanka, who is lobbying for the year-old organization against the Captive Primate Safety Act of 2005, a bill that proposes a ban on the interstate pet trade in monkeys, chimpanzees, orangutans, and other primates. The bill passed by unanimous consent in the Senate on July 11 but remains in subcommittee in the House. McDaniels has kept primates as pets for 20 years and says his squirrel monkey and black-capped capuchin “mainly hang out and watch TV” with him and his wife inside their home. Although many individual states already outlaw private ownership of these animals, the bill would not put a federal ban on privately owning primates; rather it aims only to prevent interstate sales and shipping of them. Still, says McDaniels, “They’re trying to take away our rights as American citizens to own our exotic animals.” Groups such as the Humane Society of the United States, though, are strong advocates of the captive-primate bill, which is similar to a measure passed in 2003 outlawing interstate trade of lions, tigers, and other big cats. As Beth Preiss, the director of the exotic-pets campaign at the society, explains, “We think keeping these animals as pets is both dangerous for people and for the animal.” She says the Senate’s passage of the legislation was “a huge victory for the animals,” but that the society will continue “lobbying vigorously” in the House, trying to get more co-sponsors and meeting with congressional staff. Despite the Senate’s support for the bill, McDaniels, who also owns 14 dogs and four house cats, is hopeful it will fail in the House. He says the Senate bill is unenforceable because it imposes language meant for the commercial pet trade on private owners. His group’s allies in the House have promised to vote against the legislation, he says, adding that at this point “it looks promising.” — Marisa McQuilken
All in the Family A lobbyist close to Sen. Arlen Specter (R-Pa.) is continuing to build his 10-month-old firm. Anthony Cunningham, the founder of CHAMWORKS, a government relations firm based in Philadelphia, has been close to Specter and his wife for years, having served most recently as the executive director of the senator’s southeastern Pennsylvania office. Before working for Specter, the 37-year-old lobbyist was the director of constituent services for Specter’s wife, former Philadelphia Councilwoman-at-Large Joan Specter. Cunningham left Specter’s office in September, and his firm has done appropriations work for Franklin Fuel Cells Inc., a technology and research company based in Malvern, Pa., and the Philadelphia Theatre Company. The firm recently registered with the Senate to lobby for Osiris Group Inc., a Philadelphia-based communications firm, and the Philadelphia Mural Arts Advocates. Times are tough for appropriations lobbyists, since the practice has come under increased scrutiny with a federal investigation of clients of the former Copeland Lowery Jacquez Denton & White. Nevertheless, Cunningham says he hasn’t had any trouble increasing his business. “I have not had any problems,” he says. “This season is probably the most active I’ve been.” — Joe Crea

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