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Plan C Declaring that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration “sacrificed women’s health in the name of politics” by green-lighting Barr Laboratories’ application to sell, over-the-counter, the contraceptive drug Plan B last month, Family Research Council (FRC) President Tony Perkins says the conservative group is looking into legal and legislative action. Tom McClusky, vice president for government affairs at the FRC, says the group is still drafting (along with the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons) legal documents in addition to recruiting other organizations to assist in its effort against the FDA and Barr Laboratories, a subsidiary of the generic-drug manufacturer Barr Pharmaceuticals Inc. But not all conservatives have drunk the Kool-Aid and agree that the morning-after pill will increase sexual promiscuity or is tantamount to abortion. “I worked in the Reagan White House and I dislike abortion as much as anyone, but I think Plan B stops abortion,” says Jake Hansen, vice president of government affairs for Barr Pharmaceuticals and a former executive director of the American Conservative Union. Hansen says the bulk of his lobbying work is providing information to allies and adversaries, though he concedes most have already made up their minds about the drug. “It doesn’t matter what information you give them,” he adds. Barr Laboratories is represented in town by Jefferson Consulting Group, Clark and Associates, Stanton Park Group, Winston & Strawn, Broydrick & Associates, and Zuckerman Spaeder, though Hansen says they haven’t been deployed for any lobbying war . . . yet. — Joe Crea
On His Own Former Mehlman Vogel Castagnetti lobbyist Stewart Verdery Jr. has opened his own shop, Monument Policy Group. Verdery, who left Mehlman Vogel earlier this summer, characterized his departure as an “amicable divorce.” Verdery, 39, joined Mehlman Vogel in March 2005, after two years at the Department of Homeland Security as an assistant secretary for policy, handling immigration, international travel, and cargo security. He took nine clients with him when he left, including the American Immigration Lawyers Association, the National Business Travel Association, XM Satellite Radio, and Cross Match Technologies. “At the end of day, I think, we had a slightly different vision of where we wanted to end up,” says Bruce Mehlman, the younger brother of Republican National Committee Chairman Ken Mehlman. “Stewart has strong ideas about where he wants his organization to be. We’ve gone out of our way to let him incubate his new venture,” adds Mehlman, who attended the University of Virginia School of Law with Verdery in the early 1990s. Verdery, whose new office is above the restaurant Ten Phen on Pennsylvania Avenue Northwest, says he plans to grow, although he is not yet in discussions with anyone. “Right now, it’s me and a lot of allies and confidants around town. One of the reasons people are interested in using my services is that I have a good network on the Hill, in the think tanks, and the media.” Verdery says he wanted to open his own shop in order to develop a “robust” homeland security practice. He says Mehlman Vogel’s large stable of technology and telecom companies also conflicted with some of his potential clients. — T.R. Goldman
Chichi With Attitude Fannie Mae threw a huge bash for some 1,200 people last week at Union Station, part of its ongoing support for the Congressional Black Caucus, whose annual legislative conference is one of the town’s best weeks for lavish parties (and a bit of policy-making on the side.) The Sept. 7 party, which one caterer in attendance said must have cost the quasi-federal agency at least $100,000, included a lavish buffet with broccoli cheese fritters, Thai meatballs, and spicy pecan clusters. But try asking Fannie Mae about one of the hottest parties of the week. “No comment,” said a very serious Brian Faith, who added, with an air of both irritation and mystery, “and we don’t have to explain why we’re declining comment, either.” — T.R. Goldman

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