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Hello Again As soon-to-be- ex-politicos from both parties map their future downtown after the midterm shakeup, some of their congressional colleagues are doing the reverse. Rep. John Dingell (D-Mich.) is plucking two former staffers-turned-corporate-lobbyists from K Street, Dennis Fitzgibbons and Gregg Rothschild, as he takes over the House Energy and Commerce Committee in January. Hill veteran Fitzgibbons is returning as staff director after a six-year stint as director of public policy at DaimlerChrysler. Fitzgibbons, who spent more than 12 years on Capitol Hill, has been the committee’s deputy staff director and communications director. Rothschild, a former Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) staffer and former minority counsel at the Energy and Commerce Committee, is returning as chief counsel for the committee. Rothschild has been a lobbyist for communications giant Verizon for the past two years. While longtime Hill staffers acknowledge that much of the attraction comes from being in the majority, younger lobbyists are seeing it as an opportunity to shore up connections before jumping back into the private sector. Clete Johnson and Billy Wynne, both associates at Patton Boggs, left the firm before the election. Johnson is working as a defense and foreign policy legislative assistant for Sen. Jay Rockefeller IV (D-W.Va.). Wynne spent the past two years working health care issues at Patton Boggs. Neither have ever worked on the Hill. Wynne’s coming on as health counsel for the Democrats on the Senate Finance Committee. “It is really invaluable training and a great career move,” says Nicholas Allard, co-chair of Patton Boggs’ public policy practice. “The dirty little secret is, the best way to spend a couple of years at a law firm is not to be there. You get credit for the time and it enhances your training,” says Allard. — Anna Palmer
Rising Middle Designed to give a lobbying voice to millions of working-class Americans, Middle Class Rules is on a membership push, hoping to recruit 10,000 followers with membership dues of $60. Founders Lee Hess and Craig Hobson say individual members will have the opportunity to submit an issue to the group, ranging from stem-cell research to immigration reform, that will then be voted on by members. If there’s a clear majority in support of the issue, politicians will be notified. “We are going to send [the issues] on to the politicians with the request they take these up with satisfaction,” Hess says. “If not, we’ll identify them as not being supportive of middle-class values.” But who are the lobbyists working for the coalition? Hobson admits the group is still getting its feet wet on the lobbying front, adding that there are “no names that will turn anyone’s head.” Though he hopes to work with individuals “who aren’t part of the machine,” Hobson says, “I don’t need anyone to tell me already how powerless I am.” Of his individual way of influencing wayward lawmakers, he adds, “When there’s a burr under my shorts, I’m going to jump right to the throat.” The group officially launched last week. Is CNN’s middle-class warrior Lou Dobbs a member? No, but Hess and Hobson say they would welcome his support. — Joe Crea
Oh, Mr. Grant! Potomac Management Group Inc. has hired Hugh Grant (a former commander in the U.S. Coast Guard, not the English actor) as a vice president for business development in the $12 million company, which deals with maritime security and safety. “I’m not the actor, but my mother has called me a bad actor from time to time,” jokes Grant, who will oversee the development of PMG’s homeland security and Coast Guard business. Before joining PMG, Grant oversaw business development and managed federal contracts for ICF International, Computer Sciences Corp., and Dynamic Research Corp. He served 20 years in the U.S. Coast Guard. — Joe Crea
Friendlier Skies? Things are looking up for U.S. pilots age 60 and older who want to continue flying commercial jets domestically. Federal Aviation Administration rules stipulate that pilots older than 60 cannot fly commercial passenger or cargo planes for safety reasons. But on Thanksgiving Day, a new world standard was set by the International Civil Aviation Organization, allowing foreign pilots to fly as captains up to age 65. Additionally, Duane Woerth — who served two four-year terms as president of the Air Line Pilots Association International, and was the main domestic roadblock to increasing the age requirements in the United States — lost his re-election bid. Lobbyist Jay Keese, who represents the Southwest Airlines Pilots Association, says there is language to allow the change in the Senate’s transportation bill. “Duane lost his election, partially on this issue, and the new [president, John Prater] supports this change,” says Keese. Also working to change the age restriction are Patton Boggs lobbyist and former Louisiana Sen. John Breaux (D) and lobbyist Rodney Slater, a former secretary of transportation. — Joe Crea
• AFTER DARK • Pass the Courvoisier A new Congress can bring new headaches for lobbyists, but fortunately, Washington has no shortage of high-spirited happy hours for folks wanting to unwind. Instead of wasting energy looking for a place around K Street to re-energize and wait for traffic to die down, just check out these sure-fire after-work spots. • Morton’s the Steakhouse, 1050 Connecticut Ave. N.W., is a dinner staple that hosts two daily “Power Hour” sessions: 4 to 6:30 p.m. and 9:30 to 11 p.m., weekdays. On special are Morton’s trademark “Bar Bites,” for only $4 each. Items include chicken goujonettes and four petite filet mignon sandwiches. The downtown steakhouse recently introduced its new “Heavenly Mortinis” with selections such as the “Pomegranate Mortini” and “The Palm Beacher.” • Cafe Citron, 1343 Connecticut Ave. N.W., is a lively Latin lounge renowned for its mojitos, widely considered among the best in the city. During happy hour, 4 to 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday, head to the bar and indulge in $3 beers and $4 cocktails, including mojitos and caipirinhas. If you are in a group, we suggest you grab a pitcher of mango mojitos or frozen margaritas for $25. • Ozio, 1813 M St. N.W., is a multilevel hot spot that is a favorite after-work splash ground for the professional crowd. It features six bars and a cigar humidor room where you can puff on an array of select stogies. You can catch the “Martini Hour” from 5 to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday, when wines, beers, and martinis are half price. You can’t go wrong with the “Agent O” or a classic Cosmopolitan. — Michael Martin
• HEARD ON THE STREET • • “One is to go after [congressional] staff members who are thinking of leaving, maybe someone with tuitions to pay. The second is to overpay for people who weren’t thinking of leaving.” — Former Rep. Toby Moffett (D-Conn.) on how to hire former congressional staffers (Time) • “I found the lobbyists to be a very valuable resource to legislators, and I hope I can provide a similar value when I’m able to lobby in a couple years.” — Former Florida state Rep. J. Dudley Goodlette (R) on becoming a lobbyist • “We will start by cleaning up Congress, breaking the link between lobbyists and legislation, and commit to pay-as-you-go, no new deficit spending.” — Incoming House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) on the first 100 hours of the new Congress

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