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The Rebirth of Art Music legend Wynton Marsalis and Black Entertainment Television chief executive Sheila Johnson testified before the House Subcommittee on Interior Appropriations last week to plead with lawmakers to increase 2008 funding for the National Endowment for the Arts and support arts in public education. Marsalis, artistic director of jazz at Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts Inc. in New York City, told House Subcommittee Chairman Norman Dicks (D-Wash.) and Rep. James Moran (D-Va.), among others, that even with the growing technological advancements in the United States, “the technology of the human soul has not changed.” When Republicans took control of the House 13 years ago, they slashed NEA funding to $99 million from nearly $127 million. The Bush administration’s FY 2008 budget proposal calls for nearly $131 million for the NEA. But advocates are asking for $176 million, matching the highest funding the federal government has ever given the NEA, in 1992. “Our kids are uncultured all over this country. My greatest education about being an American came from Duke Ellington,” said Marsalis, referring to the legendary jazz composer, pianist, band leader, and D.C. native. Other advocates for increased NEA funding included Robert Lynch, president and chief executive of Americans for the Arts; Providence Mayor David Cicilline; and “American Pie” actor Chris Klein. The number of jobs available to people through the arts is significant, as is the correlation between federal funding and private investment, Lynch said. A drop in private contributions followed the decline in federal funds. “The arts can’t fit into a box,” Lynch said. “There is a complex relationship between the arts, science, and technology. It brightens life and brings us joy and comfort but it’s also about the economic reach of the arts.” Subcommittee members seemed to echo the concerns, but how soon funding will come is still undetermined. — Osita Iroegbu
Spinoffs Galore Republican Dan Mattoon’s spinoff lobby shop from his days working with Democratic lobbyist Tony Podesta is humming along, even though the shop remains solidly Republican in these Democratic times. The new venture, Mattoon & Associates, launched in January, still includes a sizable roster of clients from the original shop, PodestaMattoon (now known as The Podesta Group). Mattoon was able to keep previous clients, including Altria Corporate Services and the Pharmaceutical Research & Manufacturers of America. The group recently picked up Amgen, AT&T, the National Association of Broadcasters, and Travelport Ltd. The four-person shop, which includes Podesta alums Rebecca Edgar-Gooding, an ex-National Republican Congressional Committee staffer, and Ashley Clark, who assisted in Rep. Richard Pombo’s (R-Calif.) failed re-election campaign, along with newcomer Dustin Carnevale, an ex-staffer to former Rep. Bob Beauprez (R-Colo.), has no Democrats. But Mattoon says he would like to hire one, provided that lobbyist already has “a book of business and would like to affiliate with us.” Mattoon says the parting with Podesta “wasn’t like a messy divorce,” noting that both shops maintain a strategic alliance and work in the same office building. “We were starting to have some client-conflict issues. Also, I, frankly, after six years, wanted to do something [solo] which was set up my own business,” he says. “The transition has been pretty seamless. Not all that much has changed except we don’t go to staff meetings.” Meanwhile, Podesta is starting a joint venture with Republican Bob Livingston, forming the PLM Group, which will combine the resources of both boutique firms in an attempt to compete better with some of the larger lobby shops in town. Both firms will operate independently and maintain their separate clients. The new alliance does not represent a need for Podesta Group to shore up support among Republicans since parting ways with Mattoon, says Podesta Group’s Missi Tessier, who leads the public-relations practice. She says her firm maintains an even balance of Democrats and Republicans (seven to six, respectively) and the lobby shop still works with Mattoon. Livingston, president of the Livingston Group, says the alliance allows his firm to utilize Podesta’s strategic communication capabilities in addition to tapping its deep ties to former Clinton administration alums. Additionally, it opens Podesta up to Livingston’s highly connected world, which includes a joint venture with New Orleans law firm Jones Walker. PLM Group will be headed by former Rep. Toby Moffett (D-Conn.), who for the past six years has been head of Livingston Group’s international practice. — Joe Crea
Enter Stuntz Reid Stuntz, the former minority staff director and chief counsel of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, has joined Hogan & Hartson as a partner. Stuntz will co-chair, along with Hogan partner Ty Cobb, a newly created oversight and investigations working group. Stuntz, who left the Hill last fall, was courted by a dozen firms in town. He declined to list them. — Joe Crea
• AFTER DARK • In Bloom It’s that time of year again — time for the National Cherry Blossom Festival. The annual festival, which marks the gift of 3,000 cherry trees presented to the residents of the District of Columbia 95 years ago from the city of Tokyo, draws not only tourists from all over the world but also lawyers, lobbyists, politicians, and the like out from behind their desks to view one of the most spectacular displays of cherry blossoms in the world. At the peak of the season, thousands of blossoms can be seen around the District’s tidal basin. Several events are planned this month and throughout April, including the Cherry Blossom Parade, the Anacostia Cherry Blossom Festival, the Credit Union Cherry Blossom Ten Mile Run, the George Washington Invitational Regatta, and the Cherry Blossom Freedom Walk and fireworks display, among others. For more information on upcoming events, go to www.nationalcherryblossomfestival.org. Our top four picks for those of you who want to impress a client or a colleague: 1. Fifth Annual Japanese Anime Marathon, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., April 14, Freer Gallery of Art, 1050 Independence Ave. S.W. The museum, in conjunction with the Japan Information and Culture Center-Embassy of Japan, Otakorp Inc., and the Smithsonian Associates, presents a daylong festival of four anime films. The event will include a costume show courtesy of the D.C. Anime Club and surprise special guests. Cost: free. 2. Grand Sushi and Sake Tasting, 7 to 9 p.m., April 11, National Geographic Museum at Explorers Hall, 1145 17th St. N.W. Grand master sushi chefs from Japan and area Japanese restaurants will present an evening of extraordinary sushi and sake samples. Cost: $95. 3. Sakura Matsuri — Japanese Street Festival, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., April 14, Pennsylvania Avenue N.W. between 14th and 10th streets and 12th Street between Pennsylvania and Constitution avenues. It’s the nation’s largest Japanese street festival, stretching for six blocks. Cost: free. 4. United States Navy Memorial — Blessing of the Fleets, 1 to 2 p.m., April 14, United States Navy Memorial, 701 Pennsylvania Ave. N.W. Sailors from the Ceremonial Guard will honor tradition by pouring water from the Seven Seas into the surrounding fountains, “charging” them to life. Cost: free. — Legal Times staff
• HEARD ON THE STREET • • “Their spending is both profligate and their behavior pandering. This is unfortunate.” — New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer (D), accusing the state’s Republican-led Senate of pandering to the health-care lobby, which is upset about proposed health-care spending cuts (WBEN-TV) • “He’s challenging my livelihood and criticizing MS over something that’s not new, but let’s clear the air and look at it.” — Connecticut House Speaker James Amann (D), in response to GOP state Chairman Christopher Healy’s criticism of his raising funds for the National Multiple Sclerosis Foundation from lobbyists • “Most K Street folks have political experience — many of them have presidential campaign experience. [Organizing a campaign is] like starting up a major corporation that will be in business only a few years. There’s a limited number of people who have expertise doing it.” — Former Minnesota Rep. Vin Weber (R), currently a managing partner with Clark & Weinstock (The Hill)

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