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Specter’s Nemesis The nation’s gay-rights lobby, the Human Rights Campaign, has had a strained relationship with Sen. Arlen Specter (R-Pa.). Despite his relatively solid pro-gay voting record, the group did not endorse Specter’s 2004 Senate re-election bid, opting instead to support the failed candidacy of his opponent, former Rep. Joseph Hoeffel (D-Pa.). The HRC cited Specter’s cloture vote that summer to send the Federal Marriage Amendment, a constitutional measure that would define marriage as the union of a man and a woman, to the Senate floor for a full up-or-down vote as the key reason for withholding its endorsement. This, despite Specter’s public statements that he intended to vote against the final measure, which he eventually did. The move surprised many gay conservatives because Specter was in line to chair the powerful Senate Judiciary Committee, which has jurisdiction over a bevy of issues the group considers high-priority, including hate-crimes legislation, the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, and judicial nominations. Although Specter’s party may be in the minority these days, he still is the ranking member on the committee. Enter Specter’s former chief of staff, David Urban, a lobbyist with the American Continental Group. The HRC recently hired Urban and his firm to lobby on hate crimes and ENDA legislation. Urban says he was not aware of any flap between the HRC and Specter, noting that he was hired to work the committees in support of both bills. Allison Herwitt, the HRC’s legislative director, says the gay rights group hired Urban’s shop because of its extensive contacts with Republicans in the House and Senate, adding that they are not taking any vote for granted. The HRC also has on retainer the Raben Group and Democratic lobbyist Steve Elmendorf of Elmendorf Strategies to help them with their legislative agenda. The hate-crimes legislation is scheduled to come up for a vote at some point this spring and ENDA is being slotted for later in the year. — Joe Crea
Harlow Be Thy Name The Bryce Harlow Foundation held its annual dinner last week at the Hyatt Regency Capitol Hill. Receiving the Bryce Harlow Award was former United States Trade Representative Rob Portman. Thomas Boggs Jr. of Patton Boggs was the recipient of the Bryce Harlow Business-Government Relations award. Attending the event were Nicholas Calio, senior vice president of global government affairs for Citigroup; Robert P. Hall III, managing director of global government affairs for Invista; Susan Brophy, a partner at the Glover Park Group; Joel Jankowsky, a partner at Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld; and Peggy Hudson, vice president of federal and international affairs for BP. — Joe Crea
Face to Face Now that the Justice Department’s decision on the proposed $1.5 billion merger between agribusiness giant Monsanto, and cotton producer Delta & Pine Land is down to the wire, the merger’s most vocal opponent got a chance recently to sit down with Justice Department officials for the first time. Representatives of the National Black Farmers Association, consisting of thousands of black farmers nationwide, and their just-hired attorney Robert Doyle Jr. of Doyle, Barlow & Mazard expressed their concern about the antitrust implications of the proposed merger, says John Boyd Jr., the association’s president. The group hired the law firm, which specializes in antitrust law, two weeks ago to represent them as the farmers gear up for any possible litigation that could ensue, Boyd says. Boyd and his attorney met with Justice Department Antitrust Division attorneys including Angela Hughes and Jill Ptacek, Doyle says. — Osita Iroegbu
• AFTER DARK • Script Ohio A celebration took place on the Hill last week for Mary Anne Walsh, a Hill veteran who is leaving to join the Ohio-based law firm Roetzel & Andress as director of government relations in its Washington, D.C., office. Walsh, who most recently served as chief of staff to Rep. Tim Ryan (D-Ohio), held the same title for Rep. Brad Sherman (D-Calif.) and former Rep. Tom Sawyer (D-Ohio). The event, held in the House Resources Committee Room in the Longworth House Office Building, was attended by Reps. Ryan, David Obey (D-Wis.), Betty Sutton (D-Ohio), and Jim Costa (D-Calif.), along with Michael Fulton, executive vice president of GolinHarris, and Supriya Christopher of McGuireWoods Consulting, along with many Ryan staffers, including Ryan Keating, legislative director for the Ohio lawmaker. Walsh describes herself as an “adrenaline junkie,” one of the many traits she notes that helped her to survive working on Capitol Hill for 28 years. “My specialty is navigating the process,” says Walsh of the experience she brings to Roetzel & Andress. “That person sitting at the front desk [of a lawmaker's office] could be a senior staffer someday. You always keep that in mind.” — Joe Crea
• HEARD ON THE STREET • • “It’s a situation where the rich get more access, and the poor get no influence.” — Alex Knott, spokesman for the Center for Public Integrity, on pricey political fund-raisers that smaller organizations with limited funds can’t afford to attend (The News Journal) • “Some of it was learning the ropes. And some of it was that some legislators just weren’t going to come out and see me. Some of the high-powered lobbyists, they’d send in a note to a legislator, and immediately somebody pops out, shakes their hand, and says, �What can I do for you today?’ That’s not exactly the response I got.” — Adam Rissien, on his first year as the Sierra Club’s Wyoming lobbyist (Casper Star Tribune) • “What’s wrong with someone who has that knowledge and that experience continuing to work in the process on the other side of the table?” — Phil Krinkle, former Minnesota House Tax Committee chairman, now lobbyist for the Taxpayers League of Minnesota, on a move to ban House members from lobbying for one year after they leave (AP)

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