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Something Fishy? With former Bush administration official Julie MacDonald facing increasing scrutiny regarding her tenure at the Interior Department, lobbyists may be thinking twice about their own dealings with her. MacDonald resigned earlier this month from her post as deputy assistant secretary for fish, wildlife, and parks following an inspector general’s report accusing her of strong-arming scientists and leaking confidential documents to lobbyists such as those for the California Farm Bureau Federation. Steven Quarles, a former deputy undersecretary of Interior-turned-Crowell & Moring lobbyist, is one of the Washington influence-peddlers who has been linked to MacDonald when e-mails he wrote her two years ago wound up in the hands of an environmental group. At the time, Quarles was trying to broker a deal on behalf of the state of Idaho that would have transferred oversight of the requirements that private companies and others would have to meet to protect salmon in the Snake River Basin from Interior to the state. In the 2005 e-mail thread that surfaced following a Freedom of Information Act request by the Center for Biological Diversity, Quarles wrote to MacDonald: “Depending on the drugs you’re on, any chance I can see you today (and secure easy �yeses’ to outrageous requests)?” In another exchange with MacDonald’s assistant he wrote: “I’d tell her to just go in and erase all those back e-mails but I must admit I suspect some of them are mine . . . and, of course, THEY are critically important.” Environmental groups see this as another example MacDonald misusing her power at Interior. “She clearly was giving inappropriate access to certain types of people,” says William Snape III of the Center for Biological Diversity. Last week, Quarles told Legal Times that the messages were “clearly pretty lame humor” and not an attempt to improperly influence a government official. He says he hasn’t been contacted by Congress or Interior’s inspector general. And one of MacDonald’s administrative decisions regarding the California Tiger Salamander actually hurt Quarles. “If I had any untoward relationship [with MacDonald], I’d sure flunk there,” says Quarles. “The rulemaking that was criticized in the IG’s report muted litigation that I had on behalf of Sonoma County vineyards, homebuilders, etc. challenging the listing. Her rulemaking actually destroyed our litigation.” MacDonald’s problems don’t seem to be going away anytime soon. Last week House Natural Resources Committee members Reps. George Miller (D-Calif.) and Nick Rahall (D-W.Va.) sent a letter to Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne requesting a full accounting of MacDonald’s role in taking the Sacramento Splittail fish off the threatened and endangered species list. — Anna Palmer
Sartin’s Search Cary Sartin, the owner of a prestigious New York skin-care company, is willing to go to any lengths to get his daughter back. Sartin, owner of Park Avenue’s Janet Sartin who is fighting for his daughter’s return to the United States from Taiwan, has even gone so far as to hire a handful of lobbyists to seek support from federal lawmakers. Sartin signed up law and lobbying firm Heideman, Nudelman and Kalik to put pressure on the Taiwanese government for the return of 3-year-old Emily. Richard Heideman, senior counsel at the firm, says Emily was taken by her Taiwanese mother in 2004 shortly before a New York court granted Sartin full custody of the girl. The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children’s Web site states that an FBI International Parental Kidnapping warrant was issued for Emily’s mother in 2005. Sartin has traveled to Taiwan in several failed attempts to get his daughter, Heideman says. Emily is Sartin’s only child and future heir to the nearly 50-year-old business, which also has a shop in Chicago. Heideman says he has been in constant communication with the State Department, the FBI, and the American Institute in Taiwan. He says he has also spoken with Rep. Tom Lantos (D-Calif.), who is chairman of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, and Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.). Last year, Sartin gave $1,000 in campaign contributions to Maloney, who represents Sartin’s district, according to campaign records. — Osita Iroegbu
Policy Warming With the Democrats in power, climate change has moved to the top of the agenda. And the new Bipartisan Policy Center, which supports mandatory limits on greenhouse gases, is looking to get a piece of the action. Launched in March, the center is run by an all-star cast of former senators — Howard Baker, senior counsel at Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell & Berkowitz; Tom Daschle and Bob Dole of Alston & Bird; and George Mitchell, now with DLA Piper. Last month, according to lobby records, it hired Bryan Cave Strategies to put together a list of African-American leaders, including members of the Congressional Black Caucus, and take their temperature on climate change issues. Bryan Cave’s Broderick Johnson and Jennifer Stewart, who are working on the project, have ties to the caucus. Stewart was the legislative director for Rep. Gregory Meeks (D-N.Y.) and is on the Corporate Advisory Board for the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation. Johnson worked as an aide to former Rep. William Clay Sr. (D-Mo.), ), who was a member of the CBC during his tenure in the House. — Attila Berry

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