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DoubleClick Duty As companies like Microsoft and Yahoo! voice concern over its impending acquisition of online advertising company DoubleClick, Google looked no further than Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck to help assuage worries on Capitol Hill about any possible antitrust issues. While the Federal Trade Commission has oversight jurisdiction, companies are increasingly looking to lobbyists to fend off congressional inquiries from the likes of the House Judiciary and Commerce committees when they are in the midst of a merger. In Google’s case, there is talk that the Judiciary Committee may be poised to take a hard look at the privacy concerns that groups like EPIC, the Electronic Privacy Information Center, have brought to the fore. “While the FTC has responsibility for reviewing this acquisition, we are also having productive conversations with policy-makers, and as we do that we value the advice of individuals who understand the benefits of innovation and competition. Ultimately we are confident that the FTC will conclude — as numerous analysts and academics have — that this acquisition poses no risk to competition and should be approved,” Adam Kovacevich, a spokesman for Google, says in a statement. Besides Google’s in-house lobby team, the company brought on Brownstein’s Makan Delrahim, along with Alexander Dahl, James Flood, and Alfred Mottur. Delrahim has made representing merging companies on the Hill a cottage industry of sorts following his departure from the Justice Department. The former Judiciary staffer has represented several companies, including Oracle during its acquisition of Seibel Systems, AMC Theatres in the AMC-Loews merger, and USAirways in its failed union with Delta. Antitrust lawyers say they are increasingly hiring outside lobbyists to advise on issues with the new Democratic Congress. “Companies do it in large part to anticipate the possibility of congressional questions or inquiry, or the possibility of a congressional hearing,” says William Baer, an antitrust lawyer at Arnold & Porter. “I don’t think companies are hiring experienced Hill counsel with the idea that they’ll be able to influence investigations.” Google’s not alone. Earlier this spring, high-tech companies XM Satellite and Sirius Satellite Radio signed up Quinn Gillespie & Associates to lobby on behalf of the two companies’ proposed merger with a congressional hearing looming. Sirius also signed on Democratic shop Richetti Inc.’s Steve Richetti and Luke Albee to lobby on the possible business transaction in January. Quinn Gillespie also registered to lobby for the Tribune Co. regarding its sale to Tribune employees through an Employee Stock Ownership Plan. — Anna Palmer
Courting Money With the House Financial Services Committee expected to mark up its appropriations bill this week, the National Association of Drug Court Professionals is hoping that its lobbying blitz the past couple of months will mean securing $40 million towards the national drug court system. The association hired Hogan & Hartson lobbyists Michael Gilliland, Gwen Mellor, and Kate McAuliffe Smith in April to convince lawmakers to reinstate funding that had dwindled following the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. “What we’re advocating for is an increase to that discretionary grant program which originally was $40 million, but has been cut over the last several years down to $10 million,” says Smith. President George W. Bush’s 2008 budget eliminates funding for the program, according to Smith. The money is expected to be used primarily as seed money to get drug courts up and running, with local and state programs funding them afterwards. So far, the group has had success on the Hill, with 48 congressmen and 35 senators signing on to a letter supporting the $40 million line item. The group, whose annual conference starts this week in Washington, expects more than 3,000 members, including judges, police, and social workers — some of whom will meet with members June 14 on the Hill to try and convince them to support the funding. — Anna Palmer
Boeing’s Surge Defense giant Boeing Co. is bulking up its Capitol Hill lobbying presence on both sides of the aisle, enlisting Kilpatrick Stockton’s Republican lobbyists Archibald “Archie” Galloway and John Howell and Democratic boutique Heather Podesta and Partners’ Heather Podesta, Eric Rosen, and Laura Joshua to its bevy of influence peddlers. Galloway, who was an aide to Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) on the Senate Armed Services Committee, declined to comment beyond the firm’s registration, which says it will be lobbying on missile defense and the Future Combat System. Since Galloway left the Hill in March for Kilpatrick, he’s signed on to lobby for defense companies Miltec Corp. and Pemco Aviation Group. Podesta did not return calls. This isn’t the first additional lobbying muscle Boeing has called in since the first of the year. In January, Boeing hired Sonnenschein Nath & Rosenthal’s Kevin Gunn to lobby on aerospace and defense issues. — Anna Palmer

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