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Clearing the Air It’s not news to anyone that energy is a hot topic, especially as we head into the summer driving months. But as the Senate takes aim at car makers, oil companies and refineries for high emissions and gas prices, energy companies are pushing back, hiring firms to deal with the legislative backlash. Bracewell & Giuliani’s Jeffrey Holmstead, a partner and former assistant administrator for air and radiation at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency; Edward Krenik, the firm’s senior director of government affairs who once lobbied the EPA for the Bush administration; and Scott Segal, a partner who lobbies on energy issues on behalf of Fortune 500 companies, alone snagged CSX Transportation Inc. and Progress Energy last week. Segal says his clients are mostly interested in knowing the ins and outs of the energy bill. Segal says the firm has been helping Progress Energy, an electric utility company based in Florida and the Carolinas, on utility and energy projects. “The company is mainly interested in the intelligence-gathering” approach to the bill, compared to a defensive one, Segal says. Last week, Barbour Griffith & Rogers lobbyists Eric Burgeson, former chief of staff at the Energy Department; Shalla Ross, former policy director of the House Republican Conference; and Bill Viney, director of legislative affairs, also was put on retainer by Energy Enterprise Solutions to lobby on science and technology issues. Senate records released last week show that mCapitol Management is working for Xcel Energy to quell concerns on the Hill while Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld registered with Husky Energy to cover energy policy issues. MWW Group registered PSE&G, and BP America hired WilmerHale. But just because the automakers haven’t signed on new lobbyists doesn’t mean they aren’t well represented. Ford Motor Co., Toyota North America, DaimlerChrysler, and General Motors Corp. are concerned with one of the most controversial parts of the Senate bill, which would raise fuel economy standards by requiring automakers to boost their miles per gallon by nearly 40 percent. Last year, all four combined spent nearly $30 million on in-house lobbying. Toyota last year doled out almost $4 million for lobbying to firms like Loeffler Group, Brown Rudnick, and Capitol Hill Consulting Group, according to Senate records. Ford, working with firms such as Alpine Group and Mayer, Brown, Rowe & Maw, signed on this year with Cauthen Forbes & Williams. The automakers’ lobbying has paid off. Financial relief is now part of the debated legislation. — Osita Iroegbu
Courting the Caucus With Congressional Black Caucus members chairing more committees than ever before, lobbyists are looking to take advantage of their ascension to power. From Paul Brathwaite, former executive director of the CBC, hooking up with Podesta Group in January to Jennifer Stewart and Broderick Johnson joining Bryan Cave Strategies at the end of February, there’s a wave of African-American corporate lobbyists striking out on their own or joining a consulting firm. Longtime Fannie Mae lobbyist Robert Maloney is a prime example. Maloney, a former aide to Rep. Lou Stokes (D-Ohio), hung a shingle in March, opening Maloney Government Relations. Not surprisingly his first client was his former employer, Fannie Mae. But, his second was more surprising: Steptoe & Johnson. Maloney says he is “affiliated” with the firm, meeting about weekly to discuss several of the firm’s clients as a way to learn and get mentored by longtime business lobbyists like R. Timothy Columbus and Thomas Collier. “I think that the election has made a number of folks reassess their careers, not just African-Americans,” Maloney says. “I know numerous of my majority colleagues who worked for the CBC who have been promoted in their job because of their association with the CBC members.” Maloney says it’s a good thing that the CBC now regularly meets with business groups. “It’s an opportunity for corporate America to get their point of view,” he says. “These caucus members are concerned like everybody. . . . Business is what fuels jobs in their communities.” — Anna Palmer
Tribal Ties Minnesota’s been good to Gerry Sikorski. The former Democratic congressman from the Land of 10,000 Lakes continues to cash in on his ties as a lobbyist at Holland & Knight, recently signing two Minnesota-based clients: the Minnesota Chippewa Tribe and Blue Cross Blue Shield of Minnesota. Sikorski already has depth in lobbying on Indian affairs. He currently counts seven Indian tribes, including the Pechanga Band of Luiseno Indians and Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe Indians, as well as the National Indian Gaming Association as clients. But for the Minnesota tribe, he’s targeting the Indian Affairs and Resources committees to push the government to turn over the $20 million it owes following the tribe’s settlement with the U.S. government in 1999. “We want to make sure Congress doesn’t delay since it’s the tribe’s money, and we want to make sure it’s done right,” Sikorski says. — Anna Palmer

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