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Two high-profile lobbyists defected from K Street last week. Kenneth Mehlman, a partner at Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld and former chairman of the Republican National Committee, will be the new managing director and head of global public affairs at private equity company Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co, starting in mid-May. And Ambassador Robert Blackwill, president of BGR International, will leave the firm on Aug. 1 to join the Rand Corp., a nonprofit think tank based in Santa Monica, Calif. Mehlman says his new job will build on public affairs work that he and the rest of KKR’s lobbying team have done. His job description doesn’t rule out lobbying for the company in the future. Joel Jankowsky, the head of Akin Gump’s public policy group, has a transition plan for Mehlman’s clients, a list that includes Dow Chemical, the NASDAQ stock exchange, and the Private Equity Council. He believes all, including KKR, will stay with Akin Gump. Blackwill, who has been with BGR for four years, previously worked in the Bush administration, including a stint as presidential envoy to Iraq. Senior adviser Philip Zelikow, former executive director of the 9/11 Commission, will expand his role at BGR.
Carrie Levine can be contacted at [email protected].

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