“One thing that’s clear to me both from the Obama proposals and those in Congress is that technology and innovation are the only viable long-term solutions to America’s energy challenge,” said Bruce Mehlman, executive director of the Technology CEO Council, an industry group that’s promoting green technologies.
On the Obama Corridor, sources point to an in-crowd with particularly tight ties to the Obama folks. Among them is Bruce Mehlman of Mehlman Castagnetti Rosen Bingel & Thomas Inc. – ironically a Bush administration alumnus who is executive director of the Technology CEO Council, which includes several CEOs who met with Obama. Mehlman’s partner David Castagnetti is also close to the former Clintonites who make up Obama’s staff. And Jon Hoganson, a principal at the firm, worked for White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel for five years and is viewed as a key conduit to the White House. Hoganson has performed a critical role in building the type of relations between the White House and the tech officials that led to Wednesday’s CEO summit.
“By surrounding yourself with people like Julius, you clearly seek advisers who are bullish on using technology to solve national problems,” said Bruce Mehlman, founding partner of Mehlman Vogel Castagnetti.
Mehlman, a former assistant secretary for technology policy at the Commerce Department in the Bush administration, noted Obama’s support for using technology to lower healthcare costs and clean up the environment in particular.
In addition, Obama has argued that a tax credit for research and development should be permanent, a perennial goal for tech lobbyists, and has also spoken of the need for increased government funding on technology programs.”
“As Democratic Caucus Chairman Rahm Emanuel (Ill.) prepares to become President-elect Obama’s chief of staff, he won’t just be taking his Rolodex of Capitol hill contacts.
He will also have number of K Street allies who expect to have a leg up lobbying a White House that has signaled it will keep influence peddlers at arm’s length.
Emanuel has also been known to consult with, … David Castagnetti of Mehlman Vogel Castagnetti …Only two aides, Jonathan Hoganson and Robert Getzoff, have turned to lobbying. Hoganson, former legislative director and policy director at the House Democratic Caucus, is now at Mehlman Vogel Castagnetti.”
“We’re now in a period where at least everyone is a little bit at risk,” said Dean Rosen, a lobbyist who was health aide for former Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, R-Tenn.
Rosen, now a partner at the lobby shop Mehlman Vogel Castagnetti, said providers generally avoid outright trash-talking about others to head off cuts in their own backyards. “Everyone has got to make their case based on the merits,” he said.”
“As part of the team responsible for shepherding President Bush’s Supreme Court nominees through the confirmation process, Jamie Brown had to know where senators stood on weighty constitutional issues like privacy rights and habeas corpus.
Brown was key element of the White House’s legislative team that helped earn the confirmation for both Roberts and Justice Samuel Alito.
Having been tested by Supreme Court nomination process, Brown has taken those skills and contacts to K Street for a variety of clients at her firm.
That crucible proved good training for K Street, Brown believes. She met several times with more than 80 Senators, and earned a degree of trust she can rely on when heading to the Hill. In addition, the strategies associated with passing legislation are not that different than those involved with convincing lawmakers to sign off on a court nominee, Brown said.
“Not everyone in Washington, when you deal with them, is above board and plays it straight,’ said Preet Bharara, Sen. Charles Schumer’s (D-N.Y.) chief counsel on the Senate Judiciary Committee.
“She was a huge asset to the administration,” Bharara said. “Charm helps, and she has it.”
“[In] what was at timed an incredibly difficult period, she helped Google put a footprint down here and did it in the right way,” said Bob Boorstin, a former national security speechwriter for President Bill Clinton and current director of policy and communication at Google. “Jamie understands the way Washington works.”
In such case, lobbyist Dean Rosen, who runs the health care practice at Mehlman Vogel Castagnetti, said he found a receptive audience. His client, Medicare Cost Contractor Alliance, felt the data the CBO used to score a program was outdated. The group hired an actuary firm and made its case to the CBO.
“It’s very difficult to try to spin stuff with the CBO,” Rosen said. “We went in and met with the CBO to talk to them about the methodology. I’m not saying they bought everything we had, but I think we filled a gap by modernizing the study methodology.” The final score came out this year lower than the original estimate, Rosen said.”
David Castagnetti is a partner in bipartisan firm, Mehlman Vogel Castagnetti and has expertise in telecommunication, energy, trade, and other issues from his days as an aide in the House to Norman Y. Mineta of California and Edward J. Markey of Massachusetts and in the Senate to Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus of Montana.