Grown-Ups. The group Majority Under 40, started by several under-age-40 Democratic lobbyists earlier this year as a way to get to know their party’s freshman class, is turning 21 – sort of.
David Thomas, a founder of the network and a lobbyist with Mehlman Vogel Castagnetti, said Majority Under 40 has held 20 meet- and – greet breakfasts with Members…“ What I’m excited about is we got halfway through the class in less than halfway through the Congress,” Thomas said.
Lobby Shops: Republican lobbysit Jamie Brown is leaving Google to join Mehlman Vogel Castagnetti. Brown, 37, was the No. 2 hire at Google’s Washington office just over a year ago. She found the company its spiffy new digs at 1101 New York Ave., launched Google’s first political action committee. So why the move to Mehlman Vogel? “ They’re the New York Yankees of Lobbying firms.”
Workers Needed: With the immigration debate heating up again, tech industry honchos are hoping they can finally convince lawmakers to lift the cap on visas for the high-skilled workers they say their companies desperately need… As the lobbying push gets focused, the sector is turning to David Castagnetti and his team of hired top guns at Mehlman Vogel Castagnetti to take the lead. The firm is now heading up Compete America, the industry coalition for the issue formerly housed at the National Association of Manufacturers.
Opportunity burns and other tech lobbyists point to the improvements made by tech companies in recent years. Bruce Mehlman, former assistant secretary for tech policy at the Commerce Department and founder of Mehlman, Vogel, Castagnetti, whose clients include IBM, Intel and the Internet Innovation Alliance, said despite being in town for less than a decade, such firms have been able to “hold their own against the large battalions” of older industries … “The biggest challenge to the sector is [that] a legacy of limited regulation has lulled fast-moving companies into the sense they can each have their own trade association and play partially,” Mehlman said. “They’re going to need to continue investing for the long term to sustain their success.”
“We don’t hire based on perceived prevailing political winds,” said Mehlman, adding, “We want to be bipartisan, but there is no quota. Our Republicans are doing everything we can to maintain Republican control. Our Democrats are doing everything they can to gain Democratic control. But we are all working as hard as we can to help our clients win regardless of who’s in control.”
By Gregg Sangillo, Mark Kukis, Kellie Lunney, and Peter Bell
“Dean Rosen, head of the health care practice at lobby shop Mehlman Vogel Castagnetti, is now a partner at the firm … Rosen 41, arrived at MVC barely a year ago. But he’s already attracted high-profile health care clients, including the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America and America’s Health Insurance Plans … MVC’s roster reflects a commitment to bipartisanship: The nine-person shop boasts four Republicans and five Democrats. All have significant experience on Capitol Hill… One recent hire is Stacey Rampy, who was senior director and counsel at Merck and a former legislative director to Rep. Anna Eshoo, D-Calif. “We’re kind of an all-chiefs-and-no-Indians shop,” says Mehlman, referring to the firm’s penchant for hiring former congressional chiefs of staff. Castagnetti, who has worked for a string of top Democrats, says, “Hiring a flash in the pan might mean short term gain, but that’s not how you become part of the fabric of D.C.” And a successful lobby shop needs a well-connected team. Adds Mehlman, “It’s not the firm D’s and the firm R’s – it’s the firm.”
“Dean Rosen, a former health care aide to Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, R-Tenn., and now head of the health care practice at Mehlman Vogel Castagnetti, said it would be a mistake to “overreact and do something that moves away from a consumer-driven, market-oriented program toward something mover government-controlled.”
“We shouldn’t abandon our principles for political expediency,” Rosen said. “An election year is not necessarily and ideal environment in which to make significant policy changes to a program that is less than a year old.”
“CHIEF DEPARTURE. Kelly Bingel, chief of staff for Sen. Blanche Lincoln, D-Ark., is joining the upstart lobbying firm of Mehlman Vogel Castagnetti … “Sen. Lincoln has been my mentor,” said Bingel, who holds a law degree from Georgetown and a bachelor’s in journalism from Louisiana State University. “There was never going to be a good time to leave.”
“The top liaison to Capitol Hill during the presidential campaign of Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) has signed on as a partner with an up-and-coming lobbying firm run by a pair of GOP strategist who have deep connections to the White House and Senate Republican leadership.
Castagnetti’s “stellar reputation for integrity and effectiveness, combined with the incredible depth of his relationships in Congress, will expand our ability to help our clients win in Washington.” Mehlman said today in a statement.”