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View Diary: WOW! No wonder Rove & Abramoff block the 2002 CNMI/Guam Security Report. (17 comments)

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  •  Did you notice the comment about Dennis Stephens (0+ / 0-)

    I posted earlier. He is still at Preston Gates. But from 1996 to 2001 he managed the CNMI accounts for Abramoff.

    He used to be on Pombo's staff. I wonder when that was and what he did.

    •  I did, and was left curious... (0+ / 0-)

      Pombo's as much about his staff as anything.  And I have the impression he's had some mentoring in choosing staff.  One friend who crossed passed with them in person had the impression that they're real piranhas.  

      (Which probably insults that group of fish, many of which are vegetarians, and use their strong jaws to crack big tough seeds and nuts which find their way into the water.)

      I'd actually like to see some Wiki-style resource that pays more attention to these staff.  You know, people like Susan Ralston which tie the net together, but are rarely mentioned by the media.  Timelines, with resumés and so on.

      Could be a website project with a title like Revolving Door.  I've made a file of anyone I've come across who's been mentioned as a Pombo staff member over the years.  Might make a good diary to string them all together like a "Roll Call" some time, with as much bio as I can dig up on each one.  Many have had stints as lobbyists.  Look at their travel, their clients, and so on.  And don't forget to include leadership staff, not just congressional office staff.

      Duane Gibson being a good example on the mining issue.  Dennis Stephens is a new name to me, but now I'm curious.

    •  Lexis Nexis on Dennis Stephens... (0+ / 0-)

      ...yields the following from Roll Call, Feb. 28 of this year from the Heard on the Hill "gossip" column:

      GOP Leadership High? Lobbyists are obviously getting very cozy attending the weekly staff meeting of the Republican Study Committee, a coalition of House conservatives. At Monday's RSC staff gathering, one lobbyist raised his hand not to ask a question but to berate a leadership aide over the leadership's decision to push a resolution praising the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. He told the aide that GOP leaders "ought to lay off the bong."

      The lobbyist, Dennis Stephens, a longtime Republican activist with an extensive history on Capitol Hill, surprised many in the room with his outburst. He called the NAACP resolution "crazy" and said he wouldn't be able to explain it to his clients.

      Total of 19 hits from DC news sources for entire database.  Only one apparent hit on Google web (though I didn't dig through all the screens) and nothing on Google news.  Stephens is still with Preston Gates, graduated from University of Texas 1982.  This from PG website:

      Immediately before joining Preston Gates, Dennis was the legislative director for Rep. Roger Wicker (R-MS). While on the Hill, Dennis worked on issues before the House Banking, Resources and Appropriations Committees. He also focused on tax, budget and environmental issues in each of the offices in which he served. During his tenure in Majority Leader Armey's office, he served as the top tax and budget staff person for four years.

      From a Washington Times article, February 15, 1993:

      The defiant ones; Young conservatives steel themselves outside the gates

      When Mr. Bush lost, "everyone breathed a sigh of relief, especially on the Hill," says Dennis Stephens, 33, who worked in the Reagan White House and is now an aide to Rep. Richard Pombo, California Republican.

      Roll Call, February 18, 1993:

      Freshman Pombo Stocks New Staff With Hill Veterans

      Taking the LD post is another Hill veteran, 33-year-old Dennis Stephens, who moves to Pombo's office after serving as an LA for Texas Rep. Dick Armey (R) handling Banking Committee issues for the last three years.

      Prior to coming to the Hill, Stephens spent three years in the Reagan Administration, including posts in the Office of Presidential Personnel, the Commerce Department, and the Interior Department. Before that, he worked for a state Representative in the Texas legislature.

      Stephens earned his bachelor's degree in government from the University of Texas at Austin in 1982.

      Leaves me wondering about how Pombo made his staffing decisions.  That is, actually, who helped him out in making them.

      By October, Stephens moved to Rep. Joe Barton (R-TX), also as Legislative Director.  So he wasn't with Pombo for long.

      Commenting on satirist pal Chris Manion in the Washington Times, May 3, 1994, we get a glimpse of his Schwarzenegger-esque philosophy:

      "A lot of conservatives are Johnny one-notes," says Hill staffer and friend Dennis Stephens. "Chris is a true Renaissance man. He reminds me of what philosoper Edmund Burke said about how you need an aristocracy, people who have an inclination to study, read and write as upholders of virtue so others can emulate them."

      December 1994, Stephens changed jobs again (Roll Call, December 19, 1994):

      Rep.-elect Steve Stockman (R-Texas) has corralled an AA, an LD, and a press secretary for his new staff.

      In charge of Stockman's herd is Dennis Stephens, who has been the LD for Rep. Joe Barton (R-Texas) for the last 14 months. He was previously an LD for Rep. Richard Pombo (R-Calif) for nine months. Stephens got his start on the Hill working for three years as an LA to the incoming Majority Leader, Rep. Dick Armey (R-Texas). While with Armey, Stephens juggled much of the Congressman's domestic portfolio, including banking and tax issues.

      After working as an assistant to 1984 Reagan/Bush re-election campaign treasurer Bay Buchanan, Stephens was a political appointee in the Reagan Administration for three years. He worked first in Action, which was the federal domestic volunteer agency, and then served a couple of stints in the Office of Presidential Personnel. Directly after the 1984 campaign and before coming to Washington, Stephens worked for about a year in Texas for a state representative.

      A native of Houston, Stephens, 35, has a bachelor's degree in government from the University of Texas at Austin.

      Roll Call, March 9, 1995 tells us Stephens didn't last long in that office:

      In fact, Stockman's former AA, Dennis Stephens, complained that the practice cut into time available for work, Stockman said. Asked whether any of his staff had objected to the prayers, Stockman said, "I think Dennis didn't like it." Stockman said Stephens "wanted to change the time" of the prayer portion of the meeting, moving it back from about 8:40 to 8:20 a.m. because "he was feeling like it encroached on the day."

      But the Congressman insisted the morning prayer had nothing to do with Stephens's departure after just a month as his AA.

      Stephens, whose resume includes posts in the Reagan Administration before he moved to the office of Rep. Dick Armey (R-Texas) from 1989 to 1993, now works as LD to Rep. Roger Wicker (R-Miss).

      Stephens declined comment

      Later in the year, Stephens found himself a job that he's stuck with for over a decade now.  This from Washington Times, October 1995:

      Dennis Stephens, former legislative assistant to Rep. Dick Armey, Texas Republican, joined the Washington law firm of Preston Gates Ellis & Rouvelas Meeds as government affairs analyst.

      Roll Call fills us in on where he'd been working since spring:

      OFF TO PRESTON: Dennis Stephens, most recently the legislative director to Rep. Roger Wicker (R-Miss), recently joined Preston Gates Ellis & Rouvelas Meeds as a government affairs analyst.

      Stephens is a long-time Republican party activist. After serving on Ronald Reagan's 1984 campaign, he worked in the Office of Presidential Personnel under Ronald Reagan.

      He began his Hill service in 1989 as an LA to Rep. Dick Armey (R-Texas). He later was LD to Reps. Joe Barton (R-Texas) and Richard Pombo (R-Calif).

      The Houston native also holds a bachelor's degree in government from the University of Texas at Austin.

      Stephens isn't mentioned in the DC press for a few years.  This from The Hill, Jul 17, 2002:

      K Street beckons Hill staffers Aides' experience and connections entice private sector

      When Armey's staff wants advice on the job search, they have plenty of resources to draw from. Former Armey aides include Ed Gillespie, co-founder of the lobbying shop Quinn Gillespie & Associates; David Hobbs, who lobbies for the White House; and Kerry Knott, a Microsoft lobbyist. Other former aides to the nine-term congressman are peppered throughout the administration and corporate world.

      Dennis Stephens, a lobbyist at Preston Gates & Ellis who once worked for Armey and other members of Congress during his years on the Hill, remembers how he had to prove he would be valuable as a lobbyist. After an interview, he was told "to make up a list of the people you know on the Hill and the issues you've worked on over the years."

      For anyone who's spent time in a leadership office, both of those lists will be impressive.

      "In leadership, you get to know the members directly, as well as their staffs," Gillespie said. "They're also very well respected and well regarded for their knowledge and hard work."

      But the lifestyle that comes with working in a leadership office is often what encourages staffers to leave when the opportunity presents itself.

      "The hours in leadership are very tough," Gillespie said. "It's hard on your family."

      For leadership staffers, the money on the outside can often be much greater than it was on the Hill as well. But the decision still remains a difficult one, according to several aides-turned-lobbyists. "It's more enjoyable to be the askee than the asker," Gillespie said. "You're leaving a position of power."

      Roll Call, July 17, 2005 is a little more on the topic:

      Abramoff, Armey: No Love Lost

      A grip-and-grin photograph of Armey and Abramoff obtained by Roll Call is undated but almost certainly from the '90s. Armey said that a picture featuring him with Abramoff could have been snapped at any number of events over the years during which the former Majority Leader posed with hundreds, if not thousands, of people.

      What both sides agree is that Abramoff and Armey have never been close - certainly not in the way that Abramoff was close to then-House Majority Whip Tom DeLay (R-Texas), who was one rung below Armey in the leadership ladder. DeLay succeeded him as Majority Leader when Armey retired.

      Those sources also emphasize Abramoff would have been in Armey's office very rarely. In fact, they say Abramoff was never a frequent Hill dweller.

      Although Armey's office did work regularly with other lobbyists from Preston Gates, several ex-Congressional staffers and then-Preston Gates lobbyists say they don't recall any meetings between Armey and Abramoff.

      One former Preston Gates staffer remembers Abramoff attending a meeting with Dennis Stephens, a former Armey staffer and current lobbyist at Preston Gates, and Preston Gates client then-Gov. Pedro Tenorio of the CNMI in February 1998. Stephens did not return a call for comment.

      "If Dennis Stephens said I have a client, it is not impossible that [Abramoff] came along for a meeting," Armey said.

      Armey added that at some point in the late 1990s, "Our guys got a tip from somebody in the State Department [and] the fellow from the State Department advised don't meet with" Abramoff, Armey said. And if there had been previous meetings, they would have stopped then, he said.

      The spokesman for Abramoff, Andrew Blum, said that Armey was helpful to Preston Gates clients, particularly CNMI. And it has been widely reported that several former Armey Congressional aides traveled to the CNMI - though not the leader himself - to learn more about the commonwealth.

      News reports show that the CNMI at that time feared being included under U.S. minimum wage laws.

      The Abramoff spokesman also said that Abramoff agreed "to allow the use of his suites at the MCI Center and Fed Ex Field to be used by Mr. Armey," although the events would have been organized by other lobbyists at Preston Gates.

      Prince Georges County home sale, reported in WaPo July 28, 2005 may not be germane:

      OLD MILL RD., 14508-Timothy C. Ricketts to Dennis Stephen and Jacqueline Coles, $182,000.

      Seems a little low of a purchase price for someone who'd been a lobbyist for a decade, no?

      And that's it.  The rest of the entries seem not to apply to this individual.  Pretty low-profile it seems.

      Pretty long post for a stale diary, too.  Almost more like sending a private e-mail.  Hard to imagine anyone else will read this.

      Ah well.

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