Apparently, Steve Stallmer has made many high friends in high places. A long-time Republican Party political operative and former lobbyist for the Associated General Contractors (AGC), Stallmer has received a significant portion of his campaign warchest from high-profile Washington D.C. lobbyists, many of which have no connections or ties to the New York's 113th Assembly District, a predominantly rural swath of Upstate New York which includes a large portion of the Upper Hudson Valley region.
Stallmer, who formerly served as Chief of Staff to Congressman Chris Gibson (R - Kinderhook), garnered attention in 2010 when he held a large fundraiser for Gibson with lobbyists representing the building and construction trades at the Associated General Contractors of America townhome in Washington D.C.
From Political Party Time, November 19, 2011:
"Early yesterday evening, after the carrots and dip were cleared away, the new chief of staff to Chris Gibson, part of the large GOP freshman class going through orientation this week, left the Associated General Contractors of America townhouse, which he rented out for a fundraiser, with one of the group’s lobbyists."
"Lobbyists stopped by to greet Gibson and his top aide during the hour and a half event, which asked for as much as $2,500 from political action committees to retire the former West Point professor’s campaign debt. Stallmer, who is leaving his job as a lobbyist for AGC’s New York chapter, said he chose the restored, red brick townhouse simply for its location, just two blocks south of the Capitol."
"Though Gibson’s event was rather sober, it was an ideal warm up for the bevy of fundraisers on the Hill last night, where lobbyists were marketing themselves to incoming freshman members. One lobbyist leaving Gibson’s informal affair said he would attend 10 schmooze-fests just last night; Stallmer himself said he went to seven this week. Why? “It’s called networking,” Stallmer said."
Sam Geduldig is a partner in the high-profile K Street Washington D.C. lobbying firm Clark, Geduldig, Cranford & Nielsen
, whose top clients include Koch Industries, Goldman Sachs and the American Banking Association, amongst many others.
From The Hill
, June 9, 2014:
"Charles and David Koch are bulking up their representation in Washington as Democrats seek to tighten the rules for how money can be spent in politics."
"Koch Companies Public Sector — formerly known as Koch Industries — hired the Nickles Group to work on campaign finance issues, according to recently filed paperwork."
"The lobby firm is run by former Republican Sen. Don Nickles (Okla.), who appears on the account. Also working for Koch are Hazen Marshall, who worked on the Senate Banking and Finance Committees and for Republican leadership, and another former Senate banking panel alum, Stacey Hughes."
"Koch Companies Public Sector was among the top lobbying spenders last year, shelling out more than $10.4 million dollars on influence efforts. The private company has eleven other lobby firms at its disposal, including the high-powered Clark Geduldig Cranford & Nielsen and K Street all-star Capitol Counsel."
Below is an interesting video of Geduldig speaking about his lobbying activities at the right-wing American Enterprise Institute think tank, where he declares that businesses "spend millions of dollars to influence us to influence Congress."
In addition, Clark Geduldig Crawford & Nielsen also played a key role in working with banking interests to undermine the "Occupy Wall Street" movement, writing a detailed memo for the American Banking Association arguing that "Republicans will no longer defend Wall Street companies" if the movement succeeds.
Check out this November 2011 segment from Up with Chris Hayes on MSNBC:
Geduldig contributed $200 to Stallmer's campaign, according to the January 2014 campaign filing at the New York State Board of Elections.
Matthew Rhodes was Mitt Romney's 2012 campaign manager who formerly served as Vice President of the DCI Group
, a Washington D.C. lobbying firm with close ties to influential Republican politicians. One of DCI's largest projects was Tech Central Station, a public relations campaign funded by oil giant ExxonMobil aimed at attacking and denying widely-accepted climate change science.
Rhoades contributed $250 to Stallmer's campaign, according to the January 2014
campaign filing at the New York State Board of Elections.
A. Bradford Card
Bradford Card is a managing principal in the Washington D.C. K Street lobbying firm Grayling (formerly DutkoGrayling) and is the brother of President George W. Bush's former Chief of Staff Andrew Card. For several years, Bradford served as Chief of Staff to Upstate Congressman John Sweeney (R - Clifton Park) and once served as the chief lobbyist for General Motors Corporation and chief executive of the American Automobile Manufacturers Association.
In 2006, the Washington Post had an interesting article on the Card family and their influence in major Washington D.C. lobbying firms.
From the Washington Post, March 30, 2006:
"When Andrew H. Card Jr. walks out of the White House for the last time as chief of staff to President Bush on April 14, it's unlikely that he will be worrying about his next job. But just in case he runs into any obstacles, he has family to fall back on in the Washington lobbying biz."
"Card's sister-in-law is Lorine Card , who runs a small lobby shop, Card & Associates . The name fits. Her clients have included Comcast and the National Cable Television Association."
"Lorine Card is married to Card's brother, Brad Card , managing principal at Dutko Worldwide . He is registered to lobby for the Greater New York Hospital Association, the Essex County Sheriff's Office and software developer Cognos Corp."
"Card's sister Alison "Lisi" Kaufman , who was chief of staff to then-Commerce Secretary Donald L. Evans, might be able to pull a string or two. She's now senior vice president for government and international affairs at United Technologies Corp."
"Of course, Andrew Card has his own experience in the lobby world -- he was chief lobbyist for General Motors Corp. and chief executive of the American Automobile Manufacturers Association."
Card donated $300 to Stallmer's campaign, according to the July 2014 campaign filing at the New York State Board of Elections.
Evan Knisely is a Washington D.C. lobbyist who is now serving as Senior Vice President of MacAndrews & Forbes
, the holding company of billionaire investor and famous 1980s corporate raider Ronald Perelman.
Knisley donated $500 to Stallmer's campaign, according to the July 2014 campaign filing at the New York State Board of Elections
Saratoga Springs, NY
Bill Teator is a long-time lobbyist and Republican Party political operative who splits his time between Saratoga Springs and Washington D.C. While Teator's small $50 contribution to Stallmer last summer may seem paltry to many casual observers, his successful ability to lobby, control and influence elected officials throughout our region over the years should be quite alarming to any resident of Upstate New York and the North Country. Critics have often accused Teator of using loopholes in House Ethics Rules to help organize taxpayer-funded junkets with elected officials and lobbyists. During now-Senator Kirsten Gillibrand's first congressional campaign in 2006, she routinely slammed former Congressman John Sweeney (R), who she defeated that year, for his annual "Lake Placid Challenge" lobbying junkets, which had partially been organized and planned by Teator and several other lobbyists.
From North Country Public Radio
, April 13, 2006:
"Republican Congressman John Sweeney is facing tough questions over his involvement in a weekend retreat last January in Lake Placid that included more than twenty of his staff, family-members, and supporters. The New York Power Authority paid for the event, which had a price tag of $25,000. It was hosted by the Olympic Regional Development Authority. The roster of guests included powerful Republicans, including the brother and sister of former White House chief of staff Andrew Card and a top GOP lawyer who has represented Tom DeLay. At least four Democrats also attended, including aides to Senator Hillary Rodham-Clinton and Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid from Nevada. Organizers say the trip was a legitimate effort to build federal support for Olympic venues in Lake Placid. But as Brian Mann reports, critics say the gathering was a taxpayer-sponsored vacation for politicians and lobbyists."
From The Hill
, July 8, 2006:
"Tales of bobsleds, steak dinners and taxpayer-funded lobbying are roiling New York politics, as a state Assembly probe of Rep. John Sweeney’s annual winter sports trip threatens to do in an already tough reelection bid."
"The annual Congressional Winter Challenge, hosted by Sweeney (R-N.Y.) since 1999, brings members, staffers and lobbyists to the Lake Placid Winter Olympic facility in the heart of his district for a weekend of sledding, skiing and promoting the tourism-dependent regional economy."
"While the Olympic Regional Development Authority (ORDA), a part of New York state government, formally invites guests, the state power authority’s assumption of $25,000 in event costs prompted three state Assembly committees to launch an investigation of the Challenge earlier this year, focusing on whether public money was put to good use. At a hearing last week in Albany, ORDA President Ted Blazer told state Rep. Richard Brodsky (D) and other Assembly members that Sweeney’s office helped assemble lists of possible invitees to the event."
"The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) has tracked the state probe for months, but Blazer’s testimony opened a new front to use in trying to unseat Sweeney, who faces well-funded former Clinton administration counsel Kirsten Gillibrand. When the House ethics committee blessed Sweeney’s role in the Challenge, it told him to stay out of the initial invitation process."
Teator has long maintained close ties to Steve Stallmer, with both getting their start in politics in the 1990s working as aides to the late Congressman Jerry Solomon (R - Queensbury).
Teator contributed $50 to Stallmer's campaign, according to the July 2014 filing at the New York State Board of Elections.
Danielle Simonetta Maurer
A native of Queensbury, New York, Danielle Simonetta Maurer began her career in politics in the late 1990s serving as an aide to the late arch-conservative Congressman Jerry Solomon (R), also of Queensbury, before climbing up the ranks to serve as the senior floor assistant to former House Majority Leader Tom Delay (R - TX).
Since 2011, Maurer has moved into lobbying, serving as Vice President of Fierce, Isakowitz & Blalock, a Washington D.C.-based lobbying firm that has served a wide range of high-profile clients, including BP, Noble Energy, Facebook, JP Morgan Chase, Time Warner Cable, Ford Motors, the American Gaming Association and the American Insurance Association, just to name a few.
The Republic Report
, profiled Simonetta Maurer as one of "The Lobbyists Facebook Hired To Help The Goverment Spy On You":
Danielle Maurer: Maurer was named one of Washingtonian Magazine’s “40 under 40″ because she ” left Capitol Hill only in March , but she’s already earning a reputation as one of the best-connected young lobbyists.” One thing not covered in that fawning profile of Maurer is that she has been a lobbyist for foreign weapons manufacturers, among other interests. - See more at: http://www.republicreport.org/...
Danielle (Simonetta) Maurer donated $250 to Stallmer's campaign, according to the January 2014 campaign filing at the New York State Board of Elections.
Norman F. Lent III
The grandson of a famous 11-term Long Island Congressman with the same name, Norman F. Lent III is a lawyer-lobbyist for Arent Fox LLP in Washington D.C. According to Lent's bio page at Arent Fox, he has mainly specialized in the energy sector, representing power, oil and gas clients. According to the watchdog group Sunlight Foundation
, Lent is currently lobbying for National Grid for the construction of a natural gas pipeline through the Gateway National Recreation Area in the Port of New York and New Jersey, as well as additional energy projects throughout New York and New England.
Lent contributed $250 to Stallmer's campaign, according to the July 2014 campaign filing at the New York State Board of Elections
Julie Chlopecki and David Fuscus
Julie Chlopecki and her husband David Fuscus operate the high-profile Washington D.C. lobbying firm Xenephon Strategies, which previously maintained ties to former Congressman John Sweeney (R - Clifton Park). In 2006, progressive activists
frequently accused Xenephon, Chlopecki and Fuscus for using their connections to influence Sweeney to author and sponsor "pay to play" legislation favoring their clients.
From the Albany Times Union, August 16, 2006:
"U.S. Rep. John Sweeney’s re-election campaign says the former NYC mayor will take time out from building up chits with South Carolina Republicans (with an eye toward his 2008 presidential aspirations) to help the Clifton Park Republican raise some cash next Monday."
As I detailed in a diary last month
"As noted in the comments section below, this $1,000-a-head event will take place at the Saratoga Springs home of David Fuscus and Julie Chlopecki, who are the president/CEO and partner, respectively, ofÂ Xenophon Strategies, a crisis communications and lobbying firm in Washington, D.C."
"Fuscus and Chlopecki have contributed $1,000 apiece to Sweeney in this election cycle. In addition, at least one of their clients, the National Restaurant Association, has contributed $1,000 to him as well."
The firm’s other clients have included: the Air Transport Association, the Capital Region Airport Commission, the Motor Freight Carriers Association, Midwest Airlines, Airbus, Alaska Airlines, the American Frozen Food Institute and the National Food Processors Association.
The transportation clients are interesting to note. Sweeney is vice chair of the Transportation, Treasury and Housing and Urban Development Appropriations subcommittee.
The food clients are interesting, too. Sweeney recently co-sponsored a measure billed as an effort to streamline state and local laws about food. But opponents say it really aims to get rid of laws that mandate a higher standard of safety than the federal government – a boon to certain food companies.
Another thing to note about Xenophon Strategies: it handled the PR in defense of Rear Admiral William Schachte Jr. – one of the Swift Boat veterans who attackedÂ U.S. Sen. John Kerry’s Vietnam War record when he ran forÂ president in 2004.
Schachte was later found to have ties to a firm that successfully lobbied the U.S. Senate for a company that won a $40 million military contract, but said he had no role in landing that contract.
, the couple held a fundraiser at their Saratoga Springs vacation home for Stallmer.
Xenephon Strategies contributed $1,000 to Stallmer's campaign, according to the January 2014 campaign filing at the New York State Board of Elections.
Brian Berry is a partner in the Washington D.C. lobbying firm CLS Strategies
, whose clients include ABC, NBC, Arthur Andersen and Verizon, as well as a number of drug and pharmaceutical firms, including Pfizer and PlRMA. According to Berry's bio page
at CLS, he has worked to develop media and online public relations strategies for pharmaceutical firms against legislation which would allow the government to import lower-priced pharmaceuticals from other countries. In addition, Berry developed a media narrative for Genworth Financial in opposition to the 2010 Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act.
Berry contributed $100 to Stallmer's campaign, according to the January 2014 campaign filing at the New York State Board of Elections.
Christopher Fish is the Vice President of the Washington D.C. lobbying firm McAllister & Quinn
. A native of Putnam County, New York, Fish performed a number of stints on behalf of New York Republican politicians in the 1990s and early 2000s, starting out as an aide to Senator Alfonse D'Amato before becoming District Director for former Congresswoman Sue Kelly and later serving as Chief of Staff to former Congressman John Sweeney. According to the Center for Responsive Politics at opensecrets.org, Fish specializes in lobbying on federal budget and appropriations, energy and nuclear power, transportation, science and technology, in addition to defense issues.
Fish contributed $250 to Stallmer's campaign, according to the January 2014 campaign filings at the New York State Board of Elections
Daniel Keniry is Vice President and Head of Government Affairs at UnitedHealth Group
and was formerly a lobbyist for TIAA-CREF
, a Fortune 100 financial services organization.
Information about Keniry from Politico
, May 10, 2012:
UNITEDHEALTH SCORES NEW FEDERAL GOVERNMENT AFFAIRS LEADER: Dan Keniry, formerly a top lobbyist at the financial services company TIAA-CREF, has joined UnitedHealth Group as a vice president and head of federal governmental affairs. In an email to colleagues, Keniry writes that he’s joining a “very strong team.” The company confirmed the move to PI. He joined TIAA-CREF as a top lobbyist in 2005. Before that, he was a deputy assistant for legislative affairs to President George W. Bush, working as the administration's principal liaison with the House. He was also an assistant to then-House Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.).
Keniry contributed $100 to Stallmer's campaign, according to the January 2014 campaign filings at the New York State Board of Elections