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    November 10, 2008  
Dow Lohnes;
KPMG lawyer;


Obama wasn’t the only winner last week—lobbying shops saw their stock rise and fall depending on their connections with the new administration and Congress. One feeling bullish is Dow Lohnes Government Strategies. Just like Capitol Hill, it’s a bi-partisan team currently weighted toward Democrats, working in priority areas of energy, health care, and telecom.


DLGS launched in April ’07, but we could tell it’s already a close-knit team when they lined up Brady Bunch-style, in descending order of height: Pete Leon, CEO Stephen Sayle, Jessica Lenard, Rick Kessler, and Chairman Ken Salomon. All but Ken are veterans of the powerful House  Energy and Commerce Committee. Jessica came to DLGS from her post as legislative assistant to Sen. Durbin (D-IL), so she’s got an inside line to the Friend-of-Obama and Senator likely to be pulling a new presidential oar in the upper chamber.


On energy, the group tells us to expect a climate change bill with a cap and trade element by the end of the next Congress. More immediate concerns are incentives for investment in renewables, which could be stuffed into the massive tax bill certain to come with Bush’s tax cuts set to expire in 2010. Currently, DLGS is looking to help energy client Tenaska secure government incentives necessary to make the numbers work for its planned “supercritical pulverized coal plant” in Sweetwater, Texas.


On healthcare, they tell us to expect quick action on new SCHIP legislation, which would expand coverage for uninsured children. (Bush vetoed it multiple times.) Ken’s had his hand in the other hot area of the moment—regulation of financial services companies. For the last two years, he’s been lobbying on behalf of Overstock.com to prohibit “naked short selling” (don’t get excited, just a technical term). The practice is thought to have exacerbated the plunge of Bear Stearns and others, and now Ken has the Chamber of Commerce joining his fight.

Bailout Bill’s Energy Secret

Staffers leaving Capitol Hill in the changing of the guard can make prized lateral recruits, and the other day we checked in on former senior tax counsel to the House Ways and Means Committee, John Gimigliano. He landed at KPMG a couple months ago, so law firms might think of him as the one that got away, especially since he drafted most of the tax incentives for renewable energy projects in the last comprehensive energy bill, back in ’05. (Hence the windmill.) After such legislation failed in ’01 and ’03, former Ways & Means chair Bill Thomas (R-CA, now at Buchanan Ingersoll) brought John on to become the staff expert on energy tax policy, positioning him to lead KPMG’s new America’s Climate Solutions and Sustainable Energy Practice. Hmm, should have an acronym for that mouthful.


John’s practice advises developers on the tax benefits for sustainable energy projects. Some of those—like an eight-year extension of the solar energy tax credit and a shorter extension for wind—are buried in the bailout bill. The Senate added them as “sweeteners” to make the $750 billion medicine for the market crash go down a little smother with House members. John, an adjunct law professor at Georgetown and regular on the SportsClub LA’s squash courts, also predicts another round of comprehensive energy legislation in ’09.


Knock Out Abuse Against Women had its big gala on Thursday night at the Ritz (while the guy-oriented Fight Night played out across town). Though stars like Clinton Portis showed up—framed here by Katten’s Rori Malech, right, and Terra Weirich of CIM—it was slightly toned down, just like the economy. The swag bags were less swaggy and there was no surprise appearance by Lenny Kravitz like last year.  But the live auction items went for serious dough. The biggest haul was for dinner in a firehouse cooked and served by the firemen up on stage, which went for $12,000.

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