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Saturday, October 24, 2009

Podesta Power

Chapter 9 of the book has a photo essay on the Podesta family. An item in today's Politico gives a hint of the family's wide-ranging influence:
Spotted Friday night at lobbyist Tony Podesta’s 65th birthday party inside the National Museum of Women in the Arts museum: wife Heather Podesta; brother, head of Center for American Progress and former co-chair of Obama’s transition team John Podesta; Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) with husband Paul Pelosi; Sen. Tom Udall (D-N.M.); Rep. Jane Harman (D-Calif.) and husband Sidney Harman; Rep. Brad Sherman (D-Calif.); Rep. Shelley Berkley (D-Nev.); Rep. Steve Cohen (D-Tenn.); actress from television’s “thirtysomething” Polly Draper and her husband, jazz pianist Michael Wolff; Beth Dozoretz; Charlie Cook; Meredith Harman; Marlene Malek; Project on Government Oversight’s Adam Zagorin; The Washington Examiner’s Tim Carney and Tara Palmeri; NMPA’s David Israelite; and Lisa Tseng.
An August Washington Post profile of Heather Podesta provided more background:

"This is a very good time to be a Democratic lobbyist . . . it's incredibly exciting to be able to engage with Democrats and really see things happen," Podesta says one afternoon at her office in one of those cool, restored red-brick buildings on E Street. "It's always a good time to be Heather Podesta."

There are more than 12,500 registered lobbyists -- about 23 for every member of Congress, according to the Center for Responsive Politics -- and some are getting richer while others stagnate or even dip a bit because of all of this pesky recession talk. But those who operate at the confluence of this summer's big three legislative streams are happiest of all.

Podesta is right there in the eddy, an It Girl in a new generation of young, highly connected, built-for-the-Obama-era lobbyists. She gets an undeniable boost from a famous name -- she is the sister-in-law of John Podesta, the insider's insider who was Bill Clinton's White House chief of staff and Obama's transition director, and the wife of ├╝ber-lobbyist Tony Podesta. Heather and Tony run his-and-hers lobbying shops. His grew a staggering 57 percent in the first six months of this year compared with the same period the year before, taking in $11.8 million, fourth-highest among major lobbying firms. (Full disclosure: Tony Podesta has long represented The Washington Post, which paid him $10,000 in 2009 and $80,000 the year before, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.) Her six-person shop grew even faster, rocketing 65 percent to $3.4 million.