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Friday, March 20, 2015

The Revolving Door Keeps Spinning

Brad Stone writes at Bloomberg:
[Jim] Messina, an in-demand Washington operative and head of Priorities USA Action, a super PAC aligned with likely 2016 Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, has become Silicon Valley’s go-to government fixer. He’s still working with Uber—he helped recruit fellow Obama campaign alum David Plouffe as its senior vice president for policy and strategy—and advises Airbnb, used-car market Beepi, and Pishevar’s Sherpa Ventures while serving on the board of cybersecurity company Vectra Networks.

“We call him ‘The Wolf,’ ” says Pishevar, a reference to the murder-cleanup consultant in Pulp Fiction, played by Harvey Keitel. “He’s a mastermind in terms of political strategy.”
Besides Plouffe, who joined Uber in August, Messina has been followed into tech by another Obama alum, former White House Press Secretary Jay Carney, who signed on with on Feb. 26. But unlike the others, Messina isn’t quitting his day job. He says he plans to keep running the Priorities super PAC. While it isn’t unusual for politicos to peddle their influence and then return to politics, the simultaneity is a potential conflict, says Fred Wertheimer, president of Democracy 21, a nonprofit that works to limit the influence of money in politics. “We live in a world where political operatives do all kinds of consulting, so it can get complicated,” Wertheimer says.
The Washington Post provides a graphic: