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Tuesday, July 7, 2015

The Revolving Door, Mid-2015

At Politico, Edward-Isaac Dovere writes about Obama alumni working in the San Francisco area.
It’s more than just David Plouffe, who moved out for a multimillion-dollar job at Uber. The not nearly exhaustive list includes: Obama speechwriter Kyle O’Connor, now at Nest; Michelle Obama’s former deputy communications director Semonti Stephens, now at Square; director of citizen participation Katie Jacobs Stanton, now at Twitter; ’08 regional and field director Mike Masserman, now at Lyft; Brandon Lepow, who did advance for the Obama campaign and communications for the White House, now at Facebook; legislative affairs special assistant Nicole Isaac, now at LinkedIn; director of research Liz Jarvis-Shean, first at Tesla and now and currently consulting for Civis; campaign staff director for technology Jim Green, now at Salesforce, along with Obama’s first chief information officer, Vivek Kundra; ’08 regional field director Alex McPhillips, at Google; ’08 regional Gillian Bergeron, at NextDoor; Organizing for America digital director Natalie Foster, at the Institute for the Future; Tech4Obama program manager Catherine Bracy, now at Code for America; ’08 deputy Wisconsin director Hallie Montoya Tansey, at an education-tech startup called Schoolzilla. Nick Papas, John Baldo, Courtney O’Donnell and Clark Stevens are all now at Airbnb. Jessica Santillo, the former White House assistant press secretary who handled much of the meltdown response, was the most recent to arrive, now to be a spokeswoman at Uber, along with White House director of strategic & message initiatives Jordan Burke, associate director of intergovernmental affairs Kellyn Blossom and assistant to the deputy White House chief of staff Sarah Fenn.
Of course, not all of the alums are officially in government relations, but there remains a close connection between the tech industry and government.
People in the White House say that having all these San Francisco people around will probably only accelerate the migration to the Bay Area.
Some of that’s already started: In April, Defense Secretary Ash Carter announced a branch office in Silicon Valley, to build cooperation between the Pentagon and tech companies, and General Services Administration staff is already on the ground.
At The Washington Post, Colby Itkowitz reports that former attorney general Eric Holder is returning as a partner at Covington and Burling:
In a statement Monday, Holder said it was like “coming home.” Holder was a partner there from 2001 to 2009 before joining the Obama administration, where he served for six years.

Covington is the largest law firm in the District, with about 500 Washington attorneys. It has hired a string of high-ranking Justice Department officials over the last couple years.

Holder, doing the media rounds, spoke briefly with the Loop on Monday morning about his new job, missing the AG gig and not missing certain unnamed congressional Republicans (but we all know who they are.)

His official new job description describes vaguely that he’ll work on “complex investigations and litigation matters.” He said that will include the intersection of business and public policy, and matters ranging from antitrust to taxes.

As attorney general, he said he learned that mostly corporations “are trying to do the right thing, but often they operate in an advice vacuum where they seek counsel too late.” That’s where he hopes to be most effective, stepping in before Covington’s clients do the wrong thing.
There is also a revolving door between the media and the interest group community.  A news release from the Glover Park Group:
 Leading strategic communications and government affairs firm The Glover Park Group (GPG) today announced that Nedra Pickler has joined as a Managing Director. Pickler will work in the Strategic Communications practice, providing strategic and media counsel for the firm’s clients.
Pickler, a veteran journalist, joins GPG after spending 17 years at The Associated Press (AP), most recently serving as a White House reporter covering the second term of the Obama Administration. Pickler previously covered the second Bush Administration. In both of those roles, she covered breaking news, questioned both presidents extensively and reported from abroad on presidential trips across five continents.
“Nedra brings to our firm a deep understanding of politics, policy and an evolving media environment,” said GPG Chief Executive Officer Chip Smith. “Her experience covering two presidents and the most important and complex news stories of the last two decades is unmatched. She is a terrific addition to our team and will be highly sought after by our clients.”
Pickler also served as federal courts reporter in Washington, DC, and covered presidential campaigns for the AP during both the 2004 and 2008 election cycles. Pickler was part of the AP team nominated for a Pulitzer Prize for coverage of the 2008 presidential campaign and received several awards from the AP during her tenure, including the John L. Dougherty Award for coverage of the Ford-Firestone tire scandal, and was twice the recipient of the global Beat of the Week award for breaking news reporting. She started her career in the Michigan bureau of the AP.
The Glover Park Group (GPG) is a leading strategic communications and government affairs firm. Headquartered in Washington, DC, with an office in New York, GPG offers its clients a suite of fully integrated services including public affairs, corporate reputation, media relations, government affairs, opinion research, crisis communications, digital strategy, advertising and brand positioning. Visit for more information.
Glover Park belongs to London-based WPP.