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June 28, 2011

DCI Group Hires Prominent Flacks Schulte and McLaughlin for Public Affairs Team

DCI Group logo DCI Group, a DC-based public affairs firm, today announced that two seasoned communications professionals have joined the firm.  Beneva Schulte (no picture available) and Kevin McLaughlin (pictured at left) join DCI as Vice Presidents.

Schulte joins DCI Group with more than 20 years of experience in strategic counsel and public affairs.  Previously Beneva was Chief Deputy Director for the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission (FCIC), where she oversaw communications and external affairs during public hearings and led strategic implementation of the hearing schedule and protocol.  Additionally her private sector experience is comprised of stints at Schulte Communications, Webber Merritt Strategies, and Barbour, Griffith & Rogers.  She also has extensive campaign and political experience, having worked as National Communications Director for Chris Dodd for President, Campaign Manager for Carolyn McCarthy for Congress, and Chief of Staff for Congresswoman Carolyn McCarthy (D-NY).

Kevin McLaughlin McLaughlin has more than ten years of Capitol Hill, campaign and media experience.  He most recently served as Communications Director for U.S. Senator John Cornyn (R-TX).  Prior to working for Sen. Cornyn, McLaughlin held leadership positions in the campaigns for Sen. John McCain and John Raese for Senate, worked in media affairs for the U.S. Department of State, and was Director of Broadcasting for the Republican National Committee.  (PF tipster)

June 26, 2011

CASE STUDY: Politico on Doug Heye's Unique, But Effective Communication Tactic

Doug Heye Politico’s Patrick Gavin (@PWGavin) writes for Politico on Republican strategist and former RNC Communications Director Doug Heye, specifically on his unique use of pop culture references in his on air and written political analysis.

Read the full piece here.

Heye also often refers to his home state of North Carolina, in addition to common references to Frank Sinatra, wrestler Ric Flair, classic film The Godfather and other real life anecdotes.

It’s a good lesson for all flacks on both sides of the aisle – middle America easily gets lost in our Beltway vocabularies.  (Politico)

June 23, 2011

M Street Insight Launches; Lands Huntsman

M Street Logo Real Clear Politics reports that Republican research and communications veterans Shawn Reinschmiedt and Dan Comstock have launched a bi-coastal firm, M Street Insight. The firm plans to focus on political and corporate intelligence, and has recently signed on to aid the Jon Huntsman for President campaign.

"Our model is simple. We gather and distill the most relevant information you need to win the argument," Comstock told Potomac Flacks.

For the Huntsman campaign, the addition of M Street Insight lends them two figures with extensive campaign experience.

Reinschmiedt, an attorney originally from Texas, was Research Director and Deputy Communications Director for the Republican National Committee during the 2008 cycle, leading the 25 plus research staff. He has spent the past 3 years advising corporate entities, advocacy groups, and political clients on research strategies and techniques. Reinschmiedt will continue to work in DC.

Comstock worked for both the RNC and McCain/Palin campaign during the 2008 cycle, aiding in research and vulnerability studies. Most recently, Comstock served as Research Director and Deputy Communications Director for the former eBay CEO Meg Whitman’s gubernatorial campaign in California. Comstock resides in San Diego, California.

June 22, 2011

Roll Call Profiles Democrat Media Trainer Pendleton

Seth Pendleton Today Roll Call profiled, Seth Pendleton, who provides media training to a range of Democratic candidates and office holders and is the former Director of Training at the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.

From the piece:

…for all the money and spin involved in special elections, the outcome rests heavily on the quality of the candidates.  That’s why Democrats have called in Seth Pendleton for the party’s four recent special elections in New York and Pennsylvania, including last month’s upset in New York’s 26th district.

Helping candidates stay on message in debates, in interviews and on the stump is the crux of what he does, but Pendleton said the key to being a successful candidate is simply being authentic.

“Sometimes, yes, my job is to keep candidates from saying something that will blow up, that will make unintended headlines,” Pendleton said over lunch near his office in Washington, D.C.’s Chinatown. “After that triage — of making sure they know what they should and shouldn’t say — it’s figuring out the things that they say are true to them.”

Media training is something Democrats and Republicans alike say is invaluable for candidates. Firms such as HDMK and Pendleton’s 4C Partners, which was formed two years ago by four former DCCC staffers, offer media training as part of their range of services to campaigns and clients. Both major parties’ national committees contract with firms to provide training for candidates and staff.

In Democrat Kathy Hochul’s victory last month in New York’s conservative 26th district, Pendleton and media consultant Jon Vogel, who also worked for Hochul, agreed the candidate started out with a lot to build from.

During their first conversation in training, Hochul explained to Pendleton that she was a “diner person” — that she made her campaign staff stop at every diner they drove by so she could just chat with folks.

“When you hear that, you know that this is a person that at the foundation level just likes people,” he said. “In the work I do, if they like people and they are comfortable talking about what inspires them and the things that are part of their personal narrative, that is a really hard combination to beat.”

Pendleton, who still lives in the Philly area, is a trained actor and member of the Screen Actors Guild and is credited in the 1994 movie “I.Q.” In 2004, he had a few months off from his master’s degree program at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government and decided to volunteer on Democrat Ginny Schrader’s open-seat campaign in Pennsylvania’s 8th district. It was there he met Brian Smoot, who would later become his partner at 4C Partners.  (Roll Call)

June 15, 2011

Santorum Campaign Announces Communications Team

Sen. Rick Santorum The presidential campaign of former Sen. Rick Santorum (R-PA) today announced their senior communications team for 2012:

John Brabender will serve as a Senior Advisor and Media Consultant to the campaign.  In addition to serving as Senator Santorum's media consultant since his first congressional race in 1990, Brabender, Chief Creative Officer of BrabenderCox,a Republican media firm that has worked with Governor Tom Corbett (R-PA), Sen. David Vitter (R-LA) and Sen. Tom oburn (R-OK).

Virginia Davis will serve as a Senior Communications Advisor and Spokeswoman for the Senator, providing strategic communications advice to the campaign.  Davis previously served as Press Secretary to Senator Santorum's 2006 Senate campaign, as well as a Communications Advisor to his America's Foundation PAC from 2007 - 2011.  Prior to joining Sen. Santorum's team, Davis served as Press Secretary to Sen. Richard Shelby (R-AL) and Deputy Press Secretary to Sen. John Thune's (R-SD) 2002 campaign.

Matthew Beynon will serve as Deputy Communications Director to the campaign, where he will implement the campaign's overall media and policy strategy, serve as the primary point of contact for all media requests, and handle Sen. Santorum's national media outreach.  Beynon previously served as a legislative aide to Sen. Santorum from 2003 - 2007.  Since leaving Sen. Santorum's Capitol Hill office, Beynon has served as an advisor to the Senator's America's Foundation PAC and a consultant with a Pittsburgh-based management consulting firm.

Leading Senator Santorum's new media operations will be emotive, llc, led by Peter Pasi.  Emotive has earned a reputation as one of the most creative e-campaign consulting teams in politics today.  Emotive's previous clients include Governor John Kasich, Senator Mitch McConnell, the Republican National Committee, the Club for Growth, and American Crossroads.

Seth Leibsohn, who was announced earlier this year as Director of Policy and Speechwriting, will also be a part of the communications team.  (PF tipster)

Former Huckabee Flack Stewart Named National Press Secretary for Bachmann

Alice Stewart First reported in the Washington Post’s “Afternoon Fix”, Alice Stewart has been named National Press Secretary for the all-but-announced president campaign of Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN).

Bachmann had previously announced the hiring of two other former Huckabee aides, senior strategist Ed Rollins and Iowa staffer Wes Enos.

Stewart is leaving her job as Deputy Director of Public Affairs for Arkansas Secretary of State Mark Martin.  She is a former news anchor in Little Rock, AR and Savannah, GA.

Last cycle she managed the U.S. Senate campaign of Gilbert Baker (R-AR). 

Stewart is a native of Atlanta and a graduate of the University of Georgia.  (Washington Post’s “Afternoon Fix”)

June 14, 2011

Top DOJ Flack Miller Departing after 2 ½ Years

Matt Miller First reported in this morning’s Politico "Playbook", Matt Miller, the top spokesman and Director of Public Affairs at the U.S. Department of Justice will depart at the end of July to pursue private sector opportunities.

According to Politico,Miller has been one of Holder's closest aides since 2008, first seeing him through his Senate confirmation and then leading the department's public response to three major terrorist attacks, and the largest environmental disaster in the country's history.”

Miller was previously Communications Director for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC) under then-Chairman Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY).  Miller is a veteran of Capitol Hill and also spent five years at Public Strategies, Inc.

Miller’s deputy at DOJ is Tracy Schmaler.  (Politico's "Playbook")

June 09, 2011

Flack Profile: Rebecca Gale, Director of Promotions, CQ Roll Call

Cqrollcall We stopped by the FamousDC/CQ Roll Call happy hour at Cava on Tuesday night and bumped into Rebecca Gale.  She is the Director of Promotions at CQ Roll Call and was kind enough to give us a few minutes of her time for a flack profile.  Here's what she had to say:

1. Great event.  How much planning goes into one of those?

More than you’d think. We're lucky to partner with the great guys at FamousDC--Amos Snead and Josh Shultz--who handle the fine-tuning. The staff at Cava was fantastic to work with, and I heard rave reviews about their watermelon sangria.
2. We spotted some big names and a pretty diverse crowd.  Is this all because of your efforts?

The credit goes to Neda Semnani, the new Heard on the Hill reporter.  Heard on the Hill is a Roll Call icon and I think people want to see who's writing the news and notes about what really happens on Capitol Hill.  
3. You used to work on the hill right?

I did and I loved it. I think Capitol Hill is one of the greatest places to learn how government really works. It's also one of the best places for young people to make a difference. I had the opportunity to work for some amazing Representatives and Senators who work tirelessly every day for the people they represent. Despite the highly publicized outliers, serving the public is very much an honorable career and much harder than it looks.
4. How is working for CQ Roll Call different?

It's fun being on the side that writes news instead of makes it. I still feel very connected to Capitol Hill since both CQ and Roll Call are must-reads for Capitol Hill staff and the Hill remains the focus of our coverage. I also have an awesome team, with fellow flack Sujata Mitra as our Media Relations Manager.

5. It was HOT!  What are you most looking forward to this summer?

Finishing all the preparations before getting married! I tie the knot to a wonderful guy this September in Cincinnati.


Paulitz to Financial Services Institute

Chris Paulitz The Financial Services Institute (FSI) announced the hiring of Capitol Hill veteran Chris Paulitz as Director of Communications and Media Relations.

For the last two years, Paulitz has served as Senior Vice President of Communications, Marketing and Public Affairs for the Insured Retirement Institute (IRI), leading the association’s highly successful rebranding effort.

FSI Institute Prior to IRI, Paulitz spent more than a decade on Capitol Hill and in presidential and congressional campaigns, working as a spokesman and strategic advisor for both House and Senate leadership offices, the Republican National Committee (RNC), the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) and the Bush administration. After directing the communications department for U.S. Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX), Paulitz ended his public service as Senior Advisor to former U.S. Senator George Voinovich (R-OH). (PF Tipster)

JOB OF THE WEEK: Hamilton Place Strategies, Media Relations Director

HPS logo Hamilton Place Strategies, a consultancy based in Washington, D.C. that was co-founded by Bush administration alumni Tony Fratto and Taylor Griffin that offers strategic communications, policy advisory services, and crisis management, is looking to hire a Director for Media Relations.

Job Requirements:

* Bachelor's degree in related field. Experience in economic policy a plus.

* 4-6 years of communications experience with an agency, publicly-traded company, Washington industry association, or Hill/Administration experience

TO APPLY: Please send resume and cover letter to Stuart Siciliano – ssiciliano(at)hamiltonps.com. (PF tipster)

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  • Matt Mackowiak - Site Manager
    Matt Mackowiak is a Washington, D.C. and Austin,TX-based Republican strategist and communications consultant and President of Potomac Strategy Group, LLC. In his career he has managed a winning Congressional campaign and worked in the U.S. Senate, at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, at a leading international PR firm, on a presidential campaign in Iowa and in White House presidential advance. Follow him on Twitter - @MattMackowiak

    Laura Gross - Contributor
    Laura Gross is currently president of Scott Circle Communications. She has served as deputy director of communications at the DNC, was Gov. Howard Dean's Communications Director and she worked in the press office at USAID during the Clinton administration. Her experience also includes time in the PR department of National Public Radio and she was part of Vice President Gore's advance team when he was in The White House.
    Follow her on Twitter: @ScottCircle

    Blain K. Rethmeier - Contributor
    Blain K. Rethmeier is currently the Senior Vice President for Public Affairs for the American Insurance Association (AIA). Rethmeier joined AIA from the White House where he served as Special Assistant to the President for Communications and directed communications for the National Economic Council and Homeland Security Council. Prior to joining the White House, Rethmeier served as Press Secretary for the Senate Judiciary Committee.
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