Cassidy & Associates hosted guests on Capitol Hill to celebrate its 40th anniversary and had former UPI photographer Matt Mendelsohn on assignment to capture the moment. You can see all the photos in our photo album on the Cassidy Facebook page.
We celebrated our 40th birthday last night and POLITICO Influence has the intel on the fête.
OVER THE HILL: Cassidy and Associates marked 40 years last night on the roof terrace of the Hall of States Building overlooking the Capitol and Union Station. Founder Gerry Cassidy and his wife Loretta joined the firm’s current Co-Chairmen Kai Anderson and Barry Rhoads in welcoming Sens. John Cornyn (R-Texas), Ed Markey (D-Mass.) and Roger Wicker (R-Miss.); Reps. Jim McGovern (D-Mass.), Bill Keating (D-Mass.), Katherine Clark (D-Mass.), Donald Norcross (D-N.J.), Frank Pallone (D-N.J.), Duncan Hunter (R-Calif.), Steven Palazzo (R-Miss.), and Mark Takai (D-Hawaii); Marty Franken and Ranny Cooper of Cassidy sister company Powell Tate/Weber Shandwick; former Commandant of the Marine Corps Gen. P.X. Kelley; Cloakroom Advisors founder and principal Gregg Hartley; Prism Public Affairs founder Dale Leibach; and Venable partner Greg Gill. The signature cocktail featured cranberry juice from longtime client Ocean Spray. “Lobbying firms, most can’t survive two months, let alone 40 years,” Cassidy said.
U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell took to the floor of the senate just before adjourning for the August congressional recess this week to give special recognition to Russ Thomasson and his exceptional work as Chief of Staff to Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn. Sen. McConnell said Russ proved to be “incredibly effective” and “an invaluable member of our team” in his leadership role in the Republican Whip Office for the past three years and “is someone whose judgment (he) value(s) greatly.”
Russ joins Cassidy as an Executive Vice President on Monday after his 15-year tenure on Capitol Hill. POLITICO reported on Russ’s move and noted Sen. McConnell also said in his floor remarks, “When (Russ) takes the pulse of the Senate, it’s with uncommon precision.”
The Congressional Record also has the full text of the tribute to Russ by the Majority Leader here >>>
On Monday EPA rolled out its final rules for carbon emissions from new and existing energy generation facilities. Cassidy’s team has been tracking these rulemakings closely since the drafts were released in 2013 and 2014 and working with EPA to understand various scenarios.
The rules are designed to regulate the carbon output of U.S. fleet of electricity generation capacity powered by fossil fuels, both gas and coal, and only over a certain size. However, practically all aspects of the electricity sector are affected by the rule because non-fossil assets and efficiency activities are eligible to generate Emissions Reduction Credits (ERCs) in order to help states offset the carbon outputs of their fossil fleet. Combined, the final rules and their supplemental documents total about 4,000 pages of analysis, guidelines and legal justifications that are now being absorbed and assessed by the vast stakeholder community in Washington and the broader U.S. electricity sector. Cassidy has selected highlights from the rule that have not yet been acknowledged by the media below:
CHANGING STATE GOALS: The state-by-state goals for carbon emission rates in the final rule for existing power plants are not identical to what was offered in the 2014 draft. Some state’s goals are more stringent and some are less. However, EPA has also changed its definition of “affected energy generation unit” and modified the types of technologies that can help a state generate emission rates credits (ERCs) to offset their carbon outputs. Therefore it is difficult to make an apples-to-apples comparison to the state obligations under the draft rule. Overall, the lowest rate-based state goal is 771 lbs of CO2/MWh, while the highest is 1,305 lbs/MWh. In absolute terms, Connecticut, Idaho, Maine and California have the least improvement to make in their emissions rates. Montana , the Dakotas, Illinois and Kansas have the most work to do.
WHAT ABOUT PROGRESS MADE FROM 2012-2022? Energy savings or alternative energy measures of any kind installed in any year after 2012 are considered eligible measures to help offset a state’s carbon outputs under the final EPA rule, but only the megawatt-hours of electricity generation or electricity savings that they produce in 2022 and future years, carefully quantified and verified, may be applied toward adjusting a CO2 emission rate.
DID NATURAL GAS REALLY GET THE SHORT END OF THE STICK? Much of the early press coverage of the final rule for existing power plants makes it seem like natural gas is in a much worse position than it was under the draft rule. But in fact, the amount of credit to be earned by converting to natural gas stayed the same. The cleaner the gas plant, the more it can contribute to achieving a state’s CO2 reduction goals. What changed was the EPA’s projection about how much natural gas is likely to contribute to the national 2030 carbon reduction goals. This projection does not affect state’s abilities to be bullish on new natural gas and coal-to-gas switching on its way to compliance.
TRANSMISSION COUNTS: Improving transmission efficiency is an emissions reductions pathway blessed by EPA in the final rule. EPA specifically names measures that reduce line losses and conservation voltage reductions as eligible actions to improve a state’s CO2 emission rate. To be eligible, transmission & distribution measures must be installed after 2012.
FEAR THE FIP? If states refuse to craft their own state implementation plans by the September 2016, they will be subject to a Federal Implementation Plan (FIP) cooked up by EPA. This is in keeping with how the Clean Air Act functions for other airborne pollutants, and states historically tend to try to avoid implementation of a FIP at all costs. At this time a handful of states are playing with the “just say no” option championed by some opponents to the Clean Power Plan. EPA offered a preview of the FIP on Monday which may well agitate non-compliant states more than anything they could come up with on their own: EPA would implement a federally-enforced carbon trading program for Emissions Reductions Credits – essentially the return of cap-and-trade – and levee it directly against electricity generators and utilities, who are unlikely to skirt a legal obligation from the federal government.
WASTE HEAT TO POWER GETS ITS DUE: In a departure from the 2014 draft rule, EPA specifically called out waste heat to power, a process of capturing heat wasted by industrial processes to create electricity, as a type of zero-emission compliance technology. In the 2014 draft rule, WHP was never mentioned. A megawatt-hour of generation from WHP will be provided full credit as an emissions reduction strategy if states deploy or expand WHP projects within their border.
Cassidy & Associates announced today that Russell J. Thomasson, Chief of Staff to Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn (R-TX), will join the firm in August as an Executive Vice President.
“Russ Thomasson enjoys the respect and admiration of Senators and staff on both sides of the aisle as a professional who gets things done on the Hill. He has been at the table providing Senate leadership advice and counsel during his 15 year tenure on Capitol Hill and we are thrilled he is joining our team,” said Cassidy & Associates Co-Chairman Kai Anderson. “Russ is well known and widely respected as a substantive, creative, and effective problem solver.”
Cassidy Co-Chairman Barry Rhoads added, “Russ has proven he knows how to get things done, how to make Washington work. That’s the first-hand knowledge that’s going to benefit our clients and essential to our success in delivering results.”
Russ has served on Sen. Cornyn’s staff since 2003 and as Chief of Staff in the Republican Whip Office for the past three years. As the Majority Whip’s Chief of Staff, he developed and implemented legislative and policy strategies as part of the Republican leadership team as well as conducted negotiations with Members, senior staff, and committees. Roll Call newspaper has repeatedly recognized Russ as one of Capitol Hill’s top 50 staff members including in 2013 and 2014. Earlier Russ served as Sen. Cornyn’s Legislative Director and Legislative Assistant.
Russ noted this year is especially significant to join the firm, “Forty years is a long time for any company to keep its leadership spot, and I’m impressed by the Cassidy team now, more than ever, and the standard it sets today for client service. I’m eager to get started.”
Prior to his work for Sen. Cornyn, Russ served as a Legislative Assistant to U.S. Senator Bob Smith (R-NH) and as an Intelligence Officer in the U.S. Air Force.
Russ earned a master’s degree in Russian Studies from Indiana University and a bachelor’s in Mechanical Engineering from Kansas State University.
What’s in the Senate’s Comprehensive Energy package? What are the next steps to the Senate floor? Cassidy’s Energy Team has been closely tracking and analyzing the legislative package since the beginning of the Congress and following Wednesday’s unveiling by the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee has released a new legislative report that gives a top line look at what’s in the bipartisan bill.
The Cassidy report details how Chairwoman Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) originally planned for the Committee to tackle each section of the bill separately, but now the Cassidy team anticipates that the bill will be marked up in its entirety in a series of at least two markups beginning on Tuesday, July 28. The process is steered by Chairwoman Murkowski’s insistence that the Committee finishes its work by August 6th and report the bill to the full Senate Floor.
Cassidy experts recently joined leaders from Capitol Hill and the Pentagon to explore issues surrounding the future of military installations and the communities that support them at the go-to policy event for defense communities and military leadership. Community leaders spent a spirited three days discussing pressing issues facing military communities: from the potential of future BRACs, to the impact of sequestration on military installations, emerging energy and water issues, transportation and infrastructure in military communities, public-private partnerships, economic development and more.
Following the Association of Defense Communities’ 2015 National Summit, the Cassidy team released its annual state of play newsletter that brings together and analyzes all the important information and data gathered from the key decision makers and opinion leaders who attended.
With the Army’s decision to downsize by 40,000 troops expected to come this week, military communities, defense contractors, economic developers are beginning to see the true impacts of sequestration on their communities.
Assistant Secretary of the Army for Installations, Energy & Environment (ASA IE&E) Katherine Hammack led the Army discussion at the national Summit and while she has helped drive significant changes in Army installation priorities and policies, current budget uncertainties make her job ever more challenging. A complete summary of Secretary Hammack’s comments is included in the Cassidy state of play newsletter. For the full report contact Susann Edwards at email@example.com.
Congress is considering cybersecurity legislation now and it’s critical that businesses across all sectors are engaged on Capitol Hill, that’s the message a team of Cassidy & Associates experts shared with top industry experts earlier last week at a national forum in Pittsburgh.
“The news about the hack of OPM’s databases has added new urgency to the debate,” said Cassidy Co-Chairman Barry Rhoads. “Now every federal employee knows first-hand how vulnerable their information is. This has given a lot of momentum to the bills Congress is working on.”
Rhoads and Cassidy Senior VP Kevin Binger briefed the forum on progress being made on data breach notification bills, cyber-threat information sharing legislation, and other cybersecurity initiatives being debated on Capitol Hill. “Congressional committees are going to be making decisions on these bills this summer and fall that will affect every company doing business across the country,” Binger said. “They will be making tough decisions on issues like data security requirements, liability protections, penalties for non-compliance, and other issues that will affect almost every industry. If businesses aren’t following this closely and assessing how they will be affected, they should be.”
Rhoads and Binger spoke to the annual gathering of several hundred cybersecurity experts from business, government and academia, telling attendees at the three-day event that the prognosis for passage of cybersecurity legislation in this Congress is improving, and that key decisions on important details have yet to be made.
Two cybersecurity information sharing bills have passed in the House, and data breach notification legislation has been approved by the House Energy and Commerce Committee. In the Senate, an effort was made this month to attach cyber information-sharing legislation to the annual defense authorization bill.
The threat of base closures appears to be becoming more real. While Congress has for the past few years united to block the Pentagon’s effort to launch another politically fraught round of base realignments and closures, known as BRAC, the political winds may be shifting. The pressure of austere budgets, combined with an improved economy, means that more voices on Capitol Hill are acknowledging that base closures may be inevitable in the near future.
As budgets tighten and the Army and Air Force try to become leaner, more cost-effective forces, many once-mighty and thriving bases are seeing their populations plummet. That’s leaving buildings, barracks and hangars empty, making these bases tempting targets in any future BRAC round.
For some, BRAC could be an opportunity to attract new missions to their bases, including those that have been depleted of duties and personnel.
Take Fort Knox in Kentucky, a historic installation that has lost 40 percent of its military population since 2013, when the Army eliminated the base’s brigade combat team. With its 100,000 acres of ranges and maneuver areas, Fort Knox is a valuable military asset east of the Mississippi that would likely never close.
“You only get so many maneuver acres,” says Barry Rhoads, a veteran BRAC lobbyist at Cassidy and Associates who recently signed on to represent nearby Fort Campbell. “You don’t get that back ever again, no matter where it is,” he adds.
For the communities surrounding military bases, a formal round of base closures — with the benefits of an independent commission and a public appeals process — may be much more preferable to what many fear could become an ad hoc back-door BRAC.
“Communities always felt in a BRAC they were getting a fair shot to make their case,” Rhoads says.
Cassidy & Associates unveiled its new corporate logo today as it launched its new online presence at Cassidy.com marking 40 years as one of Washington’s leading government relations firm. Visitors to the new site will recognize a firm nod to Cassidy’s history along with an enthusiastic look to its future through its growing team of some of Washington’s most trusted and experienced professionals.
“For forty years we’ve not only survived, but today we’re thriving with a solid team that knows how to make Washington work for our clients and has the years of experience and success to back it up,” Cassidy Co-Chairman Kai Anderson remarked.
Cassidy Co-Chairman Barry Rhoads added, “Today our clients expect us to deliver results where others can’t and we do that by attracting Washington’s best and brightest in areas getting the most attention on Capitol Hill and from the White House.”
In addition to today’s online launch that included the new Cassidy logo, the firm will host an invitation only 40th anniversary celebration this fall in Washington.
Cassidy & Associates announced today that Amelia F. Jenkins, Deputy Staff Director and Senior Policy Advisor to the U.S. House Committee on Natural Resources, will join the firm in May as a Senior Vice President.
“When Washington looks for advice on the environment and energy it consistently turns to Amelia. She’s the real deal, a senior policy expert with in-depth experience and success on the Hill and at DOE,” said Cassidy & Associates Co-Chairman Kai Anderson. “We’re excited to welcome her to the Cassidy team and confident our clients will benefit from and value her counsel.”
Cassidy Co-Chairman Barry Rhoads added, “We’re continuing to add Washington’s best and brightest to our team and we’re certain Amelia will help ensure we deliver the kind of results our clients have come to expect from us.”
As Deputy Staff Director to the committee since 2011, Amelia served as chief policy advisor and strategist to then U.S. Rep. and now U.S. Sen. Ed Markey (D-MA), U.S. Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-OR) and its current Ranking Member U.S. Rep. Raúl Grijalva (D-AZ) on legislative matters involving the management of 600 million acres of federal land, domestic energy production, tribal matters, territories and insular areas, wildlife, and western water. She was also the primary policy contact with House leadership, White House Legislative Affairs, Council on Environmental Quality, in addition to Departments under the committee’s jurisdiction.
Prior to the committee, Amelia was Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary in Congressional and Intergovernmental Affairs at the Department of Energy where she served as the top assistant to the Assistant Secretary and directly managed and oversaw the Department’s interaction with Members of the House of Representatives and all local, state, and tribal governments.
Amelia said, “I look at this as a natural extension of all my work up to now and thrilled to join one of Washington’s best and most respected teams. With its renewed energy and emphasis on delivering results through trust and impeccable work, Cassidy is the place to be. I’m ready to get started.”
Her tenure in Washington has also included serving as Senior Advisor and Subcommittee Staff Director to the House Committee on Natural Resources Subcommittee on Water and Power; Director of Coalition Development for the Western Governors’ Association; Senior Legislative Staff for the House Committee on Resources; Legislative Director for U.S. Rep. George Miller (D-CA); and Legislative Aide to Congressman DeFazio.
Amelia earned a master’s degree in Environmental Science and Forest Economics from the University of Idaho and a bachelor’s degree in Business and Economics from Weber State University.
Washington is hosting the 2015 ACORE Renewable Energy Policy Forum today and as a proud member of the American Council on Renewable Energy (ACORE), Cassidy clients are getting a front row seat to discussions with key leaders from Capitol Hill, the Pentagon, Department of Energy and media.
Cassidy Senior Vice President Dave Belote is on site, hosting Cassidy client Apex Clean Energy at yesterday’s ACORE Member Day that included exclusive Defense and National Security Executive discussions with leaders like Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Army for Energy Richard Kidd. This morning’s Policy Forum includes a keynote and Q&A with Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA).
The outcome of the Forum – the policy agenda for renewable energy policy – will be shared with the President and Congress, as well as governors, legislators, and regulators in the states.
Cassidy client View is giving the federal government an incredible view of what could be the future of sustainable
buildings as the United States General Services Administration (GSA) recently announced it completed the installation of 210 dynamic, electrochromic windows on the south facade of Portland’s 911 Federal Building.
View Dynamic Glass use a small electric current to automatically tint based on the amount of daylight coming in from outside. Using advanced and predictive algorithms, the windows transition through four different tint levels to control glare and solar heat gain without the use of blinds. The result is reduced energy consumption and increased worker comfort and productivity.
Each year, through its Green Proving Ground (GPG) program, the GSA selects an exclusive group of innovative technologies to undergo real-world evaluations in federal buildings in order to assess their potential to reduce resource consumption and improve building performance across the U.S.
View is just one of nine technologies selected for evaluation by GPG out of hundreds of applicants. The installation of View Dynamic Glass is the largest installation of electrochromic glass in the history of the GPG program.
At least 30 former aides to the New York Democrat now work in the influence industry, according to a review by The Hill, and their stock is soaring now that Sen. Harry Reid (D-Nev.) is preparing to hand him the leadership reins.
“They’re the new ‘it-animal’ in the forest and they also happen to work on the most important street in the forest — K Street and Pennsylvania Avenue,” said Ivan Adler, a principal at The McCormick Group.
“He will be a very active participant in leadership, so that it’s never bad to know a member who is very active. Schumer may be the quintessential high-profile member.”
Prominent lobbyists in “Schumerland” include Erick Mullen, a managing director at Mercury; Jim Kessler, a co-founder and the senior vice president for policy at the centrist think tank Third Way; Sean Sweeney at The Messina Group and Izzy Klein, a principal at the Podesta Group.
Other Schumer alums on K Street include Nicole Di Resta, senior vice president of Cassidy & Associates; David Hantman, the head of global public policy at Airbnb; Carmencita Whonder of Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck; Jason Abel, an of counsel at Steptoe & Johnson, among many others.
Read more at The Hill »
Service members and veterans, leading employers, senior military members, policy and legislative experts are gathering today in Washington for the Seventh Annual Army Women’s Foundation Summit and Cassidy’s Michelle Greene, LTC, USA, (ret), a recognized military healthcare professional with more than 20 years of leadership experience in the US Army, is a featured panelist at the event. Michelle is sharing her experience and success in the private sector as part of a panel discussion, Army Women: Political Empowerment & Engagement, designed to help military women recognize their leadership skills and put those skills to use in their local communities and beyond.
“I think it’s important to share and demonstrate how my operational and legislative experience in the Army and the Military Health System is put to work every day on behalf of my clients to effectively engage in Washington,” Michelle said.
Fuels America has also signed with Cassidy and Associates to lobby on the Renewable Fuels Standard, the firm — which registered four other clients today, as well — told PI. Cassidy will be lobbying on behalf of Norse Corporation on cybersecurity issues, Fluor on defense and nuclear energy issues, Norton Healthcare on military health care issues and Aspire Clarksville Foundation on defense infrastructure.
The Republican takeover of the Senate could shift who holds the most sway on K Street.
With the flip in control of the chamber, GOP senators next year will take the helm of powerful committees that craft and oversee energy and environmental policy. In turn, lobbyists considered close to those new chairmen will see their influence quotient rise as they work with prominent lawmakers in the new Congress.
Lobbyists say they sense a new optimism from empowered Republicans on Capitol Hill. A GOP Senate means more tough oversight of the Obama administration but also potential for bipartisan deal-making in 2015.
Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) is one who’s considered by K Street to have the chops to craft compromises between the parties. She settles into the chairman’s seat of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee next year.
In interviews with E&E Daily, several lobbyists said they consider…
… Kaleb Froehlich is another lobbyist considered tight with Murkowski. Before joining Cassidy & Associates earlier this year, he was senior counsel for Murkowski at the Energy Committee.
Cassidy & Associates has signed five new clients, the firm told PI. Cassidy will now be lobbying on behalf the following clients: GOJO Industries, the parent company of Purell, on the use of alcohol-based hand sanitizers and its effect on antibiotic resistance; Watch Systems on the National Sexual Offender Monitoring program; energy storage company Ares on environmental permitting; Carrick Brain Centers on issues related to Traumatic Brain Injury and concussions with the Department of Defense; and power-plant supplier Holtec on nuclear energy funding issues.
Accelerating clean energy and infrastructure solutions for the DOD is the focus this week in Austin, TX as Cassidy & Associates is a lead sponsor of the Defense Energy Summit and Innovation Showcase. The premier event brings together national military and business leaders in defense energy solutions including Microgrids, Grid Security, Energy Storage, Portable Power, Distributed Energy, Disaster Recovery, Fuel Options, Transportation, Efficiency & Buildings, Water Management, Soldier Technology, and many more.
Cassidy Senior Vice President Dave Belote is a featured panelist at the event. Prior to joining Cassidy, Dave was the first Executive Director of the Department of Defense Siting Clearinghouse at the Pentagon, where he built a “one-stop shop” for industry to work with federal, state, and local government agencies to ensure that utility-scale renewable energy and transmission projects were compatible with military operations and installations.
Key government agencies and departments also participating in the Summit include the U.S. Department of Defense, Army, Navy, Air Force as well as the Defense Threat Reduction Agency, Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), Department of Homeland Security, Special Operations Command, Department of Energy, Department of Transportation, Department of Agriculture, National Science Foundation and the Environmental Protection Agency.
A Republican majority brings major changes to committee leadership in the U.S. Senate, the size of the majority determines committee ratios and budgets; more seats in the Senate translate into a greater advantage on the panels.
The new committees are expected to be finalized in January or February.
In the meantime, Cassidy & Associates just released two infographics that a look at the potential changes to the Chairmen and rearranging of the Ranking Members of the major panels as Republicans take control of the Senate.