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Caught Our Eye items are posted daily. LegiStorm Pro subscribers have access to all posts a few hours before other users, and are also able to search the full Caught Our Eye archive. Log in as a LegiStorm Pro user or learn more about subscribing.

House LA joins CFR's Washington office

Posted by Keturah Hetrick on Dec. 7, 2016

A legislative assistant to Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.) has left the Hill for the Council on Foreign Relations, where she is working as the assistant director of Washington external affairs.

Shannon Kellman had worked for Schakowsky since last 2015 and spent a year with Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich.). Kellman has previously worked as a lobbyist for J Street, a pro-Israel advocacy group. She holds a bachelor's degree in Russian and Eastern European studies from the University of Michigan and a master's degree in international relations from the London School of Economics.

While CFR does not engage in explicit lobbying work, the organization "engages members of the U.S. House of Representatives and U.S. Senate and their staffs on a wide range of international and economic issues," according to the CFR website.

AIDS research group hires in-house lobbyist from Senate

Posted by Keturah Hetrick on Dec. 6, 2016

amfAR, the Foundation for AIDS Research, has hired its first in-house federal lobbyist since 2009.

Asal Sayas, who had worked as a scheduler to Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) since 2014, joined the non-profit this fall. She first came to the Hill as an aide to Rep. André Carson (D-Ind.) in 2011.

amfAR had contracted its advocacy work, most recently to the Podesta Group, before hiring Sayas to lobby on issues including syringe-exchange programs and funding for global HIV programs, according to a disclosure form.

GOPer joins all-Democratic lobbying firm

Posted by Keturah Hetrick on Dec. 5, 2016

Rep. Ken Calvert's (R-Calif.) former chief of staff has joined Kadesh & Associates as the small lobbying firm's only Republican — and indeed, the only non-alumnus of the office of Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.).

Dave Ramey, Calvert's chief of staff from 1997 until earlier this fall, started as a principal at the lobbying firm in November. He had worked on the Hill since 1985, when he joined the House Republican Policy Committee as a foreign policy analyst.

Mark Kadesh, Feinstein's chief of staff from 1998 to 2006, and Chris Kierig, her former legislative assistant, make up the rest of the firm's federal lobbying team. Warren Weinstein, also a Feinstein alumnus, left the California-focused firm earlier this year.

Dave Kennett, formerly a lobbying at and president of Capitol Alliance Consulting, replaces Ramey as Calvert's chief of staff.

Rep. Capps LA takes train to K St.

Posted by Keturah Hetrick on Dec. 2, 2016

A legislative assistant to Rep. Lois Capps (D-Calif.) has boarded a train to the International Association of Sheet Metal, Air, Rail and Transportation Workers, where he is a new government relations specialist in the union's transportation division.

Erick Siahaan had worked for Capps, who retires from Congress next month, since 2012.

SMART's Transportation Division has lobbied on a number of transportation-related bills, as well as on issues like the Railroad Retirement Disability Program and an expected strike among New Jersey Transit workers.

Trump-linked fugitive retains ex-Clinton scandal hand

Posted by Keturah Hetrick on Dec. 1, 2016

Dmytro Firtash, the Ukrainian oil oligarch and international fugitive with ties to Donald Trump, has hired the new crisis management firm started by Lanny Davis, perhaps Washington's leading crisis manager and a former aide to President Bill Clinton.

According to a disclosure form, Davis and his new firm Davis Goldberg Galper will provide Firtash with "legal representation in ongoing matters," to potentially include "correcting the record in the media and elsewhere in the face of distortions and inaccuracies and advising on such media strategies for such purposes." Firtash hired Davis and his previous firm to perform similar tasks in 2014.

Firtash is a former business partner to Trump's former campaign manager Paul Manafort. In 2008, Firtash planned to invest $100 million to help Manafort redevelop a New York hotel, though the deal did not go through. The ties to the controversial Ukrainian billionaire have not stopped Manafort from recently returning to Trump as an adviser. 

Firtash is wanted for corruption in the U.S. Last week, Spain requested his extradition from Austria, where he's lived since Ukraine's 2014 revolution, for alleged money laundering. The country dismissed a similar request by the U.S. last year.

The oil tycool is paying law firm Davis Goldberg Galper an estimated $80,000 per month until mid-January, with the option to renew the contract then. 

About Caught Our Eye

We spend a large part of our days looking at data. Documents often come in by the dozens and hundreds. And while most are boring - how interesting can staring at a phone directory or salary records be, for example? - we find daily reasons for interest, amusement or even concern packed in the documents. So we are launching a new running feature that we call "Caught our Eye."

Longer than tweets but shorter than most blog posts, Caught our Eye items will bring back the interest in reviewing documents and researching people. Some items might bring hard, breaking news. Others will raise eyebrows and lead some into further inquiry. Others might be good for a joke or two around the water cooler. All will enlighten about the people or workings of Capitol Hill.

Caught our Eye items will be published each morning for LegiStorm Pro subscribers. Non-Pro site users will be able to receive the news items a few hours later. In addition to having immediate access to the news, LegiStorm Pro users will have a handy way to search and browse all past items.