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Geduldig Heads to K Street


by Kate Ackley & Tory Newmyer

Switching sides. The whip team of Rep. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) is losing its liaison with the lobbying community.

Sam Geduldig -whom most downtown lobbyist know as their link between the votecounting operation and the lobbying sector and who routinely sent out e-mails summoning the representatives from corporate and interest groups to strategy meetings on Capitol Hill – said he plans to launch a governing relations practice next year along with lobbyist Stephen Clark, an Ohioan with close ties to his home state’s delegation.

“Sammy’s not just plugged in. He does the plotting, the strategizing,” said Bruce Josten, executive vice-president of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce who has worked with Geduldig on coalitions.

“I thought it would be more exciting than joining a trade association or other in-house job.” said Geduldig, 34. “It’s more entrepreneurial.”

“Clark -who plans to keep his current firm’s name Clark & Associates, though Geduldig will be a partner – focuses on financial services clients such as the American Bankers Association and Fidelity Investments.

In Blunt’s office, Geduldig – who formerly ran coalitions for Financial Services Chairman Mike Oxley (R-Ohio) – also handles the financial services portfolio and political work, said Blunt Chief of Staff Brian Gaston.

“This is how coalitions are supposed to be run,” Gaston said. “He knows everyone around town. On certain issues you have to reach across the aisle, develop relationships with people downtown who have those relationships to get the commitments you need.”

“Gaston said Blunt’s soon-to-be-Minority Whip operation will tap a new coalitions director, but he wasn’t ready to announce the name. Next year when the GOP is in the minority, Gaston said, coalitions might take on a different role, but they’ll still be important. “We’re going to figure out how that will change,” he said. Blunt “will start identifying Democrats we can work with.”

The Blunt whip operation, and before that the team of then REP. Tom Delay (R-Texas), developed a system of drafting lobbyist to help them count votes and sway members on hard-fought bills such as one to approve the Central American Free Trade Agreement.

“Sammy’s not just plugged in. He does the plotting, the strategizing,” said Bruce Josten, executive vice-president of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce who has worked with Geduldig on coalitions.

Nick Calio, a former Bush administration official and the top lobbyist for Citigroup, said Geduldig “kept everybody informed” and will be able to take his relationships to the lobbying business. “He’s got the talent to do it”. Calio said.

Geduldig said the job has prepped him for a lobbying career. “I feel like I’ve been in training for 10 years for this.” he said.

Said Clark, “He’s anxious to build a business, to be an entrepreneur, to be his own boss.”

Geduldig and Clark said they got to know each other a decade ago when Geduldig was a fund-raiser for House-Minority leader John Boehner (R-Ohio). “That Boehner and Oxley think so much of him was important to me.” Geduldig said.