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Lobbyists break away to start new firm

Five lobbyists have broken away from the top K Street firm Williams & Jensen to form a new shop called Alignment Government Strategies.

The new firm includes Patrick Pettey, Jenny DiJames, Bert Carp, Mike Beer and Becky Anderson, who all left Williams & Jensen last week, as well as former corporate healthcare lobbyist Leo Jardot.

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Williams & Jensen, which earned $17.6 million last year in lobbying fees, is the No. 7 lobby shop in Washington by revenue. The loss of the five lobbyists takes away more than 15 percent of the law and lobby firm’s registered representatives, according to a lobbyist tally from the Center for Responsive Politics.

Carp, a partner at the new venture, said it hoped to out-maneuver traditional lobbying operations by matching clients’ desires with a “government relations plan that will work” and then “[implementing] those plans.”

“The government relations business has changed dramatically in the last few years, but the expectations of clients have not,” Carp wrote in an announcement about the firm.

“Along with the experience required to be successful in Washington, clients today often require a more nimble lobbying platform and a greater level of flexibility,” he said. “They also look for a hands-on approach from their advisors and that’s precisely what we aim to deliver.”

Combined, the lobbyists at the new firm have more than 80 years of experience in campaigns, the executive branch, and Congress.

The bipartisan firm of three Democrats and three Republicans will handle a wide range of policy issues, Carp told The Hill in an interview.

“When legislation hits the floor of the House or Senate, it’s possible to have a wider impact and we can talk to every committee in Congress,” he said.

The former Williams & Jensen lobbyists have worked together for almost 10 years, and have long known Jardot, a healthcare lobbyist who ran the Washington office of Wyeth, a Fortune 100 pharmaceutical company eventually acquired by Pfizer.

“We’re still friends,” Carp says of the relationship with his old employer. “I don’t see any reason why both firms can’t prosper.”

“Williams & Jensen was the same size as Alignment Government Strategies about 25 years ago. It’s a natural outgrowth of the economics of government relations,” he said. “This just seemed like too good of an opportunity to pass up.”

Anderson served in the office of legislative affairs in the White House of President George H.W. Bush, and in addition to her advocacy work since then, advises female Republican candidates.
 
Beer has been on a number of lobbying contracts for prominent clients while at Williams & Jensen, including Coca-Cola, United Airlines, General Dynamics, the American Council of Life Insurers and Bayer. During his Capitol Hill days, he worked for former Rep. Dave Hobson (R-Ohio).  
 
Carp worked for many of the same clients, but also has experience in telecommunications and counted Comcast, the National Cable and Telecommunications Association and Turner Enterprises as clients. Earlier in his career, Carp worked in Turner Broadcasting System’s in-house lobby shop, and as as a senior aide to former President Jimmy Carter and then-Sen. Walter Mondale (D-Minn.).
 
DiJames worked for former Rep. Bud Cramer (Ala.), one of the original members of the centrist Blue Dog Coalition, and has represented clients before Congress and federal regulators, specializing in the transportation, defense and education policy areas. She has been involved with the National Children's Alliance and several other children’s groups and “continues to be engaged on Internet child protection issues,” the firm says.

During his more than two decades at Wyeth, Jardot was active in several prominent health trade groups, including PhRMA, the Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO) and the Consumer Healthcare Products Association. Before that, he worked for former Rep. Glenn English (D-Okla.) and the House Committee on Government Operations, now known as the Committee on Oversight & Government Reform.

Pettey worked as chief of staff former Republican Sen. Bob Smith (N.H.), who is running again for Senate after a 12-year gap. He specializes his practice on environmental, energy, natural resources, nuclear, and transportation issues, drawing on his experience working on the Clean Air Act, the Safe Drinking Water Act and the Clean Water Act while on Capitol Hill.