Prominent GOP lobbyist leaves Ogilvy for private-equity firm

Berman will become an in-house lobbyist for the private-equity firm, Ogilvy’s biggest client. Gordon Taylor, the lobby firm’s president, told The Hill that Ogilvy will continue to represent Blackstone and work with Berman at his new job.

“After almost a decade working at the Federalist Group and Ogilvy Government Relations, Wayne Berman has accepted an opportunity to go in-house with the Blackstone Group. Wayne has been a great leader, colleague and friend and now shifts over to becoming our biggest client. We are excited to continue working with him in his new role,” Taylor said.

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In an email to The Hill, Berman confirmed he was leaving the lobby firm for Blackstone.

Berman, the lobby shop’s chairman, is one of the biggest names on K Street and is often involved in high-level presidential politics. The lobbyist is a fundraiser for presumptive GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney’s campaign.

Blackstone is a hugely important client for Ogilvy. Last quarter, the private-equity company paid close to $1.3 million to the lobby firm, according to lobbying disclosure records.

Berman’s exit from the firm adds to a list of several others this week who left Ogilvy, which is owned by WPP.

Drew Maloney, the firm’s CEO, left to become the external affairs adviser to the Republican National Committee for Romney’s campaign.

Further, John O’Neill, another Ogilvy lobbyist, is joining Capitol Counsel as tax counsel and principal. Elena Tompkins is leaving Ogilvy to launch her own lobby firm, Tompkins Strategies, on July 1.

Chris Giblin, a Republican lobbyist, is the firm’s new CEO while Taylor remains as president.

Ogilvy is a top earner on K Street, taking in $19.9 million in lobbying fees for 2011. That’s a 14 percent spike from the $17.5 million it took in in 2010.

Berman’s departure brings the firm’s roster of lobbyists down to 10.