By The Hill Staff - 12/15/04 12:00 AM EST
|As Majority Leader Tom DeLay’s communications director, Stuart Roy has defended his boss against three ethics rebukes within the past three months, three indictments of former aides, two elections and a district attorney’s investigation in Texas.|
He has also explained DeLay’s decisions asking the Department of Homeland Security to track an airplane carrying Texas Democratic legislators, housing GOP delegates on boats during the party’s New York convention, and raising money for his charity in New York.
|But because his name popped into a friend’s head during a conversation about an opening at the DCI Group, Roy will no longer DeLay’s first line of defense.|
Now, Roy’s life will be about revenues: how much he is paid weighed against how much business he attracts. DCI Group announced last week that Roy will help transform the firm into a one-stop shop for corporations and other entities in need of lobbyists and media advisers.
Roy is the latest DeLay aide to jump to K Street. The others include scandal-plagued Michael Scanlon, Alexander Strategy Group’s Ed Buckham and Tony Rudy, William and Jensen’s Susan Hirschmann. Charles Schwab’s Geoff Gradler, Federalist Group’s Drew Maloney, and Koch Industries’ Tom Pyle. Because Roy will advise clients about a media strategy, he won’t be vying for the same clients as Rudy and Hirschmann.
DCI started as a grassroots organizing business in 1996 and opened a lobbying practice several years later. Unlike many lobbying firms here, DCI remains a privately held company and does not disclose its revenues.
The firm represents a variety of corporations and trade associations, such as Voices for Choices, an AT&T-sponsored front group to secure favorable government regulations; Blacksburg, Va.-based Shenandoah Electronic Intelligence; the Mortgage Insurance Companies of America; and Northern Arizona State University, according to records filed with the U.S. Senate, and advises a slew of local governments and universities. DCI also publishes Tech Central Station, a corporate-backed advocacy website that highlights conservative pundits and thinkers.
“For me it’s a perfect combination of traditional public-relations work, campaign atmosphere and strategic communications. It was a great opportunity for me,” Roy said.
Having just had a second child, Roy said it was the perfect time to move: “[All jobs] come with an ending date, [including] working for a member of Congress or a candidate.”
Although Roy had been in talks with DCI throughout the year, the rumor mill in Republican leadership offices kicked into high gear earlier this month. But Roy played coy, dodging questions with the skills he sharpened during his 10 years of political experience in Washington.
Roy is not the first aide move from flacking for lawmakers to spinning for CEOs.
Others who have made the leap include the outgoing Republican National Committee chairman, Ed Gillespie, a former spokesman for Majority Leader Dick Armey (R-Texas), and the Discovery Channel’s vice president for communications, David Leavy.
Leavy, a former National Security Council spokesman for Bill Clinton, said, “On the upside, it’s the same skill set. He’ll do well, but corporate America is different than the public sector. There’s the whole notion of branding. What quality do consumers think of when they think of your brand? That was something that I had to learn.”
Barry Hutchison, a lobbyist for SBC who was a senior aide to House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.), said: “The biggest frustration he’ll run into is, unlike the political world, the corporate world does not have the systems in place to make quick decisions. His frustration will come more or less from managing his clients and their expectations.”
Roy’s job is to bring in business, and, in DCI’s press release, DeLay signaled potential clients that Roy was fine by him. The release also quoted from a new DeLay biography written by Lou Dubose and Jan Reid but omitted the book’s line: “[Roy is] the kind of guy who can stand in front of you and piss on your shoes while telling you with a straight face that it’s raining.”
Asked why it was not included, DCI spokesman Adam Mendelsohn said, “We felt we included the accurate half of the description.”
There is no early front-runner to replace Roy, but sources outside of DeLay’s office have said the majority leader’s press secretary, Jonathan Grella, has taken himself out of the running.