- The Washington Times - Tuesday, October 20, 2009


Glickman to quit as movie lobbyist

The top lobbyist for Hollywood’s movie industry will leave his job next year.

Dan Glickman, chairman of the Motion Picture Association of America, will step down in September when his contract expires, association spokeswoman Angela Belden Martinez said.

The job representing movie studios is one of Washington’s most coveted lobbying posts, mixing the glamour of hobnobbing with Hollywood celebrities with the day-to-day issues important to studios, such as taxes and protecting films from unauthorized distribution on the Internet. Mr. Glickman, 64, earned more than $1.2 million in 2007, the latest year for which tax documents are available.

“It’s more nuts and bolts and hard work than it’s glamour,” Mr. Glickman said Monday in an interview.

Mr. Glickman took the post in 2004, succeeding the colorful Jack Valenti, who had the job since 1966. Mr. Glickman, a low-key former Agriculture Department secretary and Democratic congressman from Kansas, has been lower profile than Valenti, who has his own star on Hollywood’s Walk of Fame and died in 2007.


Stunt group tries press club hoax

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s reported flip-flop on climate change, conveyed in a news release and a Washington news conference, was a hoax perpetrated by a group that stages stunts to satirize corporate positions.

A New York-based group calling itself the Yes Men issued a phony press release and the text of a purported speech by chamber President Thomas Donohue on Monday under the chamber’s letterhead, said Jacques Servin, a Yes Men member. The imposters also held a news conference at the National Press Club featuring substitute chamber officials.

Eric Wohlschlegel, executive director of communications at the chamber, went to the National Press Club and broke up the event, according to Donna Leinwand, club president.

Staff of the National Press Club learned of the hoax and also sought to break it up as it was starting, Ms. Leinwand said.

Mr. Donohue said in a statement that he was asking law enforcement authorities to investigate the event.


Ex-lobbyist’s retrial set for June 21

A federal judge on Monday set June 21 for the retrial of a former lobbyist who worked for influence peddler Jack Abramoff.

U.S. District Judge Ellen Segal Huvelle set the date after Thursday’s mistrial for Kevin Ring. The jury had deadlocked over eight counts.

The government charged that Mr. Ring lavished thousands of dollars worth of tickets and meals on employees of then-Republican Reps. John Doolittle of California and Ernest Istook of Oklahoma, and on Justice Department officials in return for congressional appropriations and other assistance for Abramoff’s clients.

The mistrial was the biggest setback in the government’s prosecution of cases related to Abramoff.

The jury of seven women and five men at one point said it reached a verdict on one count, involving Mr. Ring’s part in arranging a job that paid $96,000 to Mr. Doolittle’s wife. Jurors did not disclose their decision, and the agreement came undone.


Justice blocks release of names

Justice Anthony M. Kennedy temporarily blocked Washington state officials from releasing the names of people who signed a ballot measure on gay rights.

Justice Kennedy’s ruling Monday temporarily blocks a federal appeals court ruling last week that ordered the release of the names. Justice Kennedy said his order would remain in effect while he considers a request by a pro-marriage group that asked him to reverse the appeals court ruling.

The case involves Referendum 71, a ballot initiative that asks Washington voters to approve or reject the state’s “everything but marriage” law, which grants registered domestic partners the same legal rights as married heterosexuals.

A group called Protect Marriage Washington circulated a petition to put the domestic-partnership law before the voters. Under the Washington state constitution, voters have the power to reject any law through the referendum process.

In appealing to Justice Kennedy to intervene, Protect Marriage Washington argued that state officials had suddenly changed a long-standing practice of keeping confidential the identities of those who signed referendum petitions. The group said signers of the petition fear hostile confrontations from gay rights supporters and noted that their campaign manager had received death threats.


Number of police slain falls sharply

The FBI says the number of police officers slain in the line of duty fell sharply last year.

Bureau statistics list 41 law enforcement officers killed in 2008. The list includes one FBI agent, Sam Hicks, who was fatally shot during a drug raid outside Pittsburgh.

Felony killings of police officers haven’t been that low since 1999, although police officer support groups - which use different standards to count officer killings - say the number of officers killed hasn’t been this low since the 1960s.

In addition to felony killings, the FBI said 68 law enforcement officers were killed in accidents last year, most of them involving car crashes.


Obamas visit daughters’ school

President Obama and first lady Michelle Obama attended parent-teacher conferences Monday at their daughters’ private school.

The Obamas traveled by motorcade Monday morning to the elementary school campus of the private Sidwell Friends School, where Sasha, 8, is a third-grader. Then they went to Sidwell’s Washington middle-school campus, where Malia, 11, is a sixth-grader.

The school was told ahead of time that the first lady was coming, but the president’s visit was a surprise, the White House said. There was no media coverage of the visits.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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