J.B. Poersch, the former executive director of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, has joined SKDKnickerbocker as a managing director.J.B. Poersch At the DSCC, Poersch helped manage the Democratic takeover of the Senate in 2006 and add further gains in 2008. During the 2010 cycle, he worked with Senate Democrats to maintain control of the upper chamber of Congress in the face of the Republican wave. SKDKnickerbocker, which is led by former White House Communications Director Anita Dunn, along with other talented Washington communications veterans, has made several recent high-profile hires of political operatives. Bill Knapp, a principal with the firm, praised Poersch in a statement announcing his move. “He has won races in every corner of the U.S., and without his leadership at the DSCC, the Senate Democrats would be in the minority today,” Knapp said.
Michael E. Toner, the former president of the government affairs branch of Bryan Cave, LLP, has joined Wiley Rein LLP as co-chair of its election law and government ethics practice.Michael E. Toner Toner was chief counsel of the RNC before being nominated to serve on the Federal Election Commission in 2002. He eventually became FEC chairman before leaving the commission in 2007. He was also general counsel on the Bush-Cheney campaign in 2000 as well as on the transition team after the 2000 elections and served in a similar capacity on the 1996 Dole-Kemp campaign. “We are delighted that Michael has decided to join our team,” said Jan W. Baran, a partner with Wiley Rein and head of the firm’s election law and government ethics practice, in a press release. “His leadership, experience, and expertise will wonderfully complement and enhance our capabilities.” “It is a great privilege to have the opportunity to rejoin Wiley Rein, where I started my legal career,” said Toner in the same press release. “I am very excited to be part of such an exceptional group and to help it to reach great heights in the future.”
Joseph Gibson, former chief minority counsel for the House Judiciary Committee and former chief of staff to Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX), has started his own Washington, D.C.–based lobbying firm, The Gibson Group.Joseph Gibson Gibson has also served as the Judiciary Committee’s chief legislative counsel and parliamentarian, as well as its chief antitrust counsel. He has worked on numerous pieces of sweeping legislation, including the Telecommunications Act of 1996 and the Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act of 2005. Before his career in public service, Gibson worked as an appeals lawyer and argued cases before the Second, Eleventh, and Federal Circuit Appellate courts as well as the D.C. Court of Appeals. Gibson is the author of two books on Congress and teaches classes for a nonpartisan training firm on advanced legislative strategy. Ankit Desai has joined the public relations firm MWW Group as senior vice president. Desai is the former managing director at the venture capital firm Third Security LLC and served previously as a staffer for former Sens. Mark Warner (D-VA ) and Joe Biden (D-DE). Immediately before joining MWW Group, Desai was finance director for the Health Information Center, an organization created to support the Affordable Care Act. “Ankit is a great talent who brings expertise in finance, fundraising, and government relations,” said MWW’s president, CEO, and chairman, Michael W. Kempner, in a press release. “Ankit's deep relationships on Capitol Hill and insider's understanding of the inner workings of the Beltway will be a tremendous asset to our firm and our clients.” With MWW, Desai will provide strategic counsel and guidance to existing clients, as well as develop new business and assist in the firm’s overall work in the public sector. Former Democratic Congresswoman Melissa L. Bean has joined the Executives’ Club of Chicago as its new president and CEO. Bean served as the representative for Illinois’s 8th congressional district for three terms before her narrow defeat in 2010. She has served on the House Financial Services Committee and the NATO Parliamentary Assembly. Prior to serving in Congress, Bean worked for more than two decades in the technology industry. “Melissa’s new role will benefit our valued members and our Chicago area business community,” said David W. Nelms, chairman and CEO of Discover Financial Services and 2010 vice chairman of the Executives’ Club, in a statement. “The opportunity to lead this venerable forum forward is a privilege I'm extremely honored to have and enthusiastic to advance with the members of the Executives’ Club,” said Bean in the same statement.
The Tennessee Democratic Party has added Brandon Puttbrese as its new communications director. Puttbrese most recently served in the same position for the 2010 congressional campaign of Roy Herron.Brandon Puttbrese Chip Forrester, chairman of the state party, expressed his enthusiasm for the addition of Puttbrese in a statement announcing his arrival. “Brandon has a well-rounded understanding of the issues facing the state and will be an important asset as we work to support Democratic leaders who are focused on creating jobs and defending the rights of hard-working Tennesseans,” said Forrester. Puttbrese will be responsible for day-to-day communications and will work out of the party’s Nashville office. The Bipartisan Policy Center (BPC) has added General Jim Jones, President Barack Obama’s former national security advisor, as a senior fellow. Jones, who chaired the BPC’s Stabilizing Fragile States project before joining the Obama Administration, will work with the center on a variety of national security and energy issues. “We are delighted to welcome General Jones back to the BPC,” said the center’s president, Jason Grumet, in a statement. “His unique command of global affairs and U.S. strategic interests was invaluable to the first phase of our National Security Initiative. In his new role, General Jones will bring his national security expertise to a wider array of BPC efforts.” The BPC was founded by four former Senate Majority Leaders, including Tom Daschle and Bob Dole, to develop and promote solutions in an array of public policy areas including healthcare, energy, and national security. Jones joins former Washington heavyweights who have become senior fellows at the center including former Sens. Bill Frist, Trent Lott, Bob Bennett, and Pete Domenici. Gregg Keller, the former executive director of the Faith & Freedom Coalition, has joined the American Conservative Union (ACU) as its new executive director. ACU is a grassroots organization that has been mobilizing activists in support of Republican candidates since 1964. In a statement announcing the move, ACU Chairman Al Cardenas said that Keller is highly respected within the conservative community and will have a positive impact on the organization’s mobilization efforts. “With Gregg’s help, ACU will continue to unite social, fiscal, and national security conservatives for the tremendous opportunities we have in 2012 and beyond,” said Cardenas. During the 2008 presidential campaign, Keller served as national coalitions director for Mitt Romney and senior advisor on John McCain’s Missouri campaign. He was also campaign manager for former Missouri Sen. Jim Talent in 2006 and Missouri communications and coalitions director on the Bush-Cheney 2004 re-election campaign. Henri Makembe has joined the issue advocacy and public affairs firm, Beekeeper Group, LLC, as a partner. Makembe will lead the firm’s interactive division. Henri Makembe Before coming to Beekeeper Group, Makembe was client services manager at Blue State Digital. He has also worked with DCI Group as an account executive specializing in blogging, social networks, Web development, programming languages, and databases. Makembe is also known for his blog, Local Politechs, about ways that state and local candidates are using technology. Mike Panetta, a partner with Beekeeper Group, said in a statement announcing the move that his firm “couldn’t be happier” with the addition of Makembe. “Henri’s dedication to both his clients and the public affairs industry, in addition to his expertise, will be a huge asset to Beekeeper Group,” said Panetta.