UNDER THE DOME

Myrick will monitor homegrown terrorism

From staff reportsMarch 6, 2011 

U.S. Rep. Sue Myrick, a Charlotte Republican, has been named chairwoman of a subcommittee on the full Intelligence Committee.

Myrick will take over as chairwoman of the Subcommittee on Terrorism, Human Intelligence, Analysis and Counterintelligence. The role puts Myrick in the position of holding hearings and investigations, including into a chief concern of hers, homegrown terrorism.

Myrick joined the Intelligence Committee in 2009.

In a statement Friday, Myrick said she was "excited and honored" to take over as the subcommittee's leader. "I look forward to working with my colleagues on the important issues under (the subcommittee's) jurisdiction, and ensuring the safety and security of the American people," she said.

Once lobbyists, now staffers

Two top staffers within North Carolina's congressional delegation are among at least 130 chiefs of staff and legislative directors who are former lobbyists, according to a report out this week from the Center for Responsive Politics and Remapping Debate.

There currently are about 990 staffers in top roles in House and Senate offices, according to the report.

Thomas P. O'Donnell, chief of staff to U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan, is a former lobbyist for Crowell & Moring, Patton Boggs and Pillsbury Winthrop.

Hagan, a Greensboro Democrat, hired him this year to take over her Senate office. O'Donnell's past clients included Waste Management, the Interactive Skill Games Association and Sybase, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. He also is a former chief of staff for the National Economic Council and Council of Economic Advisers during the Clinton era.

And in the office of U.S. Rep. Renee Ellmers, Elaine Acevedo is a former lobbyist. She worked for Downey McGrath Group, Evans Capitol Group, Florists Trans world Delivery Association and Birch, Holton et al., according to the report.

Acevedo now serves as legislative director for Ellmers, a Dunn Republican.

Her past clients, on issues including health services and computers, included Allied Telesis, Center Point and Rehaks Contracting.

In the center's release, its top official questioned the potential conflict of interest of former lobbyists working in top Capitol Hill jobs.

"The bottom line is that many of the most powerful congressional staffers, who are now responsible for working on behalf of the public's interest, used to make a living convincing the government to benefit a client's special interest," said Sheila Krumholz, the center's executive director. "Such relationships could present conflicts of interest and deserve continued scrutiny."

Will Perdue not run?

On his Talking About Politics blog, longtime Democratic strategist Gary Pearce provides his take on suggestions that Gov. Bev Perdue might not seek re-election.

"Like everybody else, I've assumed that Perdue - like Governors Hunt, Martin and Easley - would automatically seek reelection," he writes. "Suppose she doesn't. Suppose she looks at her situation this way:

'I've got a tough fight ahead. I have to start raising money and organizing a campaign now. I'll have to deal with potential opponents, a tough legislature and investigations of me and my campaign.

'What if I decide instead to spend my last two years doing what I think is right. Veto any bill I don't like. Go out as a principled fighter and leader, not just another politician. Go out on my own terms, unlike most politicians. Then go make a lot of money and enjoy life. And stay alive to run for something another day - or get a nice federal job.'"

Read more at www.talking aboutpolitics.com.

By staff writers Barbara Barrett and Mary Cornatzer

barbara.barrett@newsobserver.com or 202-383-0012

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