MPAA hires Dennis Hastert's former spokesman

LOS ANGELES: The Motion Picture Association of American (MPAA), the lobbying arm for major Hollywood studios, has hired a high-profile GOP aide as its new VP of communications in Washington, DC.

LOS ANGELES: The Motion Picture Association of American (MPAA), the lobbying arm for major Hollywood studios, has hired a high-profile GOP aide as its new VP of communications in Washington, DC.

John Feehery, who was most recently chief spokesman for House Speaker Dennis Hastert (R - Ill), is expected to start at the MPAA this month. The organization would neither confirm nor deny his hiring, but Feehery left his position with Hastert last week and has been quoted in trade papers announcing his hire. Reports estimate his MPAA salary near the $500,000 mark.

Feehery's hiring may help the MPAA win more acceptance with Republicans, who have long complained of Hollywood's liberal leanings. Last year, the organization hired democrat Dan Glickman to replace outgoing head Jack Valenti, a move that was unpopular with the GOP.

Feehery has a long history on Capitol Hill. Before his current role with Hastert, which he has held since 1999, he served as communications director for Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-TX).

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