Molinari brings political balance to The Washington Group as CEO

WASHINGTON: Ketchum has ramped up the bipartisan credentials of its

lobbying shop, The Washington Group, with the addition of former

Republican congresswoman Susan Molinari as president and CEO.

Molinari's move follows several years as an independent lobbyist and

public affairs practitioner, working from the offices of fellow Omnicom

company Fleishman-Hillard, for whom she served as an occasional


A frequent television commentator and former anchor for CBS' Saturday

Morning, the liberal Republican served in the House from '91 to '97,

gaining notoriety for her work on women's issues and her '96 keynote

speech at the Republican National Convention.

The Washington Group, purchased by Ketchum less than a year ago, has

long held a reputation as a Democratic shop. Principals John Raffaelli,

John O'Hanlon, and Rita Lewis have all spent time on Capitol Hill as

aides to members of the Democratic leadership. Ketchum hopes that the

addition of Molinari will add balance to the agency's reputation, which

could have been a potential liability when neither party holds a

decisive majority in either house of Congress.

Molinari brings several clients with her, among them the American

Association of Railroads, Freddie Mac, and Exelon. One of her clients,

SBC/Verizon, presents a conflict, however, as Ketchum represents AT&T.

Molinari said a resolution is currently under consideration.

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