Justice Dept. vets start firm

ALEXANDRIA, VA: Former Justice Department public affairs officials Mark Corallo and Barbara Comstock have formed a new agency focused on prepping companies and executives for congressional investigations.

ALEXANDRIA, VA: Former Justice Department public affairs officials Mark Corallo and Barbara Comstock have formed a new agency focused on prepping companies and executives for congressional investigations.

With the Democrats assuming control of the House and Senate, investigations into hot-button topics, such as the Iraq War, oil and gas company profits, and drug prices, are expected to generate a lot of attention for companies that have extensive PR or public affairs representation, but may lack Capitol Hill experience.

"You need to understand how hearings are conducted, what should be said, what you're attitude needs to be," Corallo said. "Sometimes it calls for pure defiance, and sometimes it calls for pure abasement. But it's never easy."

Corallo Comstock will be based in the same offices as Corallo's current firm, Corallo Media Strategies, and will begin operations on January 1. Corallo declined to discuss existing and prospective clients, but said the agency would also do general advocacy work in addition to crisis management.

Comstock and Corallo are both former public affairs directors at the US Justice Department, as well as former senior staff members of the House Committee on Government Reform. Comstock is currently a principal with Blank Rome Public Relations.

Other agencies are also touting their congressional expertise. Washington-based Dittus Communications, for example, is currently forming a new practice with parent company Financial Dynamics and affiliate FTI Consulting that will seek to partner with law firms representing clients before Congress.

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