People

On the Move

Democratic staff director: Amber Cottle (Richard A. Bloom)
©2011 Richard A. Bloom
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Mike Magner and Christopher Snow Hopkins
Feb. 14, 2013, 2:55 p.m.

Hill People

Am­ber Cottle

Democratic staff director: Amber Cottle (Richard A. Bloom) ©2011 Richard A. Bloom

As a ju­ni­or as­so­ci­ate at Wilmer, Cut­ler & Pick­er­ing, Am­ber Cottle was con­signed to a car­rel. “I spent a lot of hours in the lib­rary do­ing re­search memos,” she says.

Ten years later, as Demo­crat­ic staff dir­ect­or for the Sen­ate Fin­ance Com­mit­tee, she will be in­stru­ment­al in Chair­man Max Baucus’s “ef­forts to re­form the na­tion’s tax sys­tem,” ac­cord­ing to a state­ment. The Montana Demo­crat has named Cottle to suc­ceed Russ Sul­li­van, who is re­tir­ing after 18 years on Cap­it­ol Hill, partly to spend more time look­ing after a bevy of foster chil­dren (18 in all).

A nat­ive of St. Louis, Cottle in­terned for then-Rep. Dick Geph­ardt, D-Mo., while she was an un­der­gradu­ate at St. Louis Uni­versity. After gradu­at­ing from the Uni­versity of Chica­go Law School, she clerked for a Bal­timore judge on the U.S. Court of Ap­peals for the 4th Cir­cuit.

Cut­ler worked for four years in the in­ter­na­tion­al group at Wilmer, Cut­ler and then joined the Of­fice of the U.S. Trade Rep­res­ent­at­ive as as­sist­ant gen­er­al coun­sel. With­in two years, she was ne­go­ti­at­ing bi­lat­er­al in­vest­ment treat­ies on be­half of US­TR.

In 2007, Cottle was named chief in­ter­na­tion­al trade coun­sel to the Sen­ate Fin­ance Com­mit­tee, a post she con­siders “more hands-on, fast-paced, and policy-fo­cused” than private prac­tice. Baucus de­scribes the 42-year-old as “an ex­pert ne­go­ti­at­or [and] prob­lem-solv­er who works across party lines.”

Chris­toph­er Snow Hop­kins

In the Tanks

Nancy-Ann De­Parle

For Nancy-Ann De­Parle, who helped en­gin­eer the 2010 Af­ford­able Care Act, the months ahead are an op­por­tun­ity to med­it­ate on one of the most con­ten­tious pieces of le­gis­la­tion in re­cent memory.

De­com­press­ing is a “12-step pro­cess,” she quips. “I’m very much in the first step.”

The former deputy White House chief of staff, who joined the Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion in 2009 to over­see its push for health care re­form, has taken a step back from the hurly-burly of gov­ern­ment ser­vice. De­Parle has been named a guest schol­ar at the Brook­ings In­sti­tu­tion, as well as a lec­turer at Har­vard Law School, where she is teach­ing a sem­in­ar with Cass Sun­stein, who re­cently stepped down as ad­min­is­trat­or of the White House Of­fice of In­form­a­tion and Reg­u­lat­ory Af­fairs.

“Brook­ings is a con­geni­al place to hang out,” she says, adding that she ac­cep­ted the po­s­i­tion in part be­cause it would give her the chance to in­ter­act with oth­er guest schol­ars. De­Parle plans to re­main at Brook­ings un­til June, at which point the former man­aging dir­ect­or of CCMP Cap­it­al — an off­shoot of JP­Mor­gan Chase — will likely re­turn to the fin­an­cial-ser­vices sec­tor.

At Har­vard, De­Parle and Sun­stein will in­tro­duce their stu­dents to a smor­gas­bord of reg­u­lat­ory top­ics, such as the “Pa­tients Bill of Rights” and rules em­an­at­ing from the Dodd-Frank fin­an­cial-re­form law.

De­Parle was born in Clev­e­land and grew up in Rock­wood, Tenn., west of Knoxville. She at­ten­ded the Uni­versity of Ten­ness­ee and gradu­ated with a per­fect grade-point av­er­age. (Her seni­or pro­ject fo­cused on the in­tern­ment of Ja­pan­ese-Amer­ic­ans dur­ing World War II.) De­Parle went on to re­ceive a law de­gree from Har­vard and bach­el­or’s and mas­ter’s de­grees from Ox­ford Uni­versity’s Bal­liol Col­lege.

Wield­ing four de­grees, De­Parle has spent most of her ca­reer shut­tling between gov­ern­ment ser­vice and private prac­tice. From 1987 to 1989, she served as com­mis­sion­er for hu­man ser­vices un­der the late Ten­ness­ee Gov. Ned McWhert­er, a Demo­crat. She next prac­ticed law in the Wash­ing­ton of­fice of Cov­ing­ton & Burl­ing. In 1993, De­Parle joined the Clin­ton ad­min­is­tra­tion as as­so­ci­ate dir­ect­or of the Of­fice of Man­age­ment and Budget. Shortly after that she be­came Pres­id­ent Obama’s health czar.

After leav­ing the White House last month, “[I] didn’t even have a week off,” De­Parle re­marks. “I went to the in­aug­ur­al ball and left the White House party at 3 a.m. on Tues­day morn­ing. With­in a few days, I was teach­ing in Cam­bridge, Mass.”

Now that she has left the West Wing, the 56-year-old is bask­ing in the hi­bernal sun.

“The White House really can be in­su­lar; every­one comes to you,” De­Parle says. “My of­fice had a great loc­a­tion, a few steps from the Oval Of­fice, but the pres­id­ent got all the ocean­front prop­erty, with all the win­dows. My of­fice was deep in the in­teri­or. You could be in there from 7 in the morn­ing un­til 8 at night and nev­er see the sun.”

She is mar­ried to Jason De­Parle, a re­port­er for The New York Times.

C.S.H.

Around the Agen­cies

Jonath­an Per­sh­ing

Jonathan Pershing, formerly the deputy special envoy for climate change at the State Department, is the new deputy assistant secretary for climate at the Energy Department (Chet Susslin) National Journal

As the Obama White House tries to tackle cli­mate change in the face of con­gres­sion­al in­ac­tion, a key point man for the ef­fort will be Jonath­an Per­sh­ing, newly in­stalled as de-puty as­sist­ant sec­ret­ary for cli­mate at the En­ergy De­part­ment.

Per­sh­ing couldn’t be bet­ter suited for the task. He has been work­ing on in­ter­na­tion­al cli­mate-change agree­ments since the first one was pro­posed in 1990, and he has been in­volved in cli­mate re­search since the late 1980s.

“I’ve now been work­ing on these is­sues for 25 years,” Per­sh­ing says. “And it is more clear today that the im­port­ance is high and the change is real. It’s go­ing to get worse go­ing for­ward “… but if we do things do­mest­ic­ally we will be able to move for­ward in­ter­na­tion­ally.”

Per­sh­ing, 53, has been around im­port­ant sci­entif­ic en­deavors all his life. His fath­er worked at Prin­ceton Uni­versity on an ac­cel­er­at­or pro­ject fun­ded by the Atom­ic En­ergy Com­mis­sion and then joined some of the world’s most prom­in­ent — and mostly Ger­man — rock­et sci­ent­ists at the U.S. space-re­search cen­ter in Hunts­ville, Ala. “Some of my earli­est memor­ies are from Hunts­ville, when a lot of the sci­ent­ists would come over for cham­ber con­certs,” Per­sh­ing says.

Most of his grow­ing up was done in New York City, though, be­fore he went west to study en­gin­eer­ing in Ari­zona and to work as a min­ing geo­lo­gist in Alaska. On his way back east he earned a doc­tor­ate in geo­phys­ics at the Uni­versity of Min­nesota, where his re­search on cli­mate change began.

Per­sh­ing worked at Min­nesota with one of the pi­on­eers in cli­mate sci­ence, Dean Ab­ra­ham­son, and helped study, among oth­er things, how glob­al warm­ing might af­fect wa­ter levels and fish in the Great Lakes.

In 1990, he was named a fel­low at the Amer­ic­an As­so­ci­ation for the Ad­vance­ment of Sci­ence and as­signed to the State De­part­ment’s cli­mate of­fice, which was just start­ing work on the first frame­work treaty on cli­mate change. Per­sh­ing stayed at the State De­part­ment through 1997, when the Kyoto Pro­tocol was put in place to give in­dus­tri­al­ized na­tions spe­cif­ic goals for re­du­cing emis­sions of green­house gases.

Next was Par­is, where Per­sh­ing be­came head of the en­ergy and en­vir­on­ment di­vi­sion at the In­ter­na­tion­al En­ergy Agency in 1998. “I learned early on that 85 per­cent of green­house emis­sions are as­so­ci­ated with en­ergy,” Per­sh­ing said, so he con­sidered IEA’s work crit­ic­al for the world to ad­dress cli­mate is­sues.

In 2003 Per­sh­ing re­turned to Wash­ing­ton as dir­ect­or of the cli­mate, en­ergy, and pol­lu­tion pro­gram at the World Re­sources In­sti­tute, a think tank fo­cused on ap­ply­ing re­search to solve glob­al en­vir­on­ment­al and eco­nom­ic prob­lems.

While at WRI, he helped three U.S. re­gions — New Eng­land, the West, and the Mid­w­est — form com­pacts on cli­mate change that laid the ground­work for Cali­for­nia’s new cap-and-trade pro­gram, he said.

Shortly after mov­ing in­to the White House, Pres­id­ent Obama tapped Per­sh­ing as a top cli­mate ne­go­ti­at­or at the State De­part­ment, a po­s­i­tion he held un­til last month, when he moved to his new role at the En­ergy De­part­ment.

Mike Mag­n­er

Lobby Shops

Jeff Munk

It al­ways came as a sur­prise to Wash­ing­ton in­siders that Baker Botts did not have a lob­by­ing prac­tice. The Hou­s­ton-based law firm — named for James Ad­dis­on Baker, great-grand­fath­er of former Sec­ret­ary of State James Baker — is in­ter­twined with the neo­con­ser­vat­ive move­ment. As a teen­ager, George W. Bush worked there in the mail room.

Hence, the ad­di­tion of Jeff Munk is over­due. As a part­ner in Baker Botts’s Wash­ing­ton of­fice, he will set up the firm’s first con­gres­sion­al-af­fairs of­fice. “Whenev­er I talk to people about it, they’re astoun­ded to hear that Baker Botts is not on the Hill,” he says.

A nat­ive of Bing­hamton, N.Y., Munk, 51, has been ringing door­bells since he was 8 years old. His fath­er, Joe B. Munk, was su­per­visor of nearby Vestal, N.Y., from 1969 to 1984.

After study­ing busi­ness and mu­sic at De­Pauw Uni­versity in Green­castle, Ind., Munk came to Wash­ing­ton as a factot­um at a mu­sic-in­dustry ad­vocacy group. In the pro­cess of mak­ing pho­to­cop­ies, he says, “I real­ized I needed an­oth­er skill,” so he en­rolled at Syra­cuse Uni­versity’s Col­lege of Law. After re­ceiv­ing his de­gree, he re­turned to the cap­it­al to clerk for a judge on the U.S. Tax Court.

In 1992, Munk served as deputy gen­er­al coun­sel for Pres­id­ent Bush’s un­suc­cess­ful reelec­tion cam­paign. Two years later, he earned a mas­ter’s from Geor­getown Uni­versity Law Cen­ter. After serving as le­gis­lat­ive coun­sel for then-Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchis­on, R-Texas, Munk spent 16 years prac­ti­cing law at Hogan Lov­ells.

With a mel­li­flu­ous voice á la Bing Crosby, Munk sings bass in the Wash­ing­ton Chor­us. “It’s easi­er if you al­ways read the low­est line on the page,” he says. “You don’t have to keep track of any­thing.”

C.S.H.

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