Jessica Boulanger, a spokesperson for the House Republican leadership in the early and mid-2000s, is the new vice president of communications at the Business Roundtable. She will report to Senior Vice President Tita Freeman, who joined the organization in February. Together, they will be responsible for the group’s external positioning at a time when its signature issue, job creation, has never been more relevant. “There is not a presidential race in recent memory where jobs and the economy were so front and center,” says Boulanger, 35.
Hailing from Fredonia, N.Y., Boulanger attended Syracuse University and cut her teeth as an intern for then-Sen. Al D’Amato, R-N.Y., and then-Rep. Jim Walsh, R-N.Y. After a stop at a New York City-based public-relations firm, she landed on Capitol Hill as deputy press secretary for then-House Republican Whip Tom DeLay, R-Texas. She went on to become press secretary for DeLay’s successor as GOP whip, Rep. Roy Blunt of Missouri, and then communications director for the National Republican Congressional Committee. Before joining the Business Roundtable, Boulanger was vice president of public affairs at New Media Strategies, based in Arlington, Va. In 2009, she created a line of contemporary maternity wear.
She is married to Todd Boulanger, one of two dozen lobbyists, lawmakers, Hill aides, and government officials who were ensnared in the Jack Abramoff corruption scandal. Todd Boulanger pleaded guilty to bribing congressional aides with meals and tickets to sporting events and was sentenced to a month in a halfway house.
Christopher Snow Hopkins
AT THE BAR
In August 2007, Mattel recalled 1 million toys coated with lead paint. Of the tainted playthings — all of which had been manufactured in China — 300,000 were already in the hands of American consumers.
One year later, President Bush signed the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act, which established new limits on lead and phthalate levels in children’s products. The legislation imposed strict implementation deadlines — which set the tempo for life at the Consumer Product Safety Commission.
“Implementing that law was certainly the most demanding part of my job,” says Cheryl (Cheri) Falvey, 50, who this month joins Crowell & Moring as a partner in the law firm’s torts group and product risk-management practice after four and a half years as CPSC’s general counsel. “I arrived six months before the law was passed, and during my time there, we did two rule-makings every six months.”
The goal was to intercept faulty or dangerous products before they got to consumers. It was a thoroughgoing overhaul of the commission’s enabling legislation — and not without unintended consequences. The law was meant to bar dangerous substances from “things that infants can sleep with or suck on,” Falvey explains, but it also covered youth-sized all-terrain vehicles (because of their lead-acid batteries). The act mandated third-party testing to prove compliance — an expensive proposition for most toy makers.
In 2011, Congress revised the mandate, easing some of these restrictions. “There was a real effort to strike the right balance between the cost of the testing and the need to keep kids safe,” Falvey says.
In a blog post, CPSC Commissioner Nancy Nord praised Falvey as “someone who had the wisdom to know what the agency leadership needed to hear and the courage to say it. If our general counsel “… had to worry about keeping her job if she told a commissioner something he or she didn’t want to hear, then we wouldn’t really have a lawyer. We would have a sycophant, useful to the egos of the “˜correctly aligned’ commissioners but useless or even dangerous to the health of the agency.”
The daughter of an Army officer, Falvey attended Holton-Arms, an all-girls private school in Bethesda, Md., and then studied economics and political science at Wellesley College. She traces her interest in political affairs to “commuting to [school] with my father and listening to WTOP.”
After college, Falvey earned a law degree from Georgetown University and then practiced as a litigator at New York City-based Dewey Ballantine, a forerunner of Dewey & LeBoeuf. She spent two decades in the Washington office of Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld, where her work revolved around chemical exposure, or the “intersection of science and the law,” she says.
“My job was making sure that junk science didn’t play out in the courtroom, that decision-making was always based on solid science.”
Scott Hatch, a former executive director of the National Republican Congressional Committee, has joined the Washington office of Los Angeles-based Manatt, Phelps & Phillips. He was recruited to the firm by Jim Bonham, chairman of the federal government-affairs and public-policy practice, after the two reconnected this summer to discuss a shared account.
Party politics notwithstanding, Hatch says that he regards Bonham as a kindred spirit. The latter served as executive director of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee in the early 2000s.
Hatch, now 44, was something of a Republican prodigy: At 26, he became chief floor assistant for then-House Majority Whip Tom DeLay, R-Texas, and, at 30, the youngest executive director in the NRCC’s history.
His charmed career — and subsequent removal from the NRCC a year after taking over — were the subject of a 2000 cover story in The Washington Post magazine, which suggested that his departure was orchestrated by the Republican leadership. According to the article, Hatch’s martial demeanor — “This is a war; and we gotta win,” he told the magazine — rankled then-NRCC Chairman Tom Davis of Virginia.
Whatever the inside story, Hatch rebounded almost immediately, establishing Capitol Management Initiatives in 2001 to help rock musician Bono launch his ONE Campaign, which was instrumental in passing the legislative framework for the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, launched by George W. Bush.
The son of a homebuilder in Greenwich, Conn., Hatch is a “product of the Reagan generation,” he says. Upon graduating from the University of Notre Dame, he came directly to Washington, where his first job was in the office of then-Rep. Jack Buechner, R-Mo.
After working on the abortive congressional campaign of an obscure Ohio county commissioner, Hatch signed on as a policy analyst at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, followed by a stint with a fundraising arm of the NRCC. When the Republicans took over the House in the 1994 midterm elections, Hatch enlisted in DeLay’s successful campaign for majority whip.
True to his roots, Hatch is a maniacal Notre Dame football fan.
AT THE BAR
For the past seven years, Leonard Chanin has been sharpening his regulation skills at the Federal Reserve Board and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. He is leaving the bureau to rejoin Morrison and Foerster as partner, bringing his regulation expertise to the firm’s financial-services practice.
At his most recent post at the CFPB, Chanin served as assistant director of the Office of Regulations. He joined the bureau in April 2011 on a detail from the Federal Reserve, about three months before the agency was officially launched by the Dodd-Frank financial-reform law. “They wanted to get folks in as early as they could to try and set up procedures, hire people, set up processes, and the like,” he says.
His return to the private sector may be a result of the “seven-year itch,” Chanin says. “In the scheme of things, it was a fairly long time to be doing that,” he says. And the decision to return to Morrison and Foerster was an easy one because it was a firm he was “comfortable with and knew quite well.”
One benefit that the private sector offers is involvement in product development. Chanin, 55, says he is looking forward to providing legal and compliance advice for new products and product-delivery channels.
The Georgia native didn’t immediately think he’d pursue a career in regulation when he earned his law degree from Washington University in St. Louis in 1985. Civil-rights issues piqued his interest more than financial regulation. His first job at the Federal Reserve introduced him to the combination of civil rights and fair lending through the Fed’s responsibility to implement the Equal Credit Opportunity Act.
He next joined Morrison and Foerster for his first turn and was of counsel from 1999 to 2005. Although this is his second go-round at the firm, he’s still settling in and determining the areas he wants to focus on.
Brandi Wilson White
Brandi Wilson White is departing Capitol Hill for two short guys. The mother of Jay, 2, and Graham, 1, is looking forward to being home more often and to enjoying D.C.’s fall activities with her sons. White is leaving her position as policy adviser and counsel to Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., to join the government-relations office of Eastman Chemical. “If it weren’t for them, honestly, I don’t know that I’d ever leave the Hill,” she says, “because I love it so much.”
Eastman is based in Kingsport, Tenn., about a three-hour drive from White’s hometown of Athens, Tenn., and that geographical connection had a strong influence on her decision to join. She grew up hearing about the company, one of the top employers in the state. The job will also give her the chance to squeeze in more family time by bringing Jay and Graham along to visit with her grandmother when she travels to the Kingsport office.
The Tennessee ties aren’t all that matters, though. Her career move to Eastman was reconfirmed after she met with the company’s government-relations staff. “Leaving the Hill and leaving an office that I absolutely love, I really wanted to be sure that wherever I go next that it’s the right fit,” White says. “It’ll be a good fit for me.”
Her professional interests are strongly based in D.C. White came to the District for the first time as an undergrad at the University of Tennessee. She spent the summer between her junior and senior years as an intern with then-Sen. Bill Frist, R-Tenn., and after graduating from the University of Tennessee’s law school, White moved to D.C. to join Frist’s office as deputy chief counsel.
Her time with Frist was memorable because it included Senate confirmation of two Supreme Court justices, Samuel Alito and John Roberts. Now, as a mother, she’s even prouder when she looks back on her work in the Senate to pass the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act.
After Frist’s retirement in 2007, White was briefly a presidential appointee at the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Policy. She has been with McConnell for the past five years. Her first day with Eastman is Oct. 9. White, 34, will miss the camaraderie of Capitol Hill but says she’s excited to work with eastern Tennessee residents whose priorities are often “God, family, UT football, and then everything else.”
Beth Beacham’s departure from the Federal Election Commission came at an ideal time. FEC employees are restricted from campaigning, but now the former Republican operative can experience the general election in her new position as of counsel for Clark Hill’s government and public-affairs practice. “Either you really like [campaigning] or you really don’t,” she says. “It’s busy, it’s hard, it’s challenging, but at the same time, it’s fun and rewarding.”
As the executive assistant and counsel to FEC Commissioner Donald McGahn, Beacham had to be a “jack of all trades,” as she describes it. Commissioners often hire lawyers for the two staff slots they are allotted. Beacham, 39, served as McGahn’s press secretary, lawyer, assistant, and any other role he needed. She calls her experience with the FEC invaluable and says it will help her at Clark Hill. “It really gives you insight into how the agency works,” she says. “It really helps when you want to represent clients in the future. You bring a certain experience and expertise that a lot of people don’t get.”
Originally from Franklin Springs, Ga., Beacham applied to law school in D.C. on the advice of a friend. She came to tour the city and Catholic University after being accepted to the university’s Columbus School of Law. “It was just one of those moments where you just know,” she says. “I knew this is where I wanted to be.”
Her time at Catholic provided the opportunity to snag Hill internships, including a stint at the National Republican Congressional Committee. It was while working there on the 2000 election that she furthered her interest in politics and met McGahn.
Beacham clerked for McGahn while he was general counsel at the NRCC, leading the way to her later move to the Federal Election Commission. She joined the Republican National Committee as deputy redistricting counsel after graduation. After a year with the committee, she moved to Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld, focusing on public law and policy. From there, she went to public-affairs firm DCI Group and then returned to the NRCC as general counsel. She joined the FEC in 2009.
Beacham has a new job and a new husband. A mutual friend decided that Beacham and a soldier, Ken White, would make a good match. The two began exchanging e-mails while he was deployed to Afghanistan with the Army. The correspondence turned into daily phone calls, and the couple married last New Year’s Eve. After what Beacham terms a “whirlwind romance,” they settled in her Arlington apartment with their 70- pound Doberman.