22 November 2005

Supposedly This All Has Something to do With Sausage

Updated... See last paragraph...
For those following the stadium situation, you know that there are two fronts on which DC United has to win in order to get the Poplar Point stadium. The DC City Council has to be on board, as well as its associated regulatory agencies. But a DC Council win counts for nothing if the Federal Government doesn't swap the land at Poplar Point which is currently under their ownership. While there are good indications that this will occur thanks to federal representatives like Tom Davis (R-VA), there have been the occasional worries that the government would just sell the land outright, as suggested by Representative Richard Pombo (R-CA), which would make things considerable more difficult.
While the effort to win over the DC Government has been in the press recently, there are signs that DC United is playing the federal game as well. From The Hill, a quick note on some of the lobbyists that DCU is bringing in to work this situation (fourth bullet point in article):
ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT. DC United, a professional soccer team based in Washington, has hired Arent Fox to lobby on the federal and local government on matters that include the construction of a new stadium. The lobbyists working for the United include Craig Engle, a former general counsel to the National Republican Senatorial Committee, and Jon Boucher, the former chief counsel and legislative director to Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C.) and minority counsel for Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.).
What do we know of these people?
Arent Fox is probably a known quality to DCU and MLS, as the Center for Public Integrity profile indicates that they were the primary lobbyist for Anschutz Corp. in 2004.
Craig Engle's profile looks fairly good for a lobbyist, though he seems to be primarily concerned with Campaign Finance issues as opposed to either Federal/Municipal relations or real estate valuations/development. That being said, he looks to be a good person to talk with the red seats in the house based on his work with the National Republican Senatorial Committee. He may raise a few eyebrows from blue lobbyists who have associated his name with various "Republican fundraising hijinks" but I personally feel better knowing that he's been associated with certain organizations that make me believe he's not a ideologue.
Jon Boucher, by contrast, seems to have kept a lower (at least web) profile. I can find absolutely nothing on him, other than the quick capsule profile summary seen above. But, based on that, he seems to be working the Blue seats. This is DC, and you got to work both sides.
DCU seems to have a team in place to navigate the complexities of the Federal part of this stadium deal, so we'll see how it all pans out. If you have information on this, feel free to leave it in the comments or send an email to the contact address we've listed, since I'm very curious as to how this all works.
UPDATE!!! [12noon] The Hill got his name wrong, as it is Jon Bouker, not Boucher. His Arent Fox profile indicates that he has worked not just on DC United's stadium deal, but also on the Washington Nationals stadium deal and the Arena Stage reconstruction. (Nice, since I have a ticket plan to Arena...). Bouker clearly has the sort of real estate development experience and DC Government experience that Engle lacks, while Engle seems to offer more federal legislative know-how and connections to the ruling GOP.