Tag Archives: staff

Laura Herzog leaving Corker, joining Haslam

Laura Lefler Herzog, communications director for U.S. Sen. Bob Corker, is leaving he Washington post to become deputy communcations director for Gov. Bill Haslam.

Lerzog, who worked four years in Sen. Lamar Alexander’s office before moving to Corker’s office seven years ago, said in an email to media that she would leave her current position at the end of the year and begin working for Haslam in “mid-January.”

“Our son, Jack, will be two in January, and my husband and I have been feeling the urge to be closer to family in and around Tennessee,” she said in the email. Herzog grew up in Loudon, TN.

Further excerpt from her email:

After almost 11 years in Washington (four in Senator Alexander’s office and seven in Senator Corker’s), my family will be headed to Nashville after Christmas. Our son, Jack, will be two in January, and my husband and I have been feeling the urge to be closer to family in and around Tennessee.

Suffice it to say, the past decade+ in our nation’s capital has far exceeded this country mouse’s expectations. Working for Senator Alexander and Senator Corker – objectively speaking, two of the great statesmen of our time – on behalf of the fine people of the Volunteer State has been humbling, challenging and inspiring. In my spare time, I’ve also lived quite a bit of life in Washington: I met and married my husband, grieved the death of my brother, and had my first child. These are ties that bind.

…Beginning in mid-January, I will join Governor Haslam’s office as deputy director of communications. I look forward to working with Alexia, Dave and Mike.” (Note: That would be Alexia Poe, Haslam’s communications director, David Smith, press secretary, and Mike Morrow, who does various other things in the office.)

No successor to Herzog has been named in Corker’s office.

Feds: Computer of fired Alexander aide had ‘hundreds of videos depicting underage girls and boys’

A portable hard drive confiscated during a raid on the home of U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander’s fired chief of staff contained hundreds of videos depicting underage girls and boys engaged in sexually explicit conduct, according to the News Sentinel.

Postal inspectors confiscated the hard drive Wednesday morning from the roof of Jesse Ryan Loskarn’s home in southeast Washington. Federal agents said they retrieved the hard drive after they spotted Loskarn leaning out a second-floor window of the home during the raid.

Loskarn, 35, who goes by his middle name, was arrested and charged with possession and distribution of child pornography. Alexander announced later in the day that he had fired Loskarn as his chief of staff.

At 2:04 p.m. today, Loskarn appeared before Magistrate Judge John M. Facciola for his arraignment in U.S. District Court in Washington. Facciola ordered Loskarn to remain in detention until a bond hearing Monday, when he also is expected to enter a plea. Prosecutors had requested that Loskarn remain in detention, arguing that he is a flight risk and a danger to the community since distribution of child pornography is considered a crime of violence.

Loskarn faces a maximum of 10 years in prison if convicted of possessing child pornography. If convicted of the distribution charge, he faces five to 20 years in prison.

During the arraignment, Loskarn appeared tense, stared straight ahead and did not look at the audience in the courtroom. He did not speak, except to state his name and acknowledge that he understood why he was in court. He was dressed in a grey-zippered jacket and faded blue jeans, which appeared to be the same clothes he was wearing when he was arrested.

According to the court records, federal agents targeted Loskarn as part of a broader investigation into a movie production company that operated a website offering DVDs for delivery by mail and for sale via online streaming.

Last Oct. 5 and Oct. 6, postal inspectors identified Loskarn’s computer IP address on the Gnutella peer-to-peer network offering files with names that are consistent with child pornography available for downloading, the records say.

On Nov. 18, law enforcement officers obtained a partial file download of a video that was downloaded from Loskarn’s IP address on Oct. 5. The video showed an adult male partially undressing a prepubescent girl, roughly 8 to 9 years old, and then performing sexual acts on her, the court records say.

Armed with a search warrant, postal inspectors went to Loskarn’s home on Wednesday. When no one answered the door, investigators forced their way into the home.

An investigator assigned to observe the rear of the house saw Loskarn leaning outside the second-floor window, according to the records. The inspector identified the individual as Loskarn and noted that he “appeared to be in a nervous state looking right and left.”

“After approximately three to five seconds, Loskarn made a motion as if he were placing something down outside the window and closed the door,” the court documents say.

Agents later retrieved the object, which was a portable Toshiba hard drive. Loskarn did not admit to putting the hard drive outside, but admitted that he does own a Toshiba hard drive, the records said.

A computer forensic examiner inspected Loskarn’s computer and found peer-to-peer software that operates on the Gnutella file-sharing network, according to the court documents. The software was the same type used on Loskarn’s computer to share child pornography, the records said.

Loskarn, a Maryland native, had worked for Alexander for years in different capacities and was named his chief of staff in November 2011.

Alexander fired Loskarn after his arrest and said in a statement that he was “stunned, surprised and disappointed.”

Note: This updates and replaces earlier post.

Alexander names new chief of staff; porno-linked predecessor ‘removed from payroll’

News release from Sen. Lamar Alexander’s office:
WASHINGTON, Dec. 11 – U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) released the following statement:
“I have named David Cleary as my chief of staff. David has worked with me for eight years and fortunately is well-prepared to step into this position.
“Earlier today, I was informed by the United States Senate legal counsel’s office that law enforcement agents were conducting a search of the personal residence of Ryan Loskarn, who has been chief of staff of my Washington, D.C., office, regarding allegations involving child pornography. I am stunned, surprised and disappointed by what I have learned. Based on this information, I immediately placed Mr. Loskarn on administrative leave without pay. The office is fully cooperating with the investigation.
“The courts will judge Mr. Loskarn’s guilt or innocence, but under these circumstances, he cannot continue to fulfill his duties as chief of staff of this office. Therefore, as of today, I have removed him from the payroll.”
David Cleary has served as Alexander’s legislative director since 2011 and as Republican staff director for the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee since 2012. He has been working with Alexander since 2006. Cleary previously served as a staff member on the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Education and the Workforce under then-Chairman John Boehner (R-Ohio), and as a legislative analyst for the U.S. Department of Education. Cleary earned a B.A. in Political Science and Master of Public Administration from The George Washington University in Washington, D.C.

Cooper Hires Chattanooga TFP’s Washington Reporter

News release from Congressman Jim Cooper:
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Congressman Jim Cooper (TN-05) announced three new additions to his Washington office.
Chris Carroll, a Tennessee native and most recently the Washington correspondent for the Chattanooga Times Free Press, will join as Cooper’s new press secretary on August 5. At the Times Free Press, Carroll reopened the Capital Hill bureau and won several awards for his reporting. He is a graduate of East Tennessee State University’s Honors Program.
Carroll replaces Katie Hill, who has taken a job as communications director for former Congresswoman Gabby Giffords’ organization, Americans for Responsible Solutions.
Cooper also announced the addition of a new staff assistant, Vic Goetz, a Nashville native and former intern, who graduated from Bucknell earlier this year. Goetz replaces another Nashville native, Kathleen Ambrose, who joined the staff of Rep. Mike McIntyre (NC-7) this spring.
Cooper is also pleased to welcome a new health care legislative fellow, Paul Shorkey. Shorkey is a Rhodes Scholar and current candidate for M.Sci. in Global Health Science at the University of Oxford with a focus on U.S. health policy and health systems. He also holds a M.Sc. in Neuroscience from the University of Oxford and is a Morehead-Cain graduate from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Shorkey will work with Cooper on health care issues until the end of the year.
Shorkey succeeds Ruth McDonald, Cooper’s health care legislative aide, who will begin graduate school this fall.

Three state employees on Haslam campaign payroll part-time

Gov. Bill Haslam’s 2014 reelection campaign netted only about a $120,000 gain in the first six months of the year because of expenditures that included payments to three campaign workers who were also on the state’s payroll.
The campaign reported $347,913 in contributions from Jan. 15 until July 1 of this year, along with $226,968 in spending. Thanks to earlier fundraising and an $8,320 carryover from the 2010 campaign, the governor’s re-election fund still had a balance of more than $2 million cash on hand.
The disclosure also shows Haslam is continuing to list $3.5 million that he personally put into the 2010 campaign as a loan to the 2014 campaign, meaning he can use surplus funds from the 2014 effort to repay himself with campaign money if he chooses.
So far, Haslam has no announced opponent to his reelection.
Top donors on the contributor list include Tom Beasley, a founder of Corrections Corporation of America, and his wife, Wendy, and Joseph Gregory of Piney Flats, part of a family that became wealthy through King Pharmaceuticals, and his wife, Lucinda. Each donated $7,600, the maximum permitted by state law for an individual.

Continue reading

StudentsFirst Expands TN Staff

Apparently, StudentsFirst is continuing its focus on Tennessee. (Note prior post HERE.)
The following is a news release from the organization distributed Tuesday:
Nashville, TN – StudentsFirst, a bipartisan grassroots education reform movement, announced three new hires today as the organization expands grassroots momentum in Tennessee. The new additions include Carter Maxwell, who will serve as the State Outreach Director and Mario King, the Shelby County Field Coordinator. They join Paige Donaldson, who was brought on in February to serve as Field Coordinator for Middle Tennessee.
“We’re lucky to have three passionate individuals who know and love the state leading our grassroots efforts in Tennessee,” said Kellen Arno, VP of Membership at StudentsFirst. “As we continue to grow our movement and build momentum in the Volunteer state, we’re bringing together an incredibly strong team to help elevate the stories of parents and teachers on the local level.”

Continue reading

Crissy Haslam Has New Chief of Staff

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Tennessee first lady Crissy Haslam has named a new chief of staff.
Haslam’s office announced that current staffer Rachel Lundeen has been promoted to the top job following the departure of Christi Gibbs.
Gibbs has been hired as the executive director of next year’s National Governors Association meeting in Nashville.
Before joining the first lady’s office, Lundeen worked on Bill Haslam’s gubernatorial campaign and his transition team.
Lundeen said in a release Thursday that she looks forward to working on the first lady’s and governor’s education initiatives and managing the governor’s mansion.
Lundeen holds a law degree and a master’s in public policy.

Alexander Expands, Shuffles Senate Staff

Sen. Lamar Alexander, who has become the top Republican on the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee, has added staffers to help him with committee work who have ties to former U.S. Sen. Fred Thompson and Bill Frist of Tennessee.
More from Georgianna Vines:
David Cleary, his legislative director, also will be the Republican staff director. Cleary’s background includes serving on the staff of the U.S. House’s Committee on Education and the Workforce under then-Chairman John Boehner, now House speaker.
Mary Sumpter Lapinski, Alexander’s health policy adviser, will serve as health policy director for Republicans on HELP. She was health legislative assistant to Frist from 1999-2001 and a legislative aide to former U.S. Rep. Van Hilleary, R-Tenn., when he represented the 4th Congressional District.
Peter Oppenheim will serve as education policy director and committee counsel. He has been Alexander’s legislative counsel and is a former research assistant to former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, R-Ga.
Lindsey Ward Seidman will serve as senior policy adviser. Seidman has worked for Alexander since his first Senate campaign in 2002 and was policy director in his 2008 Senate campaign.
Michael Merrell will serve as chief counsel. He previously was on the Senate Rules Committee, where he advised Republicans on Senate rules and procedure, election administration and campaign finance. He previously worked for former U.S. Sen. Bob Bennett, R-Utah.
Jim Jeffries will continue to serve as communications director, overseeing press in Alexander’s Senate office and at the HELP committee. Liz Wolgemuth will move from the Senate office to serve as Republican press secretary for the HELP committee. Brian Reisinger, new to the office, will serve as press secretary in Alexander’s office.
In Alexander’s Senate office, Allison Martin will serve as deputy legislative director after serving as projects manager and legislative counsel for nearly two years. She previously worked for Thompson and Frist.

Chip Leaving as Chuck’s Chief

Congressman Chuck Fleischmann’s office announced Friday that Chip Saltsman will step down as Fleischmann’s chief of staff effective Jan. 1 after what the Chattanooga Times-Free Press characterizes as “a successful, high-profile and sometimes controversial three years as a confidant, campaign consultant and office supervisor.”
“Chip has been an incredible asset for the last two years,” Fleischmann said in a news release. “His knowledge of politics and public policy is second to none. I thank him for his tireless service and look forward to his advice and counsel in the future.”
Fleischmann legislative director Jim Hippe, a former Bill Frist staffer, will replace Saltsman. The news release gave no reason for the change but said it was part of a long-term plan.
The 2008 presidential campaign manager for FOX News host and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, Saltsman was considered by those close to Fleischmann to favor politics over government. As a campaign consultant, he brass-knuckled health care consultant Robin Smith in 2010 and retired dairy executive Scottie Mayfield this year. Both were considered Fleischmann’s top rivals in consecutive Republican primaries.
“Without question Chip takes a no-holds-barred approach to winning,” Smith said.
Saltsman did not return a call seeking comment Friday. A former Smith aide is suing Fleischmann and Saltsman over advertising and maneuvering in the 2010 election. The case remains in litigation, and campaign funds have been used to pay Saltsman’s legal fees. Fleischmann has called the lawsuit “frivolous.”
A longtime political operative and former Tennessee Republican Party chairman, Saltsman is perhaps best known nationally for his abbreviated campaign for chairman of the Republican National Committee. The bid fizzled in December 2008 when Saltsman distributed a song to supporters called “Barack the Magic Negro,” a parody sung to the tune of “Puff the Magic Dragon” that mocked President Obama. Less than a year later, he went to work for Fleischmann

Corker Makes Senate Staff Changes

News release from Sen. Bob Corker:
WASHINGTON – The office of U.S. Senator Bob Corker, R-Tenn., announced today that Rob Strayer will serve as Corker’s legislative director and general counsel.
A 2000 graduate of Vanderbilt Law School, Strayer joins Corker’s staff from the Bipartisan Policy Center in Washington where he serves as director of the Homeland Security Project chaired by 9/11 Commission Co-Chairs Tom Kean and Lee Hamilton. The group is tasked with reviewing implementation of the commission’s recommendations and analyzing emerging national security threats.
Strayer is a veteran Senate aide, previously serving from 2006 to 2011 as deputy staff director of the Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee. In that role Strayer oversaw a wide range of issues in the committee’s jurisdiction with an emphasis on improving counterterrorism policy. He also played a key role in a committee investigation from 2005 to 2006 into the government’s response to Hurricane Katrina.

Continue reading