Capitol Alert

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Two political firms with ties to Sacramento are expanding their reach in the beltway through mergers and new office openings.

The Mercury public affairs firm announced today that it is merging operations in the nation's capital with lobbying firm Clark & Weinstock. Mercury's California offices, which are run by former Assemby Speaker Fabian Núñez and Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger adviser Adam Mendelsohn, will continue to operate under the the Mercury flag, as will the firm's work in New York, Florida, New Jersey, Illinois and Pennsylvania. The D.C. group will now be known as Mercury/Clark & Weinstock.

Clark & Weinstock's client list boasts major corporations and political heavyweights in the financial, health and technology sectors, including eBay, Microsoft, General Electric and JP Morgan Chase. Its California-based clients include Napa Valley Vintners, the Dairy Institute of California and the Department of California Highway Patrol.

"Mercury is continually striving to provide first class strategic consulting," Mendelsohn said in a statement. "For our California based clients, this merger allows to us to provide even more resources and talent to achieve their business objectives."

Research firm Forward Observer is also upping its East Coast presence, opening a new office in Washington.

The Sacramento-based firm is head by Joe Rodota, former cabinet secretary and deputy chief of staff to former GOP Gov. Pete Wilson. Its Golden State resume includes work to support Proposition 14, which created California's new top-two primary system, and the successful campaign against Proposition 23, which sought to suspend the state's greenhouse gas emission law. Rodota also served as policy and research director for Schwarzenegger's 2003 recall election.

"Establishing a formal presence in Washington is the logical next step for our firm," Rodota said in a statement. "We bring unique expertise to the nation's capital, where the quality of information and the speed of execution can determine the outcome of many important battles."




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