Sunrise (3/28/11)



DealBook: “Facebook is in talks to hire Robert Gibbs, President Obama’s former White House press secretary, for a senior role in helping to manage the company’s communications, people briefed on the negotiations said. … Facebook is seeking out Mr. Gibbs ahead of an initial public offering planned for early 2012, these people said. … A job for Mr. Gibbs at Facebook could be worth millions of dollars. While details of his potential compensation package have yet to be discussed, people briefed on the talks said that he would receive a cash salary as well as shares ahead of the initial offering. Facebook is being valued by some investors at more than $60 billion and could be the largest offering in history. … While Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook’s co-founder, often acts as the public face of the company, Mr. Gibbs may be able to help communicate the company’s message in the media, to investors and policy makers.”


WaPo: “The Senate’s recent passage of the America Invents Act has been hailed as the first meaningful overhaul of the country’s patent process in more than 50 years. It is also the culmination of a long-running advocacy campaign that has sent at least 100 lobbying shops to Capitol Hill to represent at least 267 organizations in the last year alone. … The proposed changes give the U.S. Patent and Trade Office the ability to set its own fees, manage its own revenue, establish an expedited patent-review system and expand the ways in which a patent can be challenged. But no provision generated more interest among the organizations that weighed in than the switch from a first-to-invent to a first-to-file system used in most other countries, which would grant a patent to the first inventor to file an application even if others conceived of a similar idea first. … The shift was a victory for big companies such as Johnson & Johnson, Eli Lilly and General Electric, which are adept at filing patents often and early and hope the new system will help keep disputes over patent ownership out of court. The Coalition for 21st Century Patent Reform spearheaded their campaign, doling out more than $1.4 million to the lobbying firms Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld and the Palmetto Group last year on behalf of these corporations and dozens of others that included BP, Dow Chemical, Motorola, PepsiCo and Procter & Gamble. At times, coalition members hired their own lobbyists to work on the issue, with Eli Lilly bringing on Heather Podesta and the Nickles Group, and Novartis retaining the shop of former Clinton White House staffer Steven Ricchetti.”


The Hill: “The Republican chairman of the powerful House Oversight and Government Reform Committee will get his first crack this week at publicly grilling Department of Homeland Security (DHS) officials about the agency’s FOIA process. … Rep. Darrell Issa (Calif.) has doggedly sought to find out whether DHS allows political appointees to play a role in prioritizing or censoring information it is required to release under the agency’s Freedom of information Act (FOIA) guidelines.”


Roll Call: “A federal jury indicted Hampton last week on charges that he broke conflict-of-interest laws because he contacted his former boss, Sen. John Ensign (R-Nev.), in violation of the chamber’s one-year lobbying ban for former aides. … Although it is not the first time the Justice Department pursued suspected violations of the law — both then-Rep. Bob Ney (R-Ohio) and his former chief of staff Neil Volz pled guilty to conspiracy to violate Volz’s one-year lobbying ban — attorneys knowledgeable with the ethics process said the indictment will likely reverberate on Capitol Hill. … “It seems as though periodically it’s required on Capitol Hill that every few years there be a somewhat seismic event that grabs everybody by the lapels and tells them these rules are real and you have to follow them. … this is a cleansing process that repeats itself over and over again,” said one attorney who regularly represents Members and aides.”


NYT: “Before the Internet, a Russian dissident might have hoped to reach dozens of sympathetic readers with a mimeographed samizdat publication of forbidden material. … But in today’s Russia, Aleksei N. Navalny has managed to attract a vast audience with his Web site for investors,, even as he takes on big state-owned energy companies in his crusade against graft, kickbacks and bribery. … Mr. Navalny, whose fame and unabashed political ambitions are surely helped by his blue-eyed good looks and acidic sense of humor, has clearly touched a nerve in Russian society. His blog appeals to Russians who wonder: if the country’s vast oil wealth is not trickling down to the public, where is it going? … “I do this because I hate these people,” Mr. Navalny said gleefully of his Web postings, which take aim at those he describes as the self-dealing managers in the oil and natural gas business.”