NEW YORK, October 3—When Ketchum acquired The Washington Group earlier this year it signaled its interest in expanding its public affairs practice to include an integrated lobbying capability. This week, in a sign that the firm is serious about being a player in the lobbying business—and a bipartisan player at that—it named former Congresswoman Susan Molinari president and chief executive officer of The Washington Group.
Molinari, a political strategist and former Republican Congresswoman from New York who once was the highest ranking woman in Congress, will lead business and client development and help shape the firm’s strategic direction.
“We’re thrilled to welcome Susan Molinari to The Washington Group and to the larger Ketchum family,” says Ray Kotcher, senior partner and CEO of Ketchum. “This appointment fulfills The Washington Group’s transition to a truly full service, bipartisan firm which is more important than ever in these crucial times.  It also enhances our ability to offer to our clients a strong campaign-style approach to public affairs, including lobbying, grassroots, and public relations.”
The Washington Group was founded in 1997 and has a mix of clients including healthcare, technology, telecommunications, environmental, real estate and transportation companies. It has a staff of 11 government relations professionals with more than 150 years of combined legislative and political experience staff the firm.
With the appointment of Molinari, John Raffaelli assumes the role of chairman and co-partners John O’Hanlon and Rita Lewis assume the role of vice-chairman and chief operating officer, respectively. Raffaelli was formerly finance committee legislative counsel for tax and trade to Senator Lloyd M. Bentsen
“The Washington Group has always had the distinction of having perhaps the best contacts at senior Democratic levels in both Houses combined with solid Republican capabilities,” says Susan Molinari takes that to a new level,” says Steve Elmendorf, chief of staff to Democratic Leader Dick
A member of Congress from 1990 to 1997, Molinari was pegged “one of the most distinctive Members of the House” and “one of the most visible voices for her party” by the Almanac of American Politics, and was considered one of the most prominent liberal Republicans and working mothers in politics. During her Congressional tenure, she won passage of measures to enhance adoption and promote breast cancer research. She also was instrumental in the passage of judicial reforms to toughen laws on repeat rapists and child molesters and to increase funding for the Violence Against Women Act.
She was also an anchorwoman of CBS-TV’s Saturday Morning and later hosted the political affairs program, The Flipside with Susan Molinari. Most recently, Molinari chaired her own Washington-based government affairs and strategic communications firm.