The Michigan Daily - Friday, October 1, 1993 - 5
Top Ten duties of the
University's lobbying office:
10. Scalps Final Four tickets to senators
9. Recruits graduation speakers from
8. Finds NFL slots for Wolverine
Heisman trophy winners in Washington
7. Lobbies Clinton for free haircuts for
6. Stockpiles frequent flyer miles so
administrators can fly to Rose Bowl
5. Works for national Gerald R. Ford
4. Begins work on tunnel to connect UGLi
with Lincoln Memorial
3. Asks Congress to extend Diag policy to
2. Sells Hash Bash souvenirs to presidents
who do inhale..
1. Offers to put national debt on Entr
'U' lobbying office champions student loans, national service
ASHINGTON - The build-
ing is quiet, the hallways darkened.
The office is located less than three
blocks from one of the most danger-
ous areas in America. The thick wooden door is per-
nianently locked and visitors have to knock loudly
and identify themselves to enter.
C No, you are not watching "Murder She Wrote."
It's the University's Washington office.
Harrison said he supports the idea of a
permanent campus, but is unsure where money
would come from to fund such a large project.
Marelene Andersen, a secretary in the of-
fice, laughs as she remembers that after the
first class, cleaning personnel tending to the
conference room thought she had just hosted
"a huge party.",
But she says this experience benefited the
office. It reminded office staffers of who they
represent in Ann Arbor: real students, who
routinely leave unfolded newspapers and half-
empty pop cans behind in their classrooms.
Also in the office are unpaid student in-
terns whose work is similar to that of the full-
time lobbyists: making phone calls, tracking
legislative proposals and attending congres-
sional hearings. The office is now looking for
student interns for the 1993-94 school year.
Keeping the money coming
The office lies across the hall from defense
contractor Martin Marietta's lobbying office.
The University retains the lease until Febru-
ary 1997 and its base rent costs $50,000. With
expenses, Butts pegs the costs of running the
office at about $100,000 a year.
Although the University is the only uni-
versity in Michigan and the Big
Ten to have an office in Wash-
ington, it is not alone.
Among others, the Uni-
versity of California.
ment relations officer for research and a
Harvard graduate, briefly details the broad
outlines of his job.
When he comes to Ann Arbor several
times a month to keep tabs on "hot" research
projects - like the School of Natural Re-
sources (SNR) global warming studies -
Samors looks for research grant opportunities
and meets with researchers.
Last year alone, the University received
about $225 million in federal research fund-
ing. Samors' job is to help connect research-
ers with grants and to look for federal research
opportunities for University.scholars. But he
does not intervene on the status of individual
Connecting professors with government
agencies is also part of the office's mandate.
The office helped join Barry Checkoway and
the Office of National Service; the Environ-
mental Protection Agency and SNR scien-
tists; the Energy Department and nuclear sci-
In addition, the office fields calls from
congressional committees looking for wit-
nesses to testify before Congress.
President Duderstadt has testified a num-
ber of times before Congress on science and
financial aid issues. Dozens of University
officials testify before Congress ev-
ery year, and when they come
0 to Washington the office is
an invaluable resource.
Working to promote issues that students
favor like the direct student loan program, the
national service act and increased funding for
Pell Grants, the office has a legislative agenda
that picks up where limited resources prevent
-,students from speaking on their own behalf.
The office serves as the University's lob-
bying headquarters as well as meeting place
classroom, travel agency, alumni center, pub-
lic relations firm and government resource.
But at a cost: about $100,000 per year.
In sharp contrast te the trip through the
building is the office itself. Set amid a sea of
blue carpeting, the office is replete with plate-
glass windows and rocking chairs embossed
with the University seal. Michigan parapher-
alia and pictures of campus adorn the walls
The office is located at 499 South Capitol
S., SW. With a breathtaking view of the
Capitol Dome, it lies across from the Demo-
cratic National Headquarters and about 500
yards from the Rayburn Building, which is
home to senior members of Congress includ-
ing Rep. William Ford, whose district encom-
passes the University.
Visitors routinely gush over the view of the
"Everytime I'm sitting in the office, I feel
like I'm on 'This Week with David Brinkley,'
said Walter Harrison, vice president for Uni-
With this position comes geographical
proximity to critical decisions that have im-
mediate impacts on the University. More im-
portantly, the University is afforded access to
policy-makers and can therefore influence
"The fact that last fall (the University)
passed MIT to become the nation's leading
research university - as measured by the
volume of research activity - is due, in part,
to our strong Washington relations effort,"
said Duderstadt, the former Dean of the Col-
lege of Engineering.
The luxurious office is a far cry from the
cramped apartment where Butts worked dur-
ing the first nine years he represented the
University. But this upgrade in accommo'a-
tions does little to impact the time t.t he
spends in airports and meetings, spliatir.g his
time between here and Ann Arbor.
A Washington-Michigan Campus?
This summer, the University held its first
for-credit class in Washington. "Washington
Research Seminar," or Political Science 592,
met on Monday evenings throughout the sum-
mer in the office conference room.
Responding to a request from the political
science department, Harrison funded the
$6,000 cost of the class from a $150,000
"special projects fund" that he distributes ev-
ery year to primarily "first-time or one-time
Courtney Weiner, an LSA junior who took
the course, said she hopes the class will lead to
a "Washington-Michigan campus."
The class, which in its last two sessions
"balanced" the federal budget, focused on
coursepack readings and discussion of intern-
ships that the students held elsewhere.
But part of class' appeal was its location,
"What is more inspiring than discussing
~nl:.:l -i r-:- whmie snniina not the in-
private citizen, and Carolyn Jecks, University
representative (at functions)," she said.
In an interview, Butts emphasized that no
University money is used to pay for congres-
sional fundraisers. He added that he attends
fundraisers because he knows the member of
Congress, not to advance a particular issue.
"The members of the Michigan delegation
understand that we don't have $1,000 of per-
sonal money to attend fundraisers," he said.
Elsa Cole, the University's general coun-
sel, said there is no set of University guide-
lines for lobbyists in Washington, except the
University's Standard Practice Guide. It dic-
tates that "no University official may use an
official position for personal profit."
Desmond Howard at breakfast
But the University's Washington office
holds its own fundraisers for students.
In conjunction with the University Alumni
Club in Washington, the office hosts several
events each year to provide need-based schol-
arships for students.
Washington Redskins wide receiver
Desmond Howard, who was on campus last
weekend, spoke to a recent gathering of the
club. He addressed his continuing,-ties to the
University, and life after Michigan football.
The University's congressional breakfast,
which features members of Congress from
Michigan and those who are University alums,
is a popular event. University alumni House
Majority Leader Richard Gephardt (D-Mis-
souri) and Sen. Nancy Landon-Kassebaum
(R-Kansas) frequently participate.
GephardtisalUniversityLaw school gradu-
ate, and an active participant in the alumni
Butts focuses his attention on direct stu-
dent loans, an issue long supported by the
University Board of Regents and the adminis-
With full implementation of the direct stu-
dent loan program, the government will loan
money to students, cutting banks from the
process and saving approximately $7 billion.
Butts was a member of a national commis-
sion that recommended changes in the finan-
cial aid system to Congress. He also served as
assistant secretary for education in the Carter'
Butts is on a speaking tour of three cities
this week on behalf of the Clinton Department
of Education. He is discussing how colleges
and universities can become involved in the
direct loan program.
Duderstadt, who chairs the National Sci-
Earlier this month,
system, Harvard Uni-
sity have offices.
are represented by
An official in th
University of Califor
fice said having a re
tative on Capitol Hill
_ '5P'\ Andersen called 22 ho-
tels in order to find
Checkoway, a social
* ( work professor who
attended the Rose
Garden signing of
President Clinton's na-
ie SCI E N :tional service plan.
nia °oa°Carolyn Jecks, a gov-
n of- 1 Q) ernment relations associate,
presen- recalls that when U.S. Rep.
is critical. Dan Glickman (D-Kansas), who is
"You need to say in touch with the
rapidly changing regulations the government
creates," a spokesperson said.
The University has made its office avail-
able to other Michigan schools.
"President Duderstadt wanted this to be a
resource for all to use," Butts said. Michigan
State and Wayne State are among universities
that have used the office to hold meetings and
conduct joint lobbying with the University.
Office personnel spend much of their time
networking with other universities, as well as
a University alum, called to get Rose Bowl
tickets, her office expedited the paper work.
These are just a couple of examples of the
office's commitment to serve the University
community. Baker said the office is a "re-
source that all students, faculty and staff can
use while in Washington."
Walking a fine line on lobbying
Part of the daily life of a Washington
lobbyist is attending congressional receptions