What timing: Miers firm sets up D.C. shop

  • The Washington Examiner
  • |
  • October 28, 2005

by Karen Feld

Just days before Supreme Court nominee Harriet Miers withdrew her nomination, Dallas law firm Locke Liddell & Sapp – at which she was the first woman to be a co-managing partner – opened its Washington office. But the firm has no shortage of Washington connections, particularly on the Republican side of the aisle. Roy Coffee, who was Austin director of the Texas Office of State-Federal Relations when George W. Bush was governor, heads the office along with Dave DiStefano, former chief of staff to Rep. Bob Ney, R-Ohio, and Phil Rivers, former chief of staff to Sen. Richard Shelby, R-Ala.Timed withdrawal after all?

Insiders are buzzing that the White House – after concluding that Miers’ nomination was a burden – timed her withdrawal to deflect news of indictments expected to be announced on the leak affair involving Valerie Plame. “Why do they need to blow smoke in the face of the world?” asked one Hill insider. Even some moderate Republicans now feel that they have a license to do as they please – with or without the White House and congressional leadership condoning it.

Albright, undiplomatically speaking

Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright at a press conference earlier this week, presenting “Together America Can Do Better” with Democratic congressional leaders Sen. Harry Reid of Nevada and Rep. Nancy Pelosi of California, described the way the current administration is handling matters: “It sucks.” And, as an afterthought, Albright added: “Those are diplomatic words … . ”

Ralls reveals a little about Jack

D.C. Council Member Jack Evans was among the missing at his close pal and neighbor Marsha Ralls’ art reception Tuesday evening at Palette. Evans, who had hoped to become chairman of the D.C. Council, is under scrutiny for allegedly using funds from his political action committee to pay expenses for Ralls to accompany him on a trade mission to China last year. When asked where Evans was that evening, Ralls responded: “I think he’s giving a speech tonight.” Meanwhile, Evans’ office is keeping his schedule close to the vest.

When quizzed on concerns about that trip, Ralls said: “I haven’t been following it. I’ve been in Dubai,” where she’s opened an office. But she did offer up that Evans’ law firm gave him a raise so he’s decided to put his pursuit of the chairmanship on hold.

Parks’ home away from home

Rosa Parks, the civil rights heroine who died earlier this week at age 92, lived much of the time in the Mansion on O Street off Dupont Circle for several years, and even had three of her birthday parties there. She stayed in the appropriately serene Octagon Room with its private balcony, facing gardens and the pool. Parks liked it so much that she entertained high-level visitors there – then-President Bill Clinton and many of his Cabinet members – rather than in the more formal rooms of the eclectic mansion. HH Leonards Spero, the Mansion’s creator and proprietor, whom Parks called “her daughter,” traveled through much of the world with Parks. “I don’t see color,” Parks told Leonards Spero, who is white. “You have creators’ hands like I do.”

Parks: A purpose-driven life

Leonards Spero told me about the time Parks took her to meet the pope in St. Louis and shared valuable wisdom. “It’s not just an experience to meet someone. You must pass on the message,” Parks told her. “Don’t go places just to float. Have a purpose.”

Leonards Spero, who is a board member of the Rosa Parks Museum in Montgomery, Ala., first met Parks many years ago after actress Cicely Tyson recommended that the civil rights activist stay at the Mansion. The two became close friends.

Back to Articles