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Washington Change Agent

Kirsten Johnson-Obey joins Washington lobbying firm Porterfield & Lowenthal.

One way to pinpoint the big legislative issues on Capitol Hill is to note who’s being hired by Washington’s top lobbying firms.

Last month, Porterfield & Lowenthal — whose client list includes the Coalition of Private Investment Companies, or CPIC, the lobbying organization that short-seller James Chanos founded — announced that Kirsten Johnson-Obey has joined the firm as an executive vice president for legislative affairs. Johnson-Obey, 45, began her Washington career as a legislative aid to former Democratic congressman Bruce Vento and most recently spent seven years as the senior director of congressional relations for embattled mortgage giant Freddie Mac.

She believes that her experience with financial services legislation will be crucial to her new job, given that sweeping legislation overhauling financial regulation is expected as early as this month. "It is important to have an understanding of all aspects of the capital markets," she says.

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