Ex-special assistant to Pres. Clinton nabs lobby post

WASHINGTON — The Recording Industry Assn. of America has tapped Michele Ballantyne, a senior counsel for minority leader Tom Daschle (D-S.D.), as the trade org’s senior veep of federal government and industry relations.

Ballantyne will join the RIAA in early June. She replaces David Sutphen, who was lured away earlier this month for a similar lobbying post at Viacom’s Washington office.

Ballantyne brings experience at the highest levels of Democratic politics to the RIAA’s lobbying shop. In the minority leader’s office, she coordinated legislative strategy and managed Democratic initiatives. Prior to her work in the Senate, she served as special assistant to President Clinton as well as a special counselor to White House Chief of Staff John Podesta from 1999 to 2001.

“Michele is one of the most talented and well-respected professionals in the Senate,” RIAA topper Mitch Bainwol said in a statement. “Her credentials are simply outstanding. Michele brings enormous value to our ongoing efforts to educate lawmakers and the public about common-sense ways to facilitate the development of the legitimate music marketplace.”

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