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Politico’s Brooks Boliek, who was the longtime D.C. bureau chief for the Hollywood Reporter, writes that the MPAA’s “luster has faded over the years as it finds itself in an identity crisis.”

He writes, “The retirement and death of its charismatic longtime president Jack Valenti and the departure a year ago of former Democratic congressman and Agriculture Secretary Dan Glickman left the once-influential lobby searching for a direction.

““It used to be that when they had the screening for the Senate, you could’ve had a quorum call in there,” said one former movie industry executive.

“Ethics concerns required changes. The dinner is now a buffet. Movies — such as “Black Swan” — are still screened, but guests must sit through a policy briefing over issues facing the industry.”

Public interest groups like Public Knowledge and Free Press would argue that the studio influence is still powerful — with bipartisan support for strict anti-piracy legislation. But perception is everything, and the search for a new MPAA chief is now more than a year old. Efforts to land Bob Kerrey fizzled, and, according to Boliek, the latest name floated, former Rep. Tom Davis, doesn’t want to job. Nor does Chris Dodd. Maybe more telling is that the search doesn’t even command the same level of speculation that it once did. As Glickman points out in Boliek’s piece, the risk is “out of sight and out of mind.”