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Matt Salmon Leaves COMPTEL for Lobbying Firm

Matt Salmon, who has served as president of COMPTEL since December 2007, has resigned.

The former Arizona congressman is taking a job at lobbying firm Policy Impact.

The news comes barely a week after Salmon, at the Spring 2009 COMPTEL Conference & Expo, spoke enthusiastically about holding fundraisers for members of Congress who support the competitive community.

Indeed, at the conference, there was no indication that Salmon was planning to leave. No grumblings were overheard about his performance or approaches to public policy initiatives, leaving one to presume Salmon is headed for a position with better pay. COMPTEL is a nonprofit association while those K Street lobbyists are flush with money.

As a former Republican representative in Congress and Arizona gubernatorial candidate, Salmon has connections that likely led to his hiring. Policy Impact was founded in 1997 by Haley Barbour, Mississippi governor, and Ed Gillespie, once a Republican National Committee chairman.

COMPTEL’s official reaction to Salmon’s resignation was polite with praise. COMPTEL CEO Jerry James in a prepared statement Wednesday said Salmon has given COMPTEL “hard work and dedication” and that working with him had been “a pleasure.”

James and Salmon were COMPTEL’s first-ever executive duo. As CEO, James headed the organization’s business initiatives while Salmon spearheaded policy advocacy. James took over in June 2007 after Earl Comstock resigned; and once Salmon signed on, COMPTEL seemed to find new life as two people used their respective strengths and contacts to lobby for CLEC members.

COMPTEL said in Wednesday’s release that James will take over Salmon’s public policy and day-to-day responsibilities; a spokeswoman said only the board of directors can choose whether to hire someone to replace Salmon and that the decision has not yet been made.

“The association remains a strong and effective voice before lawmakers and regulators,” James said in the statement. “We will continue to advocate for the needs of our members before Congress, the Federal Communications Commission and the courts, as we have for the past 30 years.”


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