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Goodfriend to Lobby Hill for EchoStar

EchoStar Communications Friday named prominent Republican-basher David Goodfriend as the company’s top Capitol Hill lobbyist, a promotion apparently designed to strengthen ties with the incoming Democratic majority.

Goodfriend, a legal adviser to former Federal Communications Commission Democrat Susan Ness, has in recent years held several jobs with EchoStar but he has not been a lobbyist, in part because of his strong partisan attacks on Republicans and the Bush administration during appearances on cable TV news shows and his own weekly radio show called Left Jab, which airs Sundays at 8 a.m. on XM satellite radio.

Before the Nov. 7 elections, EchoStar officials stated that Goodfriend’s partisan reputation meant that he couldn't lobby the Republican-controlled House and Senate. In January, Democrats are to take control of both chambers for the first time in 12 years, clearing the way for Goodfriend’s move into the top congressional-lobbying position at EchoStar.

“David has served our company well in a number of legal and business roles, and we are confident that his knowledge of our business and Washington will help him to inform government officials about the ways EchoStar brings competition to the market and benefits to consumers,” EchoStar executive vice president and general counsel David Moskowitz said.

In his new post, Goodfriend plans to hire a Republican lobbyist in the Washington D.C. office soon, a high-ranking EchoStar official said Friday.

After leaving the FCC, Goodfriend joined EchoStar to serve in legal and business-development posts. He most recently was director of programming. He left the company for nine months to help launch Air America Radio in March 2004. Air America is the broadcast home of The Al Franken Show.

EchoStar’s statement didn’t mention Goodfriend’s affiliation with the XM show or his past association with Air America, a network intended to counter conservative dominance of the political talk genre.

Goodfriend was deputy staff secretary to President Clinton. He also held staff positions with Rep. Charles B. Rangel (D-N.Y.) and Sen. Herb Kohl (D-Wis.). Goodfriend is a graduate of Beloit College in Wisconsin and has a law degree from Georgetown University Law Center.