GloucesterTimes.com, Gloucester, MA

May 15, 2013

Catch shares leader hosts Markey fund-raiser

By Richard Gaines
Staff Writer

---- — Monica Medina, a former top aide to then-NOAA Administrator Jane Lubchenco, for whom she shepherded the controversial catch share fishery management program into policy, her husband Ron Klain and seven other Washington heavy hitters held a big-ticket fund-raiser Tuesday night for Congressman Ed Markey to help fuel his Massachusetts U.S. Senate campaign against Republican Gabriel Gomez.

Medina resigned from NOAA last year to become a special assistant to Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, but she also left the Pentagon shortly after Panetta for a position at the Wharton (business) School at the University of Pennsylvania .

Medina’s husband, attorney Ron Klain, was chief of staff for Vice President Joseph Biden and President Clinton’s vice president, Al Gore. He resigned from the White House post in 2011 to become president of Case Holdings, the holding company for the business and philanthropic interests of former AOL chairman Steve Case.

Medina was named by President Obama to head the transition team at NOAA, and despite a bar against interlocked nominations, after she helped pick Lubchenco to head the agency, Lubchenco named her a special assistant in charge of guiding the catch share policy into place. She was later promoted to be principle deputy undersecretary of oceans and atmosphere.

Markey was the only member of the Massachusetts congressional delegation with a district that opens to the sea not to support a catch share cutoff budget amendment jointly sponsored by Rep. John Tierney and then-Rep. Barney Frank. Written by Rep. Walter Jones, a North Carolina Republican, the bill barred spending on new catch share programs in the Atlantic and Gulf regions. It passed the House twice in 2012, but was killed in the Senate.

In March, Markey’s office explained to the Times that he opposed the Jones amendment because of his concern for congressional meddling with the planning for catch share programs by NOAA and its regional fishery councils.

Prior to joining the Obama Administration, Medina served as a senior officer in the Pew Environment Group, where she provided advice and assistance on issues of marine law and policy.

Pew has not been active in support of catch shares but, according to the investigative web site, fishtruth.net, has spent more than $270 million mostly in the Obama years to influence fisheries policies, and has prioritized defending the provisions of the Magnuson-Stevens Act that have produced draconian cuts in fish landings as consequence of rebuilding weakened stocks to maximum sustainable yield in 10 years and hard catch limits, amendments Pew and its grant recipients helped insert into the last two re-authorizations of the law.

Tuesday night’s Markey fund-raiser — with contribution levels at $5,200, $2,600 and $1,000 — was at the home of Ginny Grenham, a well-connected non-profit executive in health and insurance, and her husband Paul Zevnik, a partner at Morgan Lewis, a D.C. with a speciality in insurance coverage advice and litigation especially for Fortune 500 companies. Other members of the host committee for the fund-raiser, according to an email by the Markey campaign, are Nancy Bagley and her husband Soroush Shehabi, Martina Bradford, Sarah and Bob Nixon.

Bagley is an heiress (R.J. Reynolds Tobacco) and socialite publisher of Washington Life, a glossy magazine of the A-Set.

Bradford is a well connected Democratic Senate apparatchik, while Bob Nixon is a television and movie producer and enviromentalist; his credits include “Gorillas in the Mist,” “The Last Rivermen,” and “Endangered Species.”

Richard Gaines can be reached at 978-238-7000, x3464, or at rgaines@gloucestertimes.com.