WASHINGTON WATCH

www.cio.com |  Business

I.T. just got a new friend -- and a big pocketbook -- in Washington.

CapNet, pitching itself as "The Capital Region's Voice for Technology," is the first political action committee (PAC) established to help its high-tech vendor members elect technology-friendly leaders.

Chartered by the Greater Washington Technology Community, CapNet is headed by Timothy D. Hugo, former chief of staff for Rep. Bud Shuster (R-Pa.), and its member companies include heavy hitters such as America Online, IBM and Oracle.

As of early December 1999, CapNet had already raised about $100,000 in member donations, and by this spring, Hugo hopes to have $300,000 to invest in key campaigns. One battle that CapNet will likely weigh in on: Sen. Chuck Robb (D-Va.) versus George Allen. Incumbent Robb is considered one of information technology's best friends in Congress, but he faces a formidable, perhaps unbeatable opponent in Virginia's ex-Gov. Allen. Look for CapNet to flex its new-found muscle in Robb's corner.

CapNet has already started lobbying for Rep. Frank Wolf's (R-Va.) Telecommuting and Air Quality Act, which would provide incentives for businesses to encourage employee telecommuting. And the PAC is also behind new efforts to increase (yet again) the nation's quota for H-1B work visas.

Stay tuned. As the races heat up, CapNet will be the PAC to watch.

Who to Know, Where to Go in D.C.

Rep. Stephen Horn (R-Calif.)

This California Republican was wise to Y2K before it was fashionable. As head of the House Government Reform Management, Information and Technology Subcommittee, Horn issued quarterly report cards grading federal agencies' Y2K mitigation efforts. Now, post-Y2K, Horn is making noise about the nation's ability to protect IT resources from terrorist attack.

Contact Horn at www.house.gov/Horn, or call 202 226-1012.

Rep. Edward Markey (D-Mass.)

OK, so what do the words "Massachusetts Democrat" mean to you? Liberal? Big government? Markey, a key member of the House Telecom subcommittee since 1986, helped write the House version of the landmark Telecommunications Act of 1996, which opened up competition between the Baby Bells and the long-distance service providers. Now Markey is concentrating on electronic privacy issues and, in fact, at press time was on the verge of unveiling a new Privacy Bill of Rights.

Contact Markey at www.house.gov/markey, or call 202 225-2836.

Thomas J. Donohue, president & CEO, U.S. Chamber of Commerce

Asked to describe his organization's role in policy-making, Donohue says, "We take names and kick butt." Donohue is actively looking to involve more CIOs in his lobbying efforts.

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