WASHINGTON -- After CUNA lost its two top lobbyists to NCUA early this year the group filled the slots with seasoned Hill staffers.
On May 1, John Magill replaced John McKechnie as CUNA's senior vice president of legislative affairs. Prior to that, Magill had been serving as chief of staff to senior House Ways and Means Committee Member Wally Herger (R-Calif.). He had worked on Capitol Hill for nearly 30 years with the last 19 for Herger.
The Ways and Means Committee has always held particular significance for credit unions given its tax-writing authority, but attention became even more focused after retiring Chairman Bill Thomas (R-Calif.) held a hearing late in 2005 and requested Government Accountability Office reports on the credit union tax-exemption, executive compensation, and NCUA's objectivity, which came out this year. Magill was bound by ethics not to lobby Herger and his staff over the last several months, but after that May 1 anniversary next year, they are fair game.
Prior to working for Herger, Magill has also served as an administrative assistant to retired Congressman G. William Whitehurst (R-Va.) and as senior staff assistant/counsel to the late Congressman J. Kenneth Robinson (R-Va.).
Dean Sagar spent 25 years as a Hill staffer in addition to 10 years of lobbying prior to joining CUNA as vice president of legislative affairs. He replaced Gary Kohn starting on April 3, 2006.
Before coming to CUNA, Sagar served as the top financial services policy staff member for House Financial Services Committee Ranking Member Barney Frank (D-Mass.), now expected to be chairman. He too has been restricted in his lobbying, unable to talk shop with any of the Financial Services Committee or their staff until that one-year anniversary date.
Sagar attempted to make his way into credit unions once before as executive assistant to former NCUA Board Member Debbie Matz, but the White House would not approve the appointment. --firstname.lastname@example.org