WASHINGTON, D.C.— Mitch Bainwol, formerly with Omnicom-owned public relations and lobbying group Clark & Weinstock and chief of staff to Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, has been named chairman of the Recording Industry Association of America, which is at the center of a fierce legislative battle over Internet file-sharing and piracy.
Several high-profile public relations executives had been considered for the position, including former Defense Department spokeswoman Victoria Clark; former Rep. Susan Molinari, currently president and chief executive of the Ketchum-owned lobbying shop The Washington Group; AOL Time Warner executive vice president of corporate communications, John Buckley; and former Clinton spokesman Mike McCurry, now with Public Strategies Washington.
“Mitch was the one guy who came in and really talked about running the organization and focusing it and running it well,” an unidentified RIAA source told Influence. “Of every candidate who came in, he had the most solid management skills. And he had an eagerness to use them.”
Bainwol started his Hill career as an analyst at the Office of Management and Budget in 1985 before joining the office of then-Sen. Connie Mack (R-Fla.) in 1986. He spent three years as a lobbyist at Clark & Weinstock, and was executive director of the National Republican Senatorial Campaign Committee before serving briefly as newly elected Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist’s chief of staff.
Most recently he formed his own lobby shop, the Bainwol Group, which represented clients including U.S. Oncology, the St. Paul Companies, and Oracle.