David Axelrod has hired a spokesman for Eric Holder, Mike Allen notes. "TRACY SCHMALER, director of the Justice Department Office of Public Affairs, departs March 8 to join ASGK Public Strategies, co-founded by David Axelrod, as managing director and head of a new practice group focusing on crisis communications, litigation/regulatory/congressional matters, and issues management," reports Allen.

"Tracy covered state politics in Vermont and Massachusetts, including a stint following Vermont Gov. Howard Dean around the country as he made a bid for the White House. He didn’t make it to Washington, but she did – moving to the Senate Judiciary Committee as communications director to work for another Vermont political powerhouse, Sen. Patrick Leahy. Prior to leading the public affairs shop at Justice, Schmaler oversaw Yahoo’s global public affairs office in Washington."

Holder says in a statement: “While I am sad to lose one of my closest and most trusted advisors, I am grateful to Tracy for her wise counsel, loyalty, good humor and unwavering support of me and the Justice Department over the last four years. Tracy has been a valued member of my senior staff and a good friend whose tireless spirit and keen judgment have served me and this Department well. She will be truly missed, though I wish her all the best in her future endeavors.”

No doubt Schmaler's experience and access will come in handy as she moves to the private sector.

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