WASHINGTON — The Regional Bond Dealers Association has retained the law firm of Nixon Peabody LLP to help it develop legislative and regulatory strategies and proposals for municipal bonds and fixed-income products. The group plans to hire two lobbyists and policy analysts later this year, Mike Nicholas, RBDA’s chief executive officer said yesterday.

RBDA said that it will work closely with two former Internal Revenue Service officials who are now at Nixon Peabody — Gary Bornholdt, former legislative counsel to the Joint Tax Committee, and Mitchell Rapaport, who is also special tax counsel to the Government Finance Officers Association’s debt committee.

“The RBDA is extremely excited to retain Nixon Peabody,” Nicholas said. “This will immediately enhance our ability to represent our growing membership, as well as increase our impact in Washington, D.C.”

The association has grown to 32 members from 14 since it was formed in March 2008.

Meanwhile, the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association has hired two former legislative aides to join its government affairs team. They are Ellen McCarthy, who served as tax counsel for Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, the top Republican on the Senate Finance Committee, and John Hallmark, who was a legislative aide to Sen. Michael Enzi, R-Wyo., a member of that committee and a former member of the Senate Banking Committee.

Ken Bentsen Jr., SIFMA’s executive vice president, said the hiring of McCarthy and Hallmark “represents our efforts to build a strong team to support our member companies’ interests before Congress and the executive branch.”

McCarthy worked most recently for the Washington Tax Group and was tax counsel for Grassley from September 2007 to December 2008. She also has worked at PepsiCo Inc. and General Motors. She is a retired U.S. Marine Corps lieutenant colonel. McCarthy received a bachelor’s degree in political science from Eckerd College, a law degree from the University of Florida, and a master’s degree in taxation from the University of Miami School of Law.

Hallmark was a legislative aide to Enzi since 2003 and helped form his legislative agenda on securities, derivatives, accounting, and housing. Prior to that, Hallmark was a special assistant for federal relations for former Virginia Gov. James Gilmore. He received a bachelor’s degree in government from Georgetown University and is currently a candidate for a law degree at Georgetown University Law Center.

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