MPAA Announces Four New Hires

Chris Dodd MPAA P 2012
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Alex Swartsel, Brian Cohen, Lauren Pastarnack and Kate Bedingfield get director positions.

The Motion Picture Association of America announced four personnel appointments Thursday to their government affairs and communications teams. All the positions are newly created, according to former Senator Chris Dodd, now chairman and CEO of the MPAA. 

Alex Swartel has been named director of global policy; Brian Cohen has now director of external state government affairs; Lauren Pastarnack is a new director of government affairs; and on the communications side, Kate Bedinfield has been appointed director of strategic communications.

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“Lauren’s experience working with the crucial and often complex issues that come through the Senate Judiciary Committee has already made her an enormous asset to the MPAA,” Dodd said in a statement, “and Brian’s vast network of state and local officials from his work at Immigration & Customs Enforcement has proved fundamental as new groups join the fight against online content theft. Alex’s unique skill set combines that of a refined communicator and an accomplished strategist, making her a perfect fit for her new position. And finally, Kate’s experience as a White House communications adviser is invaluable to helping us explain why movies are so important to both American jobs and culture.”  

Swartsel, who reports to Michael O’Leary, senior executive vp for global policy and external affairs, joined the MPAA in June as a communications consultant. Swartsel recently returned to Washington after earning a masters in business administration at Yale. Before that, she held positions in the nation’s capital including working for Dodd; as communications director for Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.); as research director for Tim Kaine’s winning gubernatorial bid in Virginia, and on  the presidential campaigns of John Kerry and Joe Lieberman.

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Cohen also joined the MPAA in June as a consultant. In his new job, he reports to senior vp state government affairs Vans Stevenson. He previously was liaison to state and local elected officials at the U.S. Immigration & Customs Enforcement Office and spent three years as the associate director for intergovernmental & public liaison at the U.S. Department of Justice.
Pastarnack reports to senior vp government affairs Cybele Daley. She previously worked as a senior staffer on the Senate Judiciary Committee, serving three different congressmen, and was senior adviser on Frank Scaturro’s congressional campaign.
Bedingfield will report to Laura Nichols, executive vp global communications. She joins the MPAA from the White House, where she was most recently associate communications director in the White House Communications Office. Bedingfield also served as White House deputy director and as acting director of media affairs. Before that, Bedingfield was communications director for Jeanne Shaheen's Senate campaign and New Hampshire communications director for John Edwards presidential campaign. In 2006, she served as regional press secretary at the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.