Tauzin’s Prescription

Posted March 12, 2004 at 5:28pm

Rep. Billy Tauzin (R-La.) is undergoing surgery this week, but that won’t stop the hard-charging former Energy and Commerce Committee chairman from launching a full-fledged fight against new reports that he talked about a lobbying job with the drug industry while he worked on Medicare legislation.

Tauzin this week will publicize a set of letters that assert the retiring lawmaker had no discussions with the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America until this year, more than a month after he helped steer the prescription drug bill through Congress.

Tauzin will release letters from PhRMA, search firm Korn/Ferry International and his agent — Chuck Worth at McDermott, Will & Emery — attesting that Tauzin was not approached during negotiations on the bill.

“We were meticulous in making sure that all ethics rules were followed,” said Tauzin spokesman Ken Johnson.

The public relations campaign comes as Congressional Democrats continue to allege that Tauzin was secretly negotiating a multimillion-dollar job offer with PhRMA as he carried the industry’s water on Capitol Hill.

Johnson said that the first time PhRMA contacted Tauzin was in mid-January as Tauzin mulled a job offer from the Motion Picture Association of America.

As Tauzin neared a decision, PhRMA contacted Korn/Ferry, who in turn asked Tauzin’s lawyer if he would entertain a competing job offer, according to Johnson.

Tauzin said he would consider such an offer. Soon thereafter, the Congressman rejected an offer from MPAA and began discussions with PhRMA.

Tauzin is still expected to accept a multimillion-dollar job as the head of PhRMA’s Washington office after he steps down from Congress at the end of his term.

Tauzin will need every cent. New property records from Texas show that the hunting ranch Tauzin bought last year cost him nearly $1.4 million.

To finance the purchase, Tauzin took out a $1.5 million line of credit from Bank of America, according to the deed for the property.

Flew the Coop. Charley Cooper has left Kirkland & Ellis to become a senior adviser to Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz.

Cooper worked for former Sen. Bob Dole (R-Kan.) as his assistant press secretary during the 1996 presidential election before going to law school.

While at Georgetown University Law Center, Cooper worked as a consultant for America Online.

Akin Gump Adds Two. Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld is strengthening its policy practice by adding Jeffrey McMillen and Michael Rossetti as senior policy counsels.

McMillen is a former staff director to Rep. Jim McCrery (R-La.) on the Ways and Means subcommittee on select revenue measures. He will advise clients on federal tax policy.

Rossetti, meanwhile, will advise on American Indian law and policy. He joins Akin Gump from the Interior Department, where he served as counselor to Secretary Gale Norton.

Merging Allbaughs. Joe and Diane Allbaugh have announced they are officially joining forces in the lobbying arena.

The move for Diane Allbaugh to join her husband at The Allbaugh Co. comes a year after Joe Allbaugh left the Bush administration as director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

Diane Allbaugh, who has been an independent government affairs consultant for the past decade, also serves as counsel to the New York City law firm Entwistle & Cappucci.

Since Joe Allbaugh formed The Allbaugh Company last year, his wife has worked out of the same office at 101 Constitution Ave. NW.

The Allbaughs are close to President Bush. Joe Allbaugh served as George W. Bush’s chief of staff when he was governor of Texas and was the national campaign manager for the Bush-Cheney 20000 presidential campaign.

Adams Reese Taps Hill Vets. The New Orleans law firm Adams and Reese has added Wayne Weidie and Lynnel Brocato as governmental affairs advisers.

Weidie, a senior governmental affairs adviser, joins the firm from the office of Rep. Gene Taylor (D-Miss.), where he was chief of staff.

Brocato comes to the firm from Rep. David Vitter’s (R-La.) office, where she was legislative assistant and administrative director.

ICI Promotes Two. The Investment Company Institute has promoted Dean Sackett III and David Kemps to government affairs officers.

Sackett, who came to ICI in 2000 from the National Association of Professional Insurance Agents, will concentrate on financial services policy; Kemps, who joined the institute from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in 1998, will work in tax and pension policy.

ACLA Names Government Relations VP. The American Clinical Laboratory Association has named Jason DuBois as vice president for government relations.

DuBois, who joins the association from the American Society for Clinical Pathology, will assist ACLA in its advocacy agenda before Congress.

Arizona Firm Opens D.C. Office. Marking its second-year anniversary, the Arizona government relations firm Triadvocates has opened an office in the nation’s capital.

Native Arizonan Jim Ogsbury, who left a federal lobbying position at Jones Walker, will lead the D.C. office.

Triadvocates is an ancillary business of Quarles and Brady, a law firm with offices in Chicago, Milwaukee, Madison, Wis., Phoenix, Tucson, Ariz., and Naples, Fla.