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K Street Files: Tauzin Appears to Have New Home for Lobby Shop

It seems nearly certain that former Rep. Billy Tauzin (R-La.) will end up at Alston & Bird. While the deal is not yet done, sources said, the former chairman of the Energy and Commerce Committee and ex-CEO of the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America is in talks to join the firm.

The signs are already there: Tauzin Consultants, the lobby shop Tauzin started last year with his son Thomas Tauzin, has moved into Alston & Bird’s D.C. office. The Tauzins started the firm after Billy Tauzin left PhRMA last summer.

Neither Billy Tauzin nor two officials with Alston & Bird returned calls and e-mails seeking comment.

Tauzin Consultants’ clients include the online banking security firm Guardian Analytics and Web server provider Resilient Network Systems Inc., according to Senate lobbying records.

Tauzin spent more than five years at PhRMA, departing after the passage of the health care overhaul law, which PhRMA pushed for.

Though he was one of the highest-paid association executives — earning more than $4.5 million in 2009 alone — his tenure at the trade group was not always smooth.

Several news reports cited policy disputes between Tauzin and PhRMA’s board as a reason for his exit. One of his close aides, former PhRMA Senior Vice President Ken Johnson, made comments during the health care reform debate to the New York Times suggesting that drug companies were willing to renegotiate their $80 billion deal to pass the health care overhaul. Johnson insisted his comments were taken out of context, but Roll Call later reported that Johnson’s quotes set off a firestorm among some PhRMA members, who demanded that Johnson step down.

Separately, Rep. Mary Bono Mack (R-Calif.) announced last week that Johnson, who also left PhRMA last summer, had become her senior adviser for policy and communications.

Tauzin, with his health care and energy background and status as a former Member, would not be an unusual hire for Alston & Bird.

The firm already has an all-star roster of former Members and executive branch officials, including former Senate Majority Leader Bob Dole (R-Kan.); Tom Scully, a former administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services; and its most recent high-level addition, former Rep. Earl Pomeroy (D-N.D.). Another former Senate Majority Leader, Tom Daschle (D-S.D.), worked at the firm before joining DLA Piper.

Doing a Little Lobbying

Former Rep. John Doolittle (R-Calif.), who was under investigation in the Jack Abramoff scandal, brought in $30,000 in lobbying revenues for the fourth quarter of last year, according to recently filed disclosures.

Doolittle, who says federal investigators told his lawyer last year that they had closed his case, complained that despite never being charged with a crime, he was having trouble finding work on K Street. After that, he started his own practice based out of his home in Oakton, Va.

“This is a completely new business for me,” Doolittle said. “In the halls, I run into people all the time. They seem glad to see me and glad to know that things are going well. It’s been very nice to be welcomed so warmly back.”

His clients, each of which paid him $10,000 in the fourth quarter, are the City of Colfax, Calif.; Downhole Pipe and Equipment of Sugar Land, Texas; and Resource Capital, a lender that specializes in small businesses.

Business Development

Several K Streeters are starting off the year with new clients.

BGR Group, the former Barbour Griffith & Rogers, has signed Revere America on health care reform and engineering firm Sxp Analytics. According to a lobbying disclosure form, BGR’s Robert Wood, Jennifer Larkin Lukawski and Ed Rogers are handling the accounts.

Dutko Worldwide’s Craig Pattee has added the Homewood Village Resorts while generic drugmaker Watson Pharmaceuticals has retained the all-GOP Fierce, Isakowitz & Blalock to work on generic drug policy issues.

Williams & Jensen signed on to represent the International Game Fish Association based in Dania Beach, Fla. The firm’s George Baker said he and fellow lobbyist Denis Dwyer are still in the fact-finding stage but are looking into concerns about whether the stocks of billfish in the Pacific Ocean may be threatened. “We’re just undertaking this,” he said.

Landing at ATA

The Air Transport Association of America Inc., which is under new management with recently minted president and CEO Nick Calio, has added Jean Medina as its vice president for communications.

Calio called Medina, who joins from United Airlines, “the right person to energize our outreach” in a statement announcing the hire.

Medina is replacing David Castelveter, who is leaving ATA after five years “to pursue other interests,” according to the statement.

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