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Tauzin May Join Alston & Bird Lobby Firm

Ex-Rep. Billy Tauzin (R-La.) is in serious negotiations to join the law and lobbying firm Alston & Bird, sources familiar with the situation said.

Already, Tauzin Consultants, the lobby shop that Tauzin started last year with his son, Thomas Tauzin, has moved into new digs at Alston & Bird’s D.C. office. The Tauzins started the firm after Billy Tauzin, the former chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, left his job as president and CEO of the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America 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 Networks 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.

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 year, has 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.