Lott dodges ethics law by bolting to lobbying firm
Nick Juliano
Published: Monday January 7, 2008

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Less than a month out of Senate, fmr GOP leader opens firm with Louisiana Dem

Well that didn't take long.

Three weeks after unexpectedly bolting from the Senate, Trent Lott has decided to go into business as a lobbyist. The former Mississippi senator is opening a firm with former Sen. John Breaux (D-LA), The Breaux Lott group.

Lott, who was elected to his fourth term in 2006, announced his resignation Dec. 18 in a move that some suspected was aimed at dodging new ethics laws. If Lott had waited until this month to resign, let alone to the end of his six-year term, in 2012, a new ethics bill passed by the Democratic congress last year would have forced him to wait two years before cashing in as a lobbyist.

"The Senate duo will set up their new lobbying and strategic planning shop at 607 14th St. NW, where they will be joined by their two sons, Chet Lott and John Breaux Jr., and former Lott chief of staff Bret Boyles," Roll Call reports. "Boyles served as Lott’s top aide up until two weeks ago when Lott resigned his Senate seat just a year into his fourth six-year term."

The Washington Post reported the partnership "had been assumed a foregone conclusion among K Street insiders" since Lott's resignation announcement Nov. 26.

Lott denied that his quick resignation was motivated by a desire to avoid the new lobbying rules. By avoiding the Dec. 31 implementation of the new law, Lott and Boyles will be able to directly lobby their former colleagues after just a year.

"It wasn't a big factor in my decision but every time you delay [retirement] by a year or two, it puts the decision that much further down the road," Lott told the Post in an interview published Saturday.

Monday marked the firm's first day of business, according to a press release posted on the firm's Web site, BreauxLott.com.

“During an era known for partisan rancor, John and I know how to work both sides of the political aisle. We are excited to take a bipartisan approach to government and business," Lott was quoted as saying in the release. "I’m extremely pleased to put my years of experience in Congress to work in this new firm with John Breaux, our two sons and Bret Boyles.”