Staying Put

Posted April 16, 2007 at 6:44pm

The decision of former Sen. John Breaux (D-La.) not to run for governor in the Pelican State may have disappointed his political supporters, but the move left his lobbying firm, Patton Boggs, in a state of relief. [IMGCAP(1)]

Breaux, a lobbyist at Patton Boggs since January 2005, said he would run for governor if the state’s attorney general gave the legal OK to Breaux, who is no longer a resident of Louisiana. The attorney general said last week that he could not issue an opinion, leaving it up to the courts to decide.

“The prospect of being in a courthouse right before the election was not something I wanted to put the state through,” said Breaux, whose clients at Patton Boggs include Verizon, Wal-Mart Stores and the Louisiana Department of Economic Development.

Breaux, who said he was in the firm’s offices Monday by 6:30 a.m. — “I turned the lights on,” he said — plans to turn his focus back to his clients.

“I think a lot of [my clients] were thinking, ‘We don’t know what he’s going to do, and we’re going to wait and see,’” Breaux added. “I would have had to leave the firm if I had announced. I would’ve left before the election.”

Breaux is considered a top rainmaker at Patton Boggs, and his departure would have hurt the firm’s bottom line.

“The firm understood and respected the fact that he felt a strong call to assist those in need in his home state,” Patton Boggs managing partner Stuart Pape said in a statement. “We assured him that Patton Boggs would support him regardless of what he ultimately decided to do.”

Perhaps Breaux isn’t the only pol-turned-lobbyist whose name is being floated for the governor job. Lobbyists have buzzed that former Rep. Chris John (D-La.), who is with Ogilvy Government Relations, might be eyeing the race. John could not be reached for comment. But, unlike Breaux, John maintains his Louisiana residency and could jump into a race without worrying about the legal hurdles that Breaux encountered.

“Chris always has the potential to be a good candidate,” Breaux said.

Reconnected. After losing the biggest-name TV networks seven years ago in a fight over network ownership rules, the National Association of Broadcasters has wooed back NBC Universal.

Rick Cotton, NBC Universal’s executive vice president and general counsel, indicated the NAB’s new leadership, under President David Rehr, helped bring the company back into the lobbying association’s fold. “After a positive meeting with the new leadership, we believe that the issues which led us to withdraw are behind us and unlikely to reassert themselves,” Cotton said in a statement.

Disney, which owns the ABC network, rejoined the NAB in 2005. Fox and CBS are not members.

— Kate Ackley