Old Friend, New Donor?

Posted April 23, 2007 at 6:15pm

New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson (D) will be in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday to collect money for his 2008 presidential bid. [IMGCAP(1)]

While just two former Members of Congress are listed among the hosts of the fundraising reception, one name stands out more than all others: ex-Rep. Billy Tauzin (R-La.), who is head of the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America.

Tauzin and Richardson served together in the House for 14 years, and for the majority of that time Tauzin was a fellow Democrat. He switched parties in August 1995.

The two men served together on the Energy and Commerce Committee, with Tauzin later becoming chairman and Richardson eventually serving as Energy Secretary for the last three years of the Clinton administration.

PhRMA spokesman Ken Johnson said that Tauzin’s assistance with the Richardson event stemmed from his long-standing personal relationship with the governor and was not PhRMA related.

“They’ve been friends for a long time and they’ll always be friends,” Johnson said, adding that Tauzin shared Christmas dinner with Richardson two years ago. “They go back a long time.”

Aside from Tauzin, the invitation boasts an interesting mix of hosts.

Among the others are former Rep. Mary Rose Oakar (D-Ohio), former Ambassador to Morocco Edward Gabriel and lobbyist Tanya Rahall, the sister of Natural Resources Chairman Nick Rahall (D-W.Va.).

The invitation also includes:

• Joel Jankowsky, a partner at Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld and one of the lobbyists in Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s (D-Calif.) inner circle of advisers. Just last year Jankowsky contributed to the re-election campaign of Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.), one of Richardson’s opponents for the Democratic nomination.

• Michele Manatt, who was director of legislative affairs at the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy at the end of the Clinton administration. She is the daughter of Charles Manatt, a founding partner of Manatt, Phelps & Phillips, former Democratic National Committee Chairman and former Ambassador to the Dominican Republic.

• Marie Therese Dominguez, another veteran of the Clinton administration who worked on the former president’s 1992 and 1996 campaigns. More recently she was involved in former Virginia Gov. Mark Warner’s (D) now-thwarted 2008 presidential exploratory effort. She is a partner at FieldWorks, a grass-roots organizing firm, and has done work for the Democratic National Committee in the area of Hispanic voter turnout. Dominguez also gave to Sen. Clinton’s campaign in the previous cycle.

Hi Ho Silver State. Nevada Republicans voted over the weekend to move their presidential caucus up to Jan. 19, 2008, following the lead of state Democrats who had earlier made the change.

The voice vote Saturday by the state GOP’s state central committee means that Nevada voters will caucus just five days after the Iowa caucuses and three days before the New Hampshire primary on Jan. 22.

“We deserve to know the candidates like they are known in Iowa and New Hampshire,” said Nevada GOP Chairwoman Sue Lowden, who was elected to that post over the weekend. “Moving this caucus to Jan. 19 gives us the opportunity to do that.”

— Lauren W. Whittington