Morning Business: Cornyn’s New Crew

Posted January 30, 2009 at 6:27pm

National Republican Senatorial Committee Chairman John Cornyn (Texas) has hired two new senior staffers, and both are coming off stints at the Republican National Committee.

[IMGCAP(1)]Randy Bumps will be the NRSC’s political director this cycle. Bumps was Northeast regional political director at the RNC during the 2008 campaign. He worked as the Maine executive director of the Bush/Cheney campaign in 2004 and he was a member of Maine’s House of Representatives from 1996 to 2002.

Sean Cairncross has been hired as chief legal counsel. Cairncross previously worked as a chief counsel overseeing legal operations at the RNC. He was a RNC deputy counsel before that.

The NRSC has also retained Michael Toner, a partner at Bryan Cave, as outside counsel. Toner is a former chairman of the Federal Election Commission.

On the other side of the aisle, Matthew Miller, who served as spokesman for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee last cycle, has left for his new gig as Justice Department spokesman. Before the DSCC, Miller was a spokesman for Sen. Bob Menendez (D-N.J.).

Man of Steele. Former Maryland Lt. Gov. Michael Steele was chosen Friday to try to lead the Republican party out of the political wilderness, becoming the first African-American to head the Republican National Committee.

Steele won the RNC chairmanship with 91 votes on the sixth round of ballots cast by 168 RNC members. South Carolina GOP Chairman Katon Dawson received 77 votes on the final ballot.

“We’re going to win again in the Northeast, we’re going to continue to win in the South,” Steele said in his victory speech. “We’re going to win with a new storm in the Midwest. And when we get to the West, we’re going to win there too and lock it in.”

No So Cooley. In another odd chapter in the strange career of former Rep. Wes Cooley (R-Ore.), the one-term ex-Congressman was indicted in California last week for allegedly being part of a Web site scam that cheated investors out of more than $10 million.

According to press reports, Cooley and his co-conspirators are alleged to have persuaded investors to buy stock in a startup Web site that they falsely claimed was about to be bought by eBay.

Cooley left Congress in disgrace in 1996 after admitting that he had falsified his military service record; he was eventually found guilty of providing false information for the state’s voter guide.

Cooley was forced out of his 1996 re-election bid by Republicans after his war record and other controversies made it clear he would lose the seat. He also once stormed into the Speaker’s Lobby and threatened to punch a pregnant reporter in the nose.

In an interview with Roll Call on the floor of the 1996 GOP convention, he remained optimistic about his future after office. “I might be more dangerous out of Congress than in,” he said.