A week after exiting Squire Patton Boggs, former Sen. Trent Lott and his longtime K Street colleague, ex-Sen. John Breaux, said Monday they were joining the lobbying shop Crossroads Strategies.
Both Lott, a Republican from Mississippi, and Democrat Breaux of Louisiana had been at Squire Patton Boggs for the past decade. Then, on June 8, the firm issued a somewhat cryptic news release saying Lott had left the firm but Breaux would remain. Lott, however, told CQ Roll Call on June 9 that Breaux, too, would be departing the shop.
Lott’s reported ousting from the firm, amid a national reckoning on racism, led some on K Street to speculate that it was tied to comments he made that drove him from Senate GOP leadership in 2002.
Speaking at an event for South Carolina Sen. Strom Thurmond’s 100th birthday, Lott had recalled that Mississippi had supported Thurmond’s segregationist run for president in 1948. “And if the rest of the country had followed our lead, we wouldn’t have had all these problems over all these years, either,” Lott said in December 2002.
Lott, however, told CQ Roll Call that the split was based on business. “This whole thing boils down to a very simple equation: Breaux and I decided it was time to move on to another firm, a strictly public policy firm,” Lott told CQ Roll Call on Tuesday.
Lott added that, in his view, Squire Patton Boggs had taken “the low road” in its handling of the situation.
Lott said he and Breaux, who initially started a lobbying firm dubbed the Breaux Lott Leadership Group, had grown frustrated at the international law and lobbying firm, which presented numerous client conflicts because of its global clientele.
The former senators’ sons, Chet Lott and John Breaux Jr., are also joining Crossroads.
In the June 8 statement, Squire Patton Boggs CEO Mark Ruehlmann said the firm had “decided that it is the right time to make a change in the leadership of our industry leading Public Policy practice. We wish to thank retired Senator Trent Lott for his years of service to the firm and our clients. As a global law firm, we are obliged to constantly evaluate and tailor our professional offerings to not only respond, but also anticipate the issues and concerns of an evolving marketplace and the clients we serve.”
Ruehlmann announced Breaux's departure in a message to the firm on Monday, and noted that members of his team, as well as Lott's former chief of staff, were staying.
“Senator Breaux is a man of principle and integrity who has been a mentor to many at our firm. He will remain a friend to all of us at Squire Patton Boggs," Ruehlmann said.
Lott announced his latest move in a news release Monday.
“Crossroads Strategies is a very dynamic and unique public policy firm and we are excited to bring our expertise to their clients,” he said. “In addition, of course, it is my pleasure to continue working with my long-time friend and partner, John Breaux.”
Crossroads Strategies’ chairman Stewart Hall, a longtime lobbyist and former GOP Senate aide, added that the moves by Lott and Breaux to the shop “ensures our clients best-of-class counsel across multiple disciplines of regulatory and legislative public policy.”
Upon his exit from Squire Patton Boggs, Lott said he and Breaux had been working on a deal with a firm that included Lott’s former aides. Crossroads CEO John Green is a former high-level aide to Lott when Lott was in the Senate.
Clients represented by Lott and Breaux have included AT&T, Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, Nissan North America and Northrop Grumman Corp., among others. Crossroads’ recent client roster has included AT&T, Credit Union National Association, Google, Koch Companies Public Sector LLC, Northrop Grumman and Safari Club International, among others.
“I look forward to taking my experience to CRS and working with a great new team of professionals and my good friend Trent Lott. New challenges are what the future is all about,” Breaux said in the news release.