DeLay Aide Heads to Private Sector

By Judy Sarasohn
Thursday, May 18, 2006

First Tom DeLay (R-Tex.) stepped down last year as House majority leader, and now he's planning to leave office altogether in June. What's his staff to do?

Can you say "private sector"?

Brett Shogren has already made the leap from policy director to downtown lobbyist. He started earlier this month as a senior vice president at the Washington Group , a lobby shop headed by former House member Susan Molinari (R-N.Y.).

Though long powerful in the House, DeLay has been ensnared in the Jack Abramoff lobbying scandal -- two of his former aides have pleaded guilty to various ethics charges -- and he has been indicted in Texas on charges of political money laundering. Do his legal troubles make any of his other aides less desirable now? Molinari doesn't think so.

"I'm still a big Tom DeLay fan and he's a friend of mine. He had one of the amazing [leadership] operations on the Hill" with good staff members such as Shogren, she said in an interview.

And the Washington Group certainly wasn't hiding the DeLay connection in a news release about the Shogren hire -- it was right there in the first paragraph.

Shogren, who worked as a legislative aide to Rep. Robert W. Goodlatte (R-Va.), said he's under a one-year ethics ban on lobbying anyone in the House leadership -- but that still leaves a lot of other lawmakers in the House and Senate whom he could buttonhole on health care, trade, national security and other issues he plans to focus on.

"We have other people who can lobby the House leadership, myself included," Molinari said.

As for why he chose the Washington Group, Shogren said: "I was looking for someone with a great reputation."

New Job for Time Magazine's Novak

Viveca Novak , a former Time magazine reporter who got caught up in the CIA leak case, will be landing at Annenberg Political Fact Check. She will start in June as deputy director of the nonpartisan organization that monitors the accuracy of political ads, debates, speeches, interviews and news releases.

Brooks Jackson , a former CNN investigative reporter, is the director. The organization says on its Web site ( ) that it "accepts no funding from business corporations, labor unions, political parties, lobbying organizations or individuals. It is funded primarily by the Annenberg Foundation."

Novak did not initially tell her editors at Time that she may have alerted Karl Rove's lawyer in 2004 that the senior aide to President Bush had leaked information to a magazine colleague about CIA operative Valerie Plame.

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