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Patton Boggs lobbying firm buys group run by Lott, Breaux

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By Dan Eggen
Friday, July 2, 2010

Washington's biggest lobbying firm just got a lot bigger: Patton Boggs on Thursday announced the purchase of the Breaux-Lott Leadership Group, a smaller, family-style firm run by two of the Senate's most influential alumni.

Under the acquisition, which has been in the works for several months, former Senate majority leader Trent Lott (R-Miss.) and former senator John Breaux (D-La.) will join Patton Boggs along with their sons, Chester Trent Lott and John Breaux Jr., and a half-dozen other staff members, according to a news release.

The union will further cement the firm run by Thomas Hale Boggs Jr. as Washington's most formidable lobbying force, with more than $40 million in lobbying revenue last year. Breaux-Lott, which was formed in January 2008, reported about $11 million in lobbying expenditures in 2009, disclosure records show.

"This acquisition is a strategic coup and a cornerstone for our bipartisan growth," Boggs said in a statement.

The merger marks a reunion of sorts for Boggs and the elder Breaux, who left Patton Boggs to form the partnership with Lott after the Mississippi senator retired from Congress. Breaux will focus on health-care, tax, financial services and energy issues at Patton Boggs, while Lott will concentrate on defense, tax and economic policies, according to the firm.

Breaux has been close to the Boggs family for decades, since he joined Congress in a special election in September 1972. Breaux served in the Louisiana delegation with Boggs's parents: first with Thomas Hale Boggs Sr., who died in a January 1973 plane accident, and then with Lindy Boggs, who won her husband's seat and served in the House through 1990.

Patton Boggs, which logged about $10 million in lobbying revenue in the first quarter of this year, boasts a wide array of clients in nearly all sectors, including Wal-Mart, Mars Inc. and the NFL Players Association. Breaux-Lott reported a smaller but similarly varied clientele during the first quarter, including corporate titans such as AT&T, Northrop Grumman, General Electric and the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, records show.

Breaux said in a statement that "we will continue to provide boutique-level personal attention to our clients with the added benefit of the wide-ranging policy, legal and business services that only Patton Boggs can provide."

Financial details of the acquisition were not released by Patton Boggs, a limited-liability partnership that employs about 600 lawyers and lobbyists in the United States and the Middle East.

Staff writer Paul Kane contributed to this report.

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