An international fight over the bankruptcy sale of a Russian oil company wouldn't be complete if it didn't involve some Washington lobbyists.

BP Amoco, investor George Soros and the Harvard Endowment, among others, have been contesting the bankruptcy auction of the oil company Chernogorneft, located on the northern part of the giant Samotlor oil field in western Siberia. The three have invested big bucks in Sidanco, the parent company of Chernogorneft, and contend that the auction was unnecessary and the bankruptcy process unfairly manipulated by Tyumen Oil Co., Russia's sixth-largest oil company and an enterprise that already controls the southern part of the Samotlor field.

Despite lawsuits in Russia and New York to stop the sale, the auction went forward and the oil company was sold to Tyumen for $176 million, a fraction of its estimated $1.2 billion value.

BP Amoco, which has a strong in-house lobby team, also got some outside lobbying help and policy advice from F. Wallace Hays of Andreae, Vick & Associates, a foreign policy consulting shop in Washington. Hays worked for then-Rep. Lee H. Hamilton (D-Ind.) from 1987 to 1994.

Soros Private Equity Partners turned to a team of pricey and well-connected lobbyists from the law and lobbying powerhouse of Patton Boggs to deal with a proposed $500 million loan guarantee sought from the U.S. Export-Import Bank for equipment exports to Tyumen.

The Patton Boggs team included primo lobbyist Thomas Hale Boggs Jr.; former congressman Gregory Laughlin (D-Tex.); Thomas P. O'Donnell, former special assistant to President Clinton and chief of staff to the National Economic Council; Darryl D. Nirenberg, former chief of staff to Sen. Jesse Helms (R-N.C.); John Deschauer, director of Senate affairs for the Department of Defense; as well as Lansing B. Lee III, Robert S. Rendell and Elizabeth C. Vella.

A spokeswoman for Soros says, however, that the Export-Import Bank is expected to approve the loan guarantee this week. What happens next, she doesn't know.

Ex-Bradley, Ex-DeLay, Ex-Winston & Strawn

Glenn LeMunyon, a longtime aide to House Majority Whip Tom DeLay (R-Tex.), is leaving the law firm of Winston & Strawn to open his own lobby shop, Glenn B. LeMunyon & Associates.

His company will focus on transportation, defense and funding matters on Capitol Hill. One of the clients expected to follow him is the tactical aircraft division of Lockheed Martin; he was active in the legislative battle over preserving funding for the F-22.

LeMunyon joined the firm in April 1996, after serving as policy/floor assistant to DeLay, a job that made him responsible for managing transportation appropriations and authorization legislation for the whip. Before joining DeLay, he worked a year for then-Sen. Bill Bradley (D-N.J.). LeMunyon was from New Jersey and, though he was a Republican, found it easy to find a first job with his home-state senator.

"They say you get one move in this town," LeMunyon said.

Eventually, he found his way over to the other side of the aisle when he joined DeLay's office in 1985. "You can be very young and have the member's attention," he explained.

Chamber Promotes Wootton

James Wootton has been named president of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce's Institute for Legal Reform, succeeding Lawrence J. Kraus, who is retiring. Previously executive director of the institute, Wootton has been in the forefront of the chamber's fight on civil justice reform and he led the group's negotiations with Congress and the administration earlier this year on legislation to limit the legal liability of businesses because of Y2K computer problems.

"I will lead the chamber's fight against the trial lawyers' ongoing attempts to litigate their way to greater wealth at the expense of legitimate businesses. The chamber and the institute are committed to reining in these lawyers at every turn," Wootton said in a prepared statement.

Wootton was a Reagan appointee at the Justice Department and a policy adviser in 1979 to John B. Connally's GOP presidential campaign.

Taking Stock

Andrew Goldman's last day at Clark & Weinstock was yesterday. Today, he begins work as vice president for corporate communications and corporate affairs, with responsibility for government relations, for The Island ECN. A Clark & Weinstock client, The Island has filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission to become the nation's first proprietary for-profit stock exchange, a necessity for handling electronic trades for stock on the New York Stock Exchange.

"I think it's a tremendous opportunity to take part in an enormous financial revolution," said Goldman, formerly a senior adviser to then-Defense Secretary Richard B. Cheney.

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