James P. Moran Jr., the recently retired Democratic congressman from Northern Virginia, is joining the law firm McDermott Will & Emery in Washington.
Moran represented the eighth congressional district of Virginia — which includes Arlington County, Alexandria, Falls Church and part of Fairfax County — for 24 years, completing his last term in the 113th Congress that ended Jan. 3. He is slated to begin as a senior legislative adviser at McDermott on Monday. He will not have equity stake in the firm.
Ethics rules bar Moran from formally registering to lobby for one year, but he said he anticipates doing so after the year-long ban ends.
McDermott has 1,100 attorneys globally, including about 200 in Washington. The firm’s lobbying practice, led by Steve Ryan, represents companies including the hospital system Intermountain Healthcare, the beer division of beverage maker Constellation Brands and the online tax software maker Avalara.
Moran served for many years on the House Appropriations Committee and often advocated for funding for the defense and technology industries, which dominate his former district in Northern Virginia. He said he plans to eventually use his contacts in the defense sector and on Capitol Hill to lobby on behalf of the contracting community.
“I certainly believe in a strong national defense and many of my closest friends are on the defense appropriations subcommittee,” he said. “And within the defense contracting community, I have close relations. That would probably be natural and something I’d be doing instinctively anyway.”
Moran said he is looking forward to working on causes he cares most about, including sustainable energy, technology, environmental issues and trade policy in a capacity that was not always possible during his time in office.
“In the private sector, I can focus on activities I care about and promote them with greater focus than you’re often able to apply in the legislative branch,” he said. “In the legislative branch, we tend to be generalists and reactive to whoever needs help. In the private sector, I’m going to have the ability to pick and choose priorities I care most about and follow things through to the end rather than playing only a partial role in getting something achieved.”
Moran has at times been a controversial figure in local and national politics. He was criticized — but never charged with wrongdoing — for accepting a favorable home refinancing package in 1998 from the bank MBNA at the same time he was supporting a bankruptcy reform bill backed by the bank. He has denied the two issues were linked or that he received special treatment. And in 1999, he accepted a personal loan from a friend who was a lobbyist for the pharmaceutical company Schering-Plough, and shortly afterward supported the extension of the company’s lucrative patent on the allergy drug Claritin. Moran denied any wrongdoing, and the lobbyist said he gave Moran the loan because they were friends. McDermott declined to offer additional comment on those matters.