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Lott Now Free to Lobby the Senate

By Shailagh Murray

After the Senate's swearing-in ceremony this morning, as relatives, friends and former members milled about the corridor outside the chamber, a smooth and unmistakable voice boomed through the crowd.

"I'm free!" announced former Sen. Trent Lott of Mississippi. "My year is up!"

Special interests politics are apparently still in favor with the former Republican leader, who said he had been counting the seconds -- quite literally -- until the expiration of a 12-month ban on lobbying that he faced throughout 2008 as a former senator.

Lott resigned his seat at the end of 2007 and has since formed a lobbying firm with former Sen. John Breaux, a Democrat from neighboring Louisiana. Their clients include AT&T, the Association of American Railroads, Delta Airlines, FedEx Corp., Nissan North America, Pharma, Raytheon Co., and Shell Oil Co.

Under Senate rules, former lawmakers who register as lobbyists are not permitted on the floor of the chamber and are banned for two years from hitting up their colleagues for favors. But because Lott retired before the longer ban took effect, the restriction in his case was limited to one year, as specified under the previous rule.

Lott was widely respected by colleagues in both parties as a crafty dealmaker, but his career ran aground in 2002 when Lott noted at a birthday party for the late Sen. Strom Thurmond that his home state of Mississippi had backed the South Carolina segregationist when he ran 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."

He later insisted that the comment had been misconstrued as racist. "I apologize to anyone who was offended by my statement," Lott said, but he lost his position as Republican leader and spent the next four years climbing his way back to the No. 2 leadership spot.

By Eric Pianin  |  January 6, 2009; 7:04 PM ET
Categories:  Ethics and Rules  
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trent lott has no shame and neither do his clients nor any lawmaker who would deal with this slease

Posted by: acerigger | January 7, 2009 4:00 PM | Report abuse

trent lott has no shame,nor do his clients or any lawmaker who would deal with this slease

Posted by: acerigger | January 7, 2009 4:05 PM | Report abuse

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