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Trying to build up a client’s character by hiring a lobby shop connected to the Jack Abramoff scandal may not seem like the best legal advice. But that’s exactly what Philadelphia law firm Kirkpatrick & Lockhart Nicholson Graham did in December, hiring Alexander Strategy Group to round up statements from officials in the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Defense on behalf of its client Padmashri Sampathkumar, a nanotech executive. Sampathkumar, along with his business partner Srikanth Ragunathan, has been indicted on charges of bank and wire fraud in Pennsylvania. Mark Rush of Kirkpatrick & Lockhart says he didn’t know of the firm’s Abramoff connection at the time and that ASG was retained to “memorialize” his client’s patents and prove that the government was pleased with Sampathkumar’s work. But Terry Haines, Edward Stewart, and Paul Behrends, the three lobbyists listed on the account, haven’t produced any work product, says Rush. And it isn’t likely they’ll be doing so soon, as the now-defunct ASG closes its doors officially at the end of the month. ASG principals Tony Rudy and Edward Buckham have been tied to Abramoff’s dealings. Rudy, ex-House Majority Leader Tom DeLay’s (R-Texas) former chief of staff, was implicated by Abramoff in his plea agreement for accepting gifts before leaving Capitol Hill to lobby with Abramoff. Rush says he is pushing for the shop to refund the one-time $50,000 retainer fee. The ASG lobbyists handling the case did not return calls.
Anna Palmer can be contacted at [email protected].

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