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SACRAMENTO � Less than a month after he joined McKenna Long & Aldridge, ex-gubernatorial aide Richard Costigan has jumped ship to return to his former firm, Manatt, Phelps & Phillips. George Kieffer, a partner and leader of Manatt’s government and regulatory division, confirmed Tuesday that Costigan, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s former legislative secretary, will rejoin the firm’s government affairs division in the coming days. Costigan was a lobbyist and senior adviser with Manatt until 2003 when he became the California Chamber of Commerce’s chief legislative liaison. He joined the fledgling Schwarzenegger administration later that year. The reasons behind Costigan’s decision to switch shops are unclear. Costigan was unavailable Tuesday to discuss his move. But his quick departure raises questions about McKenna’s expansion plans in the state capital. Jeffrey Miller, the firm’s managing director for Sacramento operations, has told sources around the capital that the firm is weighing its future in the market in the wake of Costigan’s leaving. Phone and e-mail messages left with Miller and McKenna’s media office in Atlanta were not returned Tuesday. McKenna announced in mid-November that it had hired the high-profile Costigan to help launch its new lobbying and consulting shop in Sacramento. The 400-lawyer firm already has offices in Los Angeles, San Diego and San Francisco but McKenna Chairman Jeffrey Haidet said in November that adding a Sacramento branch “is an important part of our strategy to expand our expertise.” Kieffer said he didn’t know why Costigan left McKenna but said he got a call from him over the holidays. “He was interested in talking to us, and I told him I was delighted to do so.” Kieffer said he doesn’t expect Costigan to do much lobbying, citing California’s “revolving door” law, which bars him from lobbying the governor’s office for the next year. Nothing would stop him, however, from counseling clients on how to maneuver through the state government’s bureaucracy. “He will be giving advice to clients in general,” Kieffer said. “We’ll tap his brain. He’s just a brilliant guy. He will help us understand issues and how they play.” Kieffer was co-chair of the governor’s re-election campaign, and Costigan’s hiring adds another Schwarzenegger ally to Manatt’s ranks. Energy giant BHP Billiton has hired Manatt to lobby on behalf of its state application to build a liquefied natural gas terminal off the coast of Southern California. Firm officials have said repeatedly that they don’t trade on Kieffer’s relationship with the governor while pushing the BHP Billiton project. Costigan, who practiced law in Georgia but isn’t licensed here, also joins former Democratic state Sen. Martha Escutia, whom Manatt hired in November to work in the firm’s Los Angeles office. “I feel like we got a tremendous recruiting class,” Kieffer said.

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