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Former Sen. John Breaux (D-La.), a leading lobbyist with Patton Boggs for the past three years, is leaving to start his own public policy consulting firm with his son, John Breaux Jr. The father-and-son team will open their business in January. In an internal e-mail, Patton Boggs partner Thomas Boggs Jr. said he and Breaux are discussing ways for Breaux to continue working with Patton Boggs as counsel. A statement from Breaux included in the e-mail expressed gratitude to Patton Boggs but said “the challenge and opportunity to start a new business with my son is something that I cannot pass up.” Neither Breaux nor Boggs returned calls seeking comment. Stuart Pape, Patton Boggs’ managing partner, confirmed the accuracy of the e-mail obtained by Legal Times but said he could not otherwise comment. Nick Allard, co-chairman of Patton Boggs’ public policy practice, also did not want to go beyond the e-mail statement, but he praises Breaux’s work. “He works long hours, he prepares hard, he’s very generous with his time,” Allard says, describing Breaux as an expert on the legislative process and “like the Energizer Bunny.” Breaux’s move came after weeks of speculation on K Street about whether he would leave the firm after the end of the year. Well-sourced lobbyists were buzzing about the fact that he had yet to renew his contract. The announcement is also sure to boost already-rampant speculation about a possible partnership between Breaux and Sen. Trent Lott (R-Miss.), who announced this week that he will retire from the Senate at the end of the year. Lott has not yet said what he will do next, but hasn’t ruled out lobbying and would be a high-profile hire for any K Street shop. He and Breaux are close friends and could form a powerful team with deep ties to the Gulf Coast, and its lucrative offshore energy, shipping, and gaming industries. Lott’s son, Kentucky-based lobbyist Chester Lott, currently an affiliate of the Livingston Group, says his father has yet to decide what to do. When asked in an interview with Legal Times a few hours before Breaux’s announcement if his father might go into business with the former Louisiana senator, Chester Lott said the two have “been kidding around about that since they were in the Senate, because, you know, they used to make deals in the Senate.” Lott adds: “There’s been no formal talks at all, and .�.�. he can’t get in any of these talks now with anybody and wouldn’t.” Asked about his own plans, Chester Lott says, “It just depends on what Dad decides down the road.” While in office, Breaux was known as a bipartisan power broker. His decision to step down three years ago was greeted with a flurry of offers so overwhelming that he hired an agent to sort through them before choosing Patton Boggs. His annual salary with the firm is reportedly between $1 million and $2 million. Breaux quickly became one of the firm’s leading rainmakers, with many colleagues going out of their way to publicly praise his work ethic, collegial attitude, and willingness to solicit new business. When he toyed with running for governor of Louisiana last year, observers said it would be difficult for the firm to lose him. His client list reflects his Louisiana ties and includes the port of New Orleans and Louisiana Economic Development. Breaux also led efforts to help the state recover in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. But his reach goes beyond his home state: the list also includes Sallie Mae, Cerberus Capital Management, and Royal Caribbean Cruises. Midyear reports for Breaux clients this year totaled more than $1.7 million in revenue reported under the Lobbying Disclosure Act alone. It’s unclear whether his clients will remain with Patton Boggs. In his e-mail, Boggs described Breaux as “an extremely valuable part of the Patton Boggs team” but said he understood Breaux’s desire to go into business with his son.
Carrie Levine can be contacted at [email protected].

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