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John Breaux and Patton Boggs were a perfect Washington power couple � the former Louisiana senator, known as a bipartisan deal-maker, and a leading law firm that boasted one of the most powerful lobbying operations in town. But nothing good lasts forever. In November, after weeks of rumors, Breaux announced he was leaving after the first of the year to start his own firm with his son, John Breaux Jr. The decision means Patton Boggs � already dealing with questions surrounding its post-Tommy Boggs future � is losing a key Democratic rainmaker in a year when Democrats are expected to strengthen their control of Congress and possibly gain the White House. It also sparked speculation that Breaux will partner with his old friend, retiring Sen. Trent Lott (R-Miss.), to form a new venture. The two former senators would have strong bipartisan appeal, shared backgrounds on strong committees, and ties to the lucrative energy, gambling, and shipping industries along the Gulf Coast. The pair have coyly played up rumors of an alliance, but so far, haven’t committed to anything. Breaux has yet to even say publicly where his new office will be, and Lott hasn’t officially confirmed that he’ll even be a lobbyist. For Patton Boggs, Breaux’s departure is a big hit. If this year’s midyear reports are accurate, he earns at least $4 million a year for the firm. Many of his clients � including Verizon and Sallie Mae � registered with Patton Boggs after Breaux joined, and it’s unclear if they’ll go with him when he leaves. Managing partner Stuart Pape says he’s hoping Breaux will continue working with Patton Boggs in some capacity, but neither side has yet said whether those negotiations have yielded anything of substance. With so much up in the air, one thing is certain: K Street’s crystal ball says Breaux will be a big player again in 2008.
Carrie Levine can be contacted at [email protected].

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