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How did Bryan Cave score a lobbying gig for Microsoft in its battle to take over Yahoo? The firm and Microsoft won’t discuss the job. Records show, though, that it is Bryan Cave’s first time lobbying for the software giant based in Redmond, Wash. Microsoft has a stable of lobby firms it usually turns to, with $9 million spent on lobbying in 2007, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. The firm scoring the biggest share of that pie usually is Covington & Burling, the former home of general counsel Brad Smith. Covington earned $1.1 million from Microsoft in 2007, and for the first quarter of 2008 pulled in $80,000 from lobbying for the tech giant, according to disclosure forms filed April 21. But Yahoo is also a Covington client. The firm advises the company on, among other things, online advertising, trademarks, and transactional matters, according to the firm’s Web site. Covington also was a registered lobbyist for Yahoo since 2005, disclosure forms show. Most recently, according to its quarterly report filed last week, Yahoo paid Covington $40,000 to lobby regarding “law enforcement demands for user data.” Covington declined to comment on whether the firm was conflicted out of the job. Bryan Cave Strategies, as the firm’s lobbying arm is known, is small compared to the likes of Covington. With only 12 lobbyists in its ranks and just $2.17 million in revenue in 2007, according to the Center for Responsive Politics, it doesn’t come close to making the Influence 50. Covington in contrast earned $40.4 million in 2007. Yet Bryan Cave in recent months has attracted a group of clients torn out of the pages of The Wall Street Journal. For the last quarter, it advised Bank of America on patent reform ($60,000), Fannie Mae on housing and foreclosure issues ($50,000), and Shell Oil on the False Claims Act ($70,000). Specifically lobbying for Microsoft is Broderick Johnson, a former official in the White House office of legislative affairs during the Clinton administration. Also on tap is Waldo McMillan, a former staffer to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.). Yahoo has yet to announce if it has hired lobbyists for the Microsoft merger.
Nate Raymond is a reporter with The American Lawyer , an ALM publication.

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