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Sen. Zell B. Miller will be surrounded by old and new political friends when he joins McKenna Long & Aldridge in January. The two-term governor will join McKenna’s national government affairs practice when his Senate term expires. He’ll find some familiar faces there, including his personal lawyer, his former chiefs of staff while he was governor and senator, and the chairman of the state Democratic Party during the era when Miller ruled at the Capitol. But it was a Republican who officially welcomed Miller to the firm Wednesday. Eric J. Tanenblatt, a former chief of staff to Republican Gov. George E. “Sonny” Perdue III and the 2000 chairman for President Bush’s campaign in Georgia, heads the practice group that Miller will join. As a senior policy adviser, Miller will provide nonlegal counsel to the firm’s clients, said Tanenblatt, who added that it was premature to say which clients Miller would work with or if he would register as a lobbyist. “We have not sorted out the specifics,” Tanenblatt said, adding that the firm is “mindful of the ethical constraints that he has.” Tanenblatt said there is a one-year federal prohibition against former members of Congress lobbying current members. “I’m not sure the senator would do that, anyway,” he added. “I don’t envision Senator Miller walking the halls of Congress.” Miller was traveling and couldn’t be reached for comment. Miller, 72, is not a lawyer, and although he taught history and politics at the University of Georgia and Young Harris College for several years, he has spent most of his life in politics, beginning with his election as mayor of Young Harris in 1959. He served as lieutenant governor from 1975 to 1991, when he was elected governor. Former Gov. Roy E. Barnes appointed Miller to the Senate after Sen. Paul Coverdell died in 2000, and Miller won election to the seat later that year. POLITICAL EXPERTISE Miller’s long experience in politics will help McKenna grow its practice, Tanenblatt said. “People value his background and his areas of expertise. He knows how to get things done in the public arena.” The firm does work for many Fortune 500 clients, particularly in the areas of government contracts, homeland security, banking, tax and international trade, said Tanenblatt. “Those are all areas where Senator Miller has some level of expertise,” he said, adding that Miller could be “plugged into existing clients and those we don’t know about yet.” The government relations group’s clients include Aflac, the University of Georgia, Sea Island Co., Lockheed Martin Corp. and Computer Associates. Miller will work out of the firm’s Atlanta and Washington offices, said Tanenblatt, adding “that would not prevent him from assisting clients across the country and overseas.” Tanenblatt said Miller would not work full time but would be an active member of the government affairs team. Tanenblatt declined to discuss Miller’s compensation, but since he is not a lawyer, Miller cannot be a partner in the firm. The government affairs practice has members who are registered lobbyists, and Miller would work as part of a team that would have lobbyists on it, but the firm views him primarily as a strategic adviser for its clients, Tanenblatt said. “On issues that deal with the government, he will provide a road map for solutions.” BOTH SIDES OF THE AISLE Although he is nominally the top elected Democrat in Georgia, Miller has gained attention for his recent ties to the Republican Party. His recent book, “A National Party No More: The Conscience of a Conservative Democrat,” chides the party for leaning too far to the left. Most notably, he gave the nominating speech for President Bush at the Republican National Convention in August. Tanenblatt acknowledged that Miller is “very well-regarded and thought of in the administration.” “Senator Miller has a history of working with people on both sides of the aisle. We’re not looking at this in a partisan manner,” he said. The firm’s government affairs practice includes people with strong backgrounds in both the Democratic and Republican parties, he said. McKenna historically has been a firm with a strong Democratic orientation, dating back to its days as Long Aldridge & Norman. Notable Democratic members of the firm include former Democratic congressman George W. “Buddy” Darden and Keith W. Mason, who served in the Clinton White House and is a former chief of staff for then Gov. Miller. Another partner, Edgar H. Sims Jr., was chairman of the Democratic Party while Miller was governor. Sims also directed the 1992 Clinton-Gore campaign in Georgia. Partner Gordon D. Giffin was an adviser to former Sen. Sam Nunn and served as ambassador to Canada under President Clinton. After Bush won election in 2000, McKenna began to forge ties with powerful members of the GOP. Tanenblatt, who was also a long-time adviser to Sen. Coverdell, joined the firm in 2001. He was followed in 2003 by GOP lawyer J. Randolph Evans, who brought his government affairs team and a $9 million book of business from Arnall Golden Gregory. Evans is counsel for the Georgia Republican Party, as well as former congressmen Newt Gingrich and J.C. Watts Jr. and House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert. He is also Miller’s lawyer for book and media deals. Alex Albert, managing director in McKenna’s Washington office, was a top GOP congressional aide for 12 years. He was also Miller’s chief of staff while he was a senator, and, according to the firm’s Web site, “helped catapult” Miller “into national acclaim on such key issues as the federal budget, homeland security and judicial nominations.”

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