Time to Take Action
Our Klamath Basin Water Crisis
Upholding rural Americans' rights to grow food,
own property, and caretake our wildlife and natural resources.


Congressman returns to Washington as lobbyist

by Michael Doyle SUN-STAR WASHINGTON BUREAU February 20, 2007

WASHINGTON -- Former San Joaquin Valley congressman Richard Pombo is stepping through the revolving door to work for a lobbying and public relations firm that specializes in Western resource issues. It's a match made in political heaven, Pombo's fans and critics agree.

Today, Pombo will announce he is joining the Oregon-based Pac/West Communications. A one-time Tracy rancher who rose to become chairman of the House Resources Committee, Pombo has a resume and a rolodex alluring to Pac/West's potential clients.

"He's had 14 years in Congress, dealing with some of the country's toughest issues," Pac/West President Paul Phillips noted, adding that Pombo's hiring "will certainly give us more visibility; it upgrades us on the national level."

Now with small offices in Alaska, Idaho, Oregon and Washington, D.C. -- as well as a newly opened Sacramento outpost -- Pac/West employs about two dozen people.

Pac/West's past and present clients include a number who've had business before Congress in general and the House Resources Committee in particular. They have ranged from the timber giant Georgia Pacific to Safari Club International and the multi-member Save our Species Alliance.

With corporate funding, the Save our Species Alliance supported Pombo's unsuccessful efforts to rewrite the Endangered Species Act. Pombo's aggressive distaste for the existing law, in turn, helped spur environmental groups to pour money into helping defeat him last November.

Pac/West personnel had previously helped champion a "healthy forests" law backed by Pombo and Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein, the online periodical Environmental and Science Technology reported. The law signed by President Bush in December 2003 was promoted as necessary to speed thinning of dangerously overgrown forests.

"It makes perfect sense that he would join them," Mark Longabaugh, political director for Defenders of Wildlife Action Fund, said Monday. "Here's a group that is as interested in undermining the Endangered Species Act as he was."

Phillips said he first met Pombo six or seven years ago. In August 2005, Phillips hosted a fundraiser for Pombo's political action committee, which Federal Election Commission records show received checks from the likes of the Friends of Snowmobiling PAC.

"Rich is very talented, and his being hired by a group like this makes a lot of sense," said Rep. Devin Nunes, R-Visalia.

Pombo will be based out of Pac/West's Sacramento office, where his former chief of staff Steve Ding has also joined the firm. Ding will "focus on expanding Pac/West's presence in California and extending the agency's services to global clients in key markets," the company states.

Pombo anticipates a different role, with Phillips saying he will "help identify national clients," among other tasks. Phillips, a former member of the Oregon Legislature, said Pombo might end up registering as a lobbyist just to ensure all legal requirements are met. Hands-on lobbying, though, is not where Pombo's responsibilities are supposed to center.

"I don't envision Richard as a lobbyist walking the halls in Washington," Phillips said.

Any formal lobbying, moreover, will have to wait. Former House members are prohibited from trying to influence Congress for a year after they leave office.


Home Contact


              Page Updated: Thursday May 07, 2009 09:15 AM  Pacific

             Copyright klamathbasincrisis.org, 2007, All Rights Reserved