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Former Senate Majority Leader Lott Exits Squire Patton Boggs

Bloomberg logo Bloomberg 6/9/2020 Ben Brody, Colin Wilhelm and Megan Wilson
Trent Lott standing in front of a crowd: Trent Lott, former republican U.S. Senator, left, arrives for the 58th presidential inauguration in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Friday, Jan. 20, 2017. © Bloomberg Trent Lott, former republican U.S. Senator, left, arrives for the 58th presidential inauguration in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Friday, Jan. 20, 2017.

(Bloomberg) -- Former Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott, a Republican who forged a lucrative second career as one of Washington’s most influential lobbyists after his retirement from Congress, is leaving Squire Patton Boggs, according to a statement from the firm.

Lott “will no longer continue as a part of the firm,” where he co-chaired the public policy practice, said the Monday night statement from Mark Ruehlmann, the lobbying and law firm’s chair and global chief executive officer.

The firm declined to answer questions about why Lott was leaving. Emails sent to Lott’s address at the firm bounced back with the message “Senator Trent Lott is no longer with Squire Patton Boggs.”

“We have decided that it is the right time to make a change in the leadership of our industry leading public policy practice,” Ruehlmann said. “We wish to thank retired Senator Trent Lott for his years of service to the firm and our clients.”

Squire Patton Boggs is one of the top grossing firms on K Street, taking in nearly $26 million in lobbying revenues last year and almost $6.7 million in the first quarter of 2020.

Boutique Firm

After leaving the Senate, Lott, from Mississippi, and former Senator John Breaux, a Louisiana Democrat, formed a boutique lobbying outfit, the Breaux-Lott Leadership Group, in 2008. Patton Boggs purchased it two years later.

Breaux did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Monday evening.

Lott, 78, resigned as GOP leader in 2002 after coming under intense criticism for praising South Carolina Senator Strom Thurmond’s segregationist campaign for president in 1948. He made the remarks, for which he quickly apologized, on the occasion of Thurmond’s 100th birthday.

In 2007, Lott retired from the Senate, saying that his decision was driven by a number of factors, including a desire to spend more time with his family.

“As a global law firm, we are obliged to constantly evaluate and tailor our professional offerings to not only respond, but also anticipate the issues and concerns of an evolving marketplace and the clients we serve,” Ruehlmann said in the statement, which echoed an internal announcement seen by Bloomberg.

In its statement, Squire Patton Boggs touted other former congressional leaders still working for the firm, including former House Speaker John Boehner, an Ohio Republican, and former Representative Joe Crowley of New York, who chaired the House Democratic Caucus.

Since he left Congress, Lott’s blue-chip clients have included Amazon.com Inc., Goldman Sachs Group Inc., AT&T Inc., Space Exploration Technologies Corp. and UnitedHealth Group Inc., according to lobbying disclosures.

Although Breaux and Lott were co-chairs of the law and lobbying firm’s advocacy shop, others have been running the day-to-day operations for some time, according to two people familiar with the matter.

(Updates with details of Lott’s lobbying career. A previous version corrected lobbying revenue.)

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