Fear Not, Oil And Gas Industry: Mark Begich Hasn't Forsaken You In His New Job

WASHINGTON -- Former Sen. Mark Begich has signed on with Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck, the law and lobbying firm announced Wednesday. The Alaska Democrat, who lost his re-election bid in November, will offer strategic policy advice to the firm's clients, but will not formally register as a lobbyist.

While in the Senate, Begich was a reliable backer of bills that would benefit his state's oil and gas industry, at times taking positions that put him at odds with leaders in the Democratic Party. In announcing his new job, he made clear he will still be working with the same crowd.

"As an Alaskan, I am especially looking forward to bringing my diverse experience working on energy issues to the table and supporting this critical, job-creating industry," Begich said in the firm's statement.

Begich joins Barry Jackson, a onetime top aide to House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), in leading Brownstein's strategic services unit, which advises clients on how to advance their interests in Washington. “Both Sen. Begich and Barry Jackson will assist our clients in gaining a better understanding of how to solve problems across party lines in this political environment," said Marc Lampkin, co-chair of the firm's government relations department, in the announcement.

As a former senator, Begich cannot technically lobby Congress for two years after leaving office, and Lampkin noted that he will, of course, follow the law. In fact, neither Begich nor Jackson will lobby, Lampkin told The Washington Post. Instead, "they will help us lay out the map. Then we’ll have lawyers and the day-to-day lobbyists executing it.”

That "map" likely means legislative strategies to help businesses and other clients win favorable legislation, including boosting oil and gas companies' efforts to gain greater access to Alaska's abundant energy resources.

As if to underscore Begich's commitment to Brownstein's oil and gas clients, the announcement of his hiring featured a quote from John Minge, president of BP America. Minge declared that Begich will bring "passion and energy to his new role in Washington."

Begich formally began working at the firm on April 15.



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