By Kevin Bogardus - 11/30/10 11:00 AM EST
The new lobby shop of former Rep. Billy Tauzin (R-La.) and his son Tom has registered its first client.
The San-Francisco based tech company Resilient Networks Systems has hired Tauzin Consultants to help lobby on the deployment of electronic medical records under the healthcare reform law among other issues, according to lobbying disclosure records.
Tauzin Consultants will be the lobbying and advocacy arm of Tauzin Strategic Networks and will concentrate on consulting CEOs on how Washington works, Tauzin said.
In an interview with The Hill, Tauzin said he considered retirement, but decided he enjoyed lobbying work too much to give it up. After a hectic year lobbying on healthcare reform and a few months of vacation, Tauzin said he and his wife decided he was not ready to retire.
“It occurred to both of us that I’m not ready to stop,” Tauzin said. “We decided together that I’m not nearly through.”
Resilient has been a client of his son Tom. He had been working at another lobby shop, Capitol Hill Consulting Group, for more than a year before joining his father’s new venture.
The former congressman is not registered to lobby for Resilient but said he does plan to register for future clients with the firm. He also said he has a two-year consulting contract in place with PhRMA.
Tauzin said he looked at the model exemplified by former Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle (D-S.D.), where one helps clients on political strategy but does not lobby lawmakers, thus avoiding lobbying disclosure requirements. But Tauzin said he enjoys talking with members of Congress about policy too much to stop.
“I’m going to register. I’m going to get back in that game,” Tauzin said.
Tauzin served almost 25 years in Congress. He was first elected to the House in 1980 by special election as a Democrat. He later was one of the founders of the Blue Dog Coalition, the conservative House Democratic group.
After the 1994 elections swept Republicans into control of the House, Tauzin switched party affiliation. He led the powerful House Energy and Commerce Committee as a Republican, helping to write the 2003 Medicare prescription drug bill. He retired from Congress after the 2004 election and took the helm of PhRMA.
His leadership there was a source of controversy as he worked to help pass the healthcare reform bill in concert with the Obama administration despite stringent business opposition to the legislation. Under Tauzin, the trade group struck a deal with the White House that it would limit the pharmaceutical industry’s costs to $80 billion under the new law if the industry funded a supportive ad campaign.
Tauzin said he thinks the lobbying community will have to change as CEOs are being asked to step up more and more in the political realm. Lobbyists will become less relevant as policymakers look to interact more with company executives rather than their K Street representatives.
“I found out that at PhRMA when the White House insisted I bring a CEO along when I came in for a meeting,” Tauzin said. “I think that is going to be increasingly true with the next Congress.”
Tauzin said he hopes to bridge what he calls “the disconnect” between government and business at his new venture. He thinks both sides have much to learn about the other.
The former House member said he expects his new firm will add staff.
“We are going to be growing. We have a number of people interested in joining us,” Tauzin said.