Tom Daschle registers as a lobbyist

Tom Daschle registers as a lobbyist

Former Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle (D-S.D.) has officially registered as a lobbyist.

He is part of a team at Baker Donelson Bearman, Caldwell & Berkowitz that is lobbying for the health insurer Aetna, according to forms filed to the Senate.

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The disclosure forms say the the team will be working with the insurer — which recently withdrew from a major industry trade group, America’s Health Insurance Plans (AHIP) — on issues related to the Affordable Care Act and Medicare Advantage, among other things.

Since losing his Senate seat in 2004, Daschle formed his own lobbying and consulting firm, the Daschle Group, which operates as a public policy advisory firm within Baker Donelson.

Daschle had avoided registering as lobbyist over the last decade, however, beginning with a stint at firm Alston & Bird and DLA Piper. He avoided registering by working as a consultant for clients, a practice that has garnered criticism, with some dubbing it "the Daschle loophole."

During the Obama administration, the number of registered lobbyists has fallen, with Washington advocates avoiding the direct contacts and time thresholds that would require one to register as a lobbyist.

Last year, Daschle made news by registering under the Foreign Agents Registration Act to work on behalf of foreign clients. 

So far, the Daschle Group has signed the government of Japan, to help with negotiation on the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal; the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office, the de facto embassy of the Republic of China (Taiwan); and a Macedonian political party, the VMRO DPMNE.