Ex-Sen. Martinez to join DLA Piper as partner

Mel Martinez is the latest ex-lawmaker to join a lobbying firm, accepting a position as partner at DLA Piper just weeks after stepping down from his Senate seat.

Martinez will be a partner in DLA’s government affairs practice, and will split time between DLA’s Tampa, Fla., and Washington offices.

Martinez represented Florida in the Senate from 2004 to September 2009. He cannot lobby his former colleagues for two years, but can advise clients on lobbying strategies. Martinez was previously the secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development under President George W. Bush.

Although a Republican, Martinez was sought after on K Street as a centrist.

Martinez is a big-name Republican for DLA, which just lost another former GOP member of Congress, ex-House Majority Leader Dick Armey of Texas. Armey left the firm after a nonprofit group he also runs was linked to angry town-hall meeting protests on healthcare reform.

In a news release, Martinez said he will specifically help the firm grow its practice in Latin America.