Linda Daschle to lobby the Senate

Linda Daschle will start lobbying the Senate for corporate clients in January, when husband Sen. Tom Daschle’s term expires.

A lobbyist with Baker Donelson Bearman & Caldwell, she recused herself from lobbying at the chamber, where her husband has served for 18 years.

Senate insiders say Linda Daschle will remain a major lobbying force, owing to her long career dealing with aviation issues and her familiarity with most senators.

“She’s always been a powerhouse,” said Sen. Tim Johnson (D-S.D.).

Tension remains between Senate Republicans and Sen. Daschle since his defeat by former Rep. John Thune (R-S.D.).

Republicans consider Daschle the architect of Democratic efforts to block conservative judges and policy. Democrats fault Republicans for unprecedented efforts to dethrone their leader.

How might lingering animosity affect Daschle’s lobbying? Sen. Robert Bennett (R-Utah) said, “I think initially, a Republican might be more reluctant to respond to her rather than someone to whom they’ve built rapport and a relationship. If she wants to start attending Republican Senatorial Committee functions, we’d be happy to see her.”

The National Republican Senatorial Committee spent millions of dollars helping to unseat Sen. Daschle. The Thune campaign made Linda Daschle’s lobbying an issue, running ads that faulted Sen. Daschle for “personally profiting” from her
pharmaceutical-industry clients. Daschle campaign aides were outraged, as Thune had set up a lobbying shop and worked at Arent Fox.

Linda Daschle said, “The Republicans had been trying to make me an issue in Tom’s race. The campaign is behind us. I’m looking forward, as is Tom.”

Few doubt Daschle’s ability to gain entr