K Street heavyweights were among clients of newest senator

Sen. Carte Goodwin (D-W.Va.) had a thriving law and lobbying practice prior to his appointment to the upper chamber, according to his financial disclosure report.

Goodwin, who rose to power as general counsel and confidant of West Virginia Gov. Joe ManchinJoseph (Joe) ManchinDemocratic unity starts to crack in coronavirus liability reform fight Stakes high for Collins in coronavirus relief standoff The Hill's Coronavirus Report: Surgeon General stresses need to invest much more in public health infrastructure, during and after COVID-19; Fauci hopeful vaccine could be deployed in December MORE, represented some of the biggest names on K Street in 2009 and 2010 as a partner at Goodwin & Goodwin, his family’s law firm in Charleston, W.Va.

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The West Virginia Democrat listed heavyweight clients such as the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA), Verizon and Yum Brands on his financial disclosure form. He worked for 24 different clients at Goodwin & Goodwin from February 2009 to July 2010 and earned $376,319.

The financial disclosure report provides an initial peek into the finances of a young Democrat whose political career might only be beginning.

Manchin appointed Goodwin to the Senate in July after Sen. Robert Byrd (D-W.Va.) passed away. Goodwin will leave the Senate at year’s end, but many observers expect him to run for higher office in the future. 

Manchin is favored to win a November special election to replace Goodwin in the Senate, but the West Virginia governor is facing a stiff challenge from Republican businessman John Raese.

Goodwin performed “legal services” at the Charleston firm, including “gov’t relations” and “merger & regulatory process,” according to his form. In compliance with ethics rules, the new senator listed all clients that had paid him in excess of $5,000 in 2009. 

Pursuant to his partnership share, Goodwin will receive compensation from the firm for his services through July 2010 as well as retain his pension benefits.

One of Goodwin’s aides noted the senator is no longer receiving any compensation from former clients.

According to his report, Goodwin helped PhRMA with “appellate litigation,” worked for Citigroup Global Markets, Inc., on “litigation & settlement” and advised Verizon Services Corp. on “merger & regulatory process.” He also performed government relations work for business software maker SAP and Yum Brands, Inc., the global restaurant company.

Goodwin also did government-relations work for three different consulting and lobbying firms: Policy Studies, Inc., in Denver, Colo., Legacy Consulting in DeQueen, Ark., and National Strategy in Washington, D.C. Because they are not listed on his disclosure form, it’s unclear for which clients retained by those firms Goodwin was subcontracted to work.  

Goodwin & Goodwin is registered to lobby the West Virginia government, according to state records. For 2009 through 2010, the firm lobbied for clients such as the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, the American Petroleum Institute and Verizon Wireless.

Goodwin and the Charleston firm have never registered to lobby the federal government, according to records on file with the Senate. 

Along with his legal and lobbying work, Goodwin was vice chairman of the board of directors for the Polymer Alliance Zone, a West Virginia trade association that represents the plastics industry. 

Goodwin comes from a prominent West Virginia family that is well connected in legal and political circles. 

His uncle, Joseph R. Goodwin, is a federal district judge, and his late father, Steve, was a board of governors chairman for West Virginia University. His wife, Rochelle, worked on Sen. Jay Rockeller’s (D-W.Va.) 2008 election campaign and serves as his state director.