Lobby firm hires Republican who resigned after ethics investigation

Lobby firm hires Republican who resigned after ethics investigation
© Greg Nash

Former Rep. Ed WhitfieldWayne (Ed) Edward WhitfieldBottom Line Why Republicans took aim at an ethics watchdog What Azerbaijan wants from Israel? MORE (R-Ky.), who resigned from Congress earlier this month following an ethics investigation, has landed a job at a lobbying firm.

Farragut Partners announced on Thursday that the former lawmaker would be joining the shop as a principal.

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“With Congressman Whitfield joining our team, we will be well positioned to better serve existing clients and expand our practice,” said Jeff MacKinnon, a chairman and founder of the firm, in a statement.

“As chairman of the [House Energy and Commerce Committee’s Energy and Power Subcommittee], for almost six years, Ed was at the forefront and held almost 40 hearings on government and private initiatives relating to energy.”

The firm’s energy clients include Valero, Energy Future Holdings, NextEra Energy and Southern Co. 

Whitfield is subject to a one-year cooling-off period before he can lobby his former colleagues in the House, but the firm says it expects him to register after the ban is up.

The former lawmaker “brings a wealth of experience and policy expertise having served on the front lines of every major policy debate in the healthcare, telecom and energy areas over the past two decades,” the firm said.

The hire was first reported by Greenwire.

Farragut Partners, a small lobbying firm formed at the beginning of this year, has already earned more than $2 million in lobbying revenue through the first half of 2016. Its other clients include the 21st Century Privacy Coalition, tobacco and winery giant Altria, the National Cable and Telecommunications Association, AmerisourceBergen Corp., and mixed martial arts promotion company Ultimate Fighting Championship. 

Whitfield, who served almost 22 years in Congress, announced last month that he would be stepping down following an ethics review that investigated whether he had given “special favors” to his wife, a lobbyist for the Humane Society Legislative Fund.

The House Ethics Committee in July released a report that chided Whitfield for failing to prevent inappropriate communications between his staff and his wife, but the panel decided not to sanction him because he didn’t intentionally violate the rules. 

He had already announced his intent not to run for another term, but decided to resign from Congress early.

Whitfield is still well regarded on Capitol Hill, with House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-Mich.), praising him on a “job well done.” 

“Ed Whitfield is the consummate gentleman legislator,” Upton said in a statement the week before Whitfield resigned. “As I’ve said before, it’s all-of-the-above with Ed — he’s been a trusted, respected, and valued voice at Energy and Commerce, a thoughtful legislator through and through, and a fierce advocate for what’s best for Kentucky and the nation.”