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Russian Bank Hires Two Former Senators To Fight Sanctions

In perhaps one of the more audacious displays of the arrogance of former elected officials who turn around and use their influence to make big money after they retire, two former members of the Senate are now working for a Russian bank that was hit with sanctions earlier this year:

Gazprombank GPB (OJSC), a Russian bank targeted with sanctions by President Obama over the Ukraine crisis, has hired two former U.S. senators to lobby against those sanctions, according to a new disclosure filed with the Senate.

Gazprombank is controlled by Russia’s state-owned energy company Gazprom, the country’s largest gas producer; it supplies about a third of Europe’s natural gas.

In a filing submitted Friday and effective that day, former Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott, R-Miss., and former Senator John Breaux, D-La., are listed as the main lobbyists under the Gazprombank account for the firm Squire Patton Boggs, lobbying on “banking laws and regulations including applicable sanctions.”

Gazprombank GPB (OJSC) is a subsidiary of Gazprombank, Russia’s third largest bank. On July 16th, the U.S. Treasury Department added it to a list of Russian firms barred from debt financing with U.S. institutions.

Lott and Breaux left public service almost a decade ago and are among more than 300 members of Congress who’ve become lobbyists, and begun petitioning former colleagues on behalf of clients, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. In 2008, they started a lobbying firm with their sons, Breaux Lott Leadership Group, which was acquired by D.C.-lobbying powerhouse Patton Boggs in 2010. Patton Boggs merged with Squire Sanders to form Squire Patton Boggs in June.

Gazprom has been in the news a lot. In July, The Permanent Court of Arbitration, an intergovernmental organization located in The Hague, Netherlands, ruled that the Russian government should reimburse $50 billion to certain shareholders of former Russian oil company Yukos. The tribunal said the government, in a series of actions starting in 2003 “accompanied by serious due process violations,” had dismantled and seized the assets of Yukos and transferred them to Gazprom and state-run oil company Rosneft.

I’d like to say that I wonder how they Lott and Breaux can sleep at night, but with the money they’l likely making off this deal I’m sure they’re sleeping pretty darn well.

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About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May, 2010 and also writes at Below The Beltway. Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. Scott says:

    What is the difference between lobbyists and foreign agents?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 1

  2. Mu says:

    Foreign agents can’t deduct their $300 business luncheons on their taxes.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 0

  3. the Q says:

    “how can they sleep at night”….the same way their traitorous great grand pappys could when trying to destroy the Union – they’re southerners. What do you expect from these clowns?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 15 Thumb down 1

  4. rudderpedals says:

    Thanks a lot bro

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  5. michael reynolds says:

    Well, Doug, I imagine both men are also corporations, and by your lights their only obligation is to their own bottom line. Right?

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 22 Thumb down 2

  6. I am really grateful to the owner of this site who has
    shared this fantastic post at at this place.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 2

  7. gVOR08 says:

    @Scott: Good article on AIPAC in the New Yorker. The guys who started it started out as agents of the Israeli government. They discovered the laws were a lot less restrictive on domestic lobbyists.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  8. LaMont says:

    These Russain banks know the game. America only works for those with the deepest pockets! And with the right turnover in the US legislator they will get their way, eventually. So move along – nothing to see here,,,

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  9. James in Silverdale, WA says:

    Does this mean Lott and Breaux now join Putin in the “conservative” pantheon of Deities and Demigods?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  10. Trumwill says:

    @the Q: Nice to know that I was raised without a conscience…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  11. Rob in CT says:

    Don’t hate the player, hate the game. I mean, ok, if you want you can hate the player too. ;)

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0