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Former US Senators Hired To Lobby For Sanctioned Russian Bank

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Chuck Ross
Reporter

Two former U.S. senators, Trent Lott and John Breaux, have been hired by a state-controlled Russian bank to lobby against U.S. sanctions put in place because of Russia’s aggression towards Ukraine.

A lobbying registration form filed Friday shows that Gazprombank GPB hired the firm Squire Patton Boggs to lobby on issues including “banking laws and regulations including applicable sanctions,” a report from the Center for Public Integrity reads.

Gazprombank GPB is a subsidiary of Gazprombank, Russia’s third-largest financial institution. It is controlled by the state-controlled energy company Gazprom.

In July, the U.S. Treasury Department slapped Gazprombank and several other large Russian companies with sanctions because of Russian President Vladamir Putin’s aggression in Ukraine. The stated goal is “limiting their access to U.S. capital markets.”

The two lobbyists listed on the filing are Lott, a Republican from Mississippi and the former Senate majority leader, and Breaux, a Democrat from Louisiana. As the Center for Public Integrity points out, the pair joined forces in 2008 to create the Breaux Lott Leadership Group, a lobbying firm. It was acquired in 2010 by Patton Boggs, which merged with Squire Sanders to form Squire Patton Boggs.

The move from lawmaker to lobbyist is all-too-common. The Center for Public Integrity cites the Center for Responsive Politics, which claims that over 300 former members of Congress now work as lobbyists. That does not include the number of former congressional staffers who have made the leap. They are considered ideal for the job because of their political connections and their deep knowledge of the process of passing legislation.

Another sanctioned company, OAO Novatek, similarly hired a lobbying firm last month to help fight the sanctions.

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