Lott says he’s busy with consulting firm

Published 5:19 pm Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Former U.S. Sen. Trent Lott says he has been busy with his new consulting firm located just a few blocks from Capitol Hill in Washington, where he used to wield power as a Republican majority leader.

Lott resigned in December 2007 after 35 years in elected office — 19 in the Senate and 16 in the House.

“I am retired, but I’m not dead, and as long as I’m living, I’m going to be working for Mississippi,” the 66-year-old said during a lunch stop last week at Monica’s Restaurant in Pascagoula.

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Lott and Democratic former Sen. John Breaux of Louisiana opened a consulting firm earlier this year.

“Our two sons are our junior partners,” Lott said. “I also brought two of my former staff members, and John brought two of his former staff members. It’s been a busy six months getting our firm organized, getting clients signed up and beginning the process of servicing those clients.”

Lott said the firm was formed for consulting, strategic planning and lobbying. His clients include Northrop Grumman and Chevron, two companies that have a large presence in Lott’s coastal hometown of Pascagoula.

“We’ve now gotten into international work and mergers, representing both American companies and overseas companies — mostly British and Belgian. We may do some more in that area,” he said.

Gov. Haley Barbour appointed Republican Roger Wicker, who was then a north Mississippi congressman, to temporarily fill Lott’s Senate seat. A Nov. 4 election between Wicker and Democratic former Gov. Ronnie Musgrove will determine who will fill the final four years of the six-year term.

Lott said he has reached a point with his firm that he can now spend more time in Mississippi. He said he also works with the Jackson-based law firm, Butler Snow, on bond and tax issues.

“I miss my relationship with the people in Mississippi,” Lott said. “I enjoyed the Senate. I enjoyed the leadership positions — even my last year there, but I’d done it for 35 years as a congressman and a senator. That’s a lifetime. Before that, I was a staff member for four years. It was just really time for me to do something else.”

Lott said he has “struggled” with the problems of his brother-in-law, former prominent attorney Richard Scruggs, who pleaded guilty to attempting to bribe a judge and is serving a five-year federal prison sentence. Scruggs’ son and law partner, Zach, also was indicted in the case, and received a 14-month sentence after pleading guilty to misprision of a felony.

Lott and Richard Scruggs are married to sisters.

“It’s a human tragedy and we’re just sad about the whole thing,” Lott said. “We’ll just deal with it and move on.”