In a dramatic sign of how the political winds have shifted, lobbying firm BRG (formerly known as Barbour, Griffith & Rogers) today announced that it has acquired a Democratic lobbying firm. This is huge because Haley Barbour and partners revolutionized what had been the bi-partisan nature of lobbying in Washington by opening a firm that would not cater to Democrats, helping create an intensely divided Washington. [...]
In addition to its partisan connections, Rogers said Westin Rinehart fits neatly into a BGR's broader portfolio of services, which includes lobbying, public relations and financial advice. In an interview, Reid said he agreed to the merger because he wants Washington "to go back to the tradition that made the town a great town, when you could fight hard all day and go home and still be friends. We have to go back to a time when everyone in town had a seat at the table."
The days of all-Republican or all-Democratic firms, which were fostered by the Republican majority, "are dead," Reid said. "It's not in the best interest of the country, and it's certainly not in the best interest of the new administration."
The merger of the firms is just the latest of several moves by BGR to adapt itself to Washington's changing partisan politics.
When Democrats took over Congress in 2006, Rogers initially said the firm would maintain its Republican purity. To attract clients, it marketed its strong ties to the Bush administration and Senate Republicans, who still could block Democratic legislation.
But in 2007, the firm began to reposition itself.
Its name was changed to focus less attention on its Republican founders: Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour; Lanny Griffith, an adviser to President George H.W. Bush and a major fundraiser for his son; and Rogers.