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Hiring the Family (of the Rep. or Sen.)

The Los Angeles Times has a story in its Sunday edition that begins,

Two years ago, when regional phone companies wanted Congress to make it easier for them to compete in the high-speed Internet market, they did what special interests usually do with billions of dollars at stake: They amassed an army of experienced lobbyists.

But one of the so-called Baby Bells didn't stop there. BellSouth also hired a pair of lobbyists distinguished by their family trees -- John Breaux Jr. and Chester T. "Chet" Lott Jr.

Hiring the members of the family of the Senator or Representative is an indirect way to get on the Senator's good side or to get "access."

A negative influence on a decision maker is found when a litigant hires a firm because of its ties to the judge and thereby force the recusal of the judge. The Eleventh Circuit just upheld Judge Lynwood Smith's decision to bar BellSouth from hiring a firm with a partner who is the nephew of the judge to whom the case was assigned. The case is In re BellSouth Corp.

(Thanks to Howard Bashman for the link. And congratulations to Howard on having 1.5 million page views.)