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September 15, 2005

No conflict

Not even the merest whiff of one. Really:

WASHINGTON (AP) - As ex-federal disaster chief James Lee Witt advises Louisiana’s governor on hurricane recovery, he is also working for an insurance company lobbying Congress to create a fund to ease insurers’ burdens from disaster claims, records show.
The former Federal Emergency Management Agency director and his firm, James Lee Witt Associates, registered this week to lobby for Allstate Insurance Co. Their mission: “to draft and introduce model legislation creating a natural disaster catastrophe fund,” says the registration, posted Thursday by the Political Money Line lobbying tracking service.
Witt’s lobbying for the fund comes while he’s working for the state of Louisiana. Gov. Kathleen Blanco hired him this month to advise her on the state’s Hurricane Katrina relief effort.
Witt is mindful of the potential appearance of a conflict of interest, so he and his firm are turning away prospective clients that want them to lobby in Louisiana, said Barry Scanlon, a firm partner and lobbyist. They also are refusing to do such work for existing clients, he said.

Well, that’s a relief.

You can find Witt’s registration here.

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