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Opinion

Prairie populist Byron Dorgan officially registers on K Street

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Beltway Confidential,Opinion,Timothy P. Carney,Lobbying,Tom Harkin

When North Dakota Democrat Byron Dorgan was in the Senate, he railed against lobbyists — despite being married to a corporate lobbyist.

When he retired from the Senate two years ago, Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, lamented the loss of "a kindred spirit and a fellow progressive populist, Byron Dorgan."

Dorgan left the Senate in January 2011. Legally, he could have begun lobbying January of 2013 -- which is what his classmate, former Sen. Bob Bennett, R-Utah, did. Dorgan, though, waited one year longer than necessary, and picked up his first lobbying client last month.

The biodiesel lobby has hired Dorgan, a "Senior Policy Advisor," to lobby to protect the federal biodiesel mandate, according to his lobbying filing.

As a Senior Policy Advisor for the past three years, Dorgan was prohibited from contacting policymakers on behalf of his clients, but he could help develop lobbying strategy. Now he can call his old populist progressive colleagues on Capitol Hill and ask them to support subsidies for the likes of Cargill.

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