Paul Romain apologizes to fellow lobbyists

The following email was sent this afternoon by Paul Romain - the lobbyist responsible for the Lobbyist Luau - to his fellow lobbyists.

To Members of the Capitol Club:

Ever since the Oregonian started publishing its stories about the Beer & Wine Distributors Association's non-reporting of the expenses paid for legislators to attend its meetings in Hawaii in 2002 and 2004, I not only wanted to make things right with the Commission, but apologize to the lobby for making their hard jobs harder. The uncertainty surrounding the Commission's inquiry kept me from apologizing sooner. Now that the Commission and I have made peace, I can.

I hope to personally apologize to each of you and give you a chance to vent. But I also know you are all busy, so until time and circumstances permit, I want to at least get this written apology to you.

I also want to offer myself as a cautionary tale. In a very hard way, I have learned the truth of that old saw about "he who represents himself having a fool for a client." Relying solely on my own counsel, I convinced myself that an Association could allocate the expenses of public officials attending its convention to each of the paying attendees so that no one met the reporting threshold. Had I had the humility or wisdom to bounce that idea off of any of you, I am sure I would have realized that I was being too cute by half, inconsistent with the intent and purpose of the law, and abandoned the idea.

I know that my conduct has caused relationship problems with some members of the lobby. I hope that, in time, I can restore those relationships and re-earn your trust.

Paul Romain


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    This is a pretty classy apology and perhaps a model for a politician who has screwed up.

    Now Paul needs to craft one to the citizens of Oregon.

  • Former Salem Staffer (unverified)

    I don't expect an apology from Mr. Romain. He did, after all, provide endless amounts of booze for all the cocktail parties last session....

  • littlevoice (unverified)

    I'm glad he made this apology, but there's something clearly missing here. Mr. Romain explains he messed up by erroneously calculating expenses to keep from reaching the reporting threshold. What he doens't explain is why he wanted to keep from reaching that threshold. It's that kind of thinking that maintains low respect for that kind of lobbying in the public's eye.

  • LT (unverified)

    After that lesson in humility, maybe he will have a harder time preventing discussion of raising taxes on alcoholic beverages?

  • MoreDirtyLaundry (unverified)

    Romain <u>was</u> an effective lobbyist under a Republican legislature. I'm for Oreogn nurturing independent brewers and a burgeoning boutique wine industry, but that doesn't mean the public should have to endure years of bad public policy decisions in exchange for amount to nickel and dime bribes from lobbyists like Romain in Salem.

    Romain should be suspended for lobbying for 6 months -- make his clients feel the pain of unethical or irresponsible counsel. Paying fines out of campaign coffers? What a joke.

    And if you think now lobbyists will clean up their act....this just in from one of the sleaziest lobbyists in Salem, Paul Phillips, PAC/West Communictions. Phillips has hired former Republican Congressman Richard Pombo(CA-11)on board. In his own words:

    "The addition of Richard Pombo to the Pac/West team strengthens our ability to serve clients on a variety of issues, ranging from natural resources and energy to a host of regulatory matters," said Paul Phillips, president of Pac/West. "Richard's vast knowledge of the political process, his high-level experience in Washington D.C. and extensive contacts makes for a powerful combination."

    Don't know Phillips or Pombo?

    Richard Pombo From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    Richard William Pombo (born January 8, 1961) is a former Republican member of the United States House of Representatives, representing California's 11th congressional district from 1993 to 2007. After multiple allegations of corruption, misuse of official resources, nepotism, questionable campaign contributions, and concerted opposition from national environmental groups, Pombo lost a reelection bid to to Democratic challenger Jerry McNerney on November 7, 2006.

    Paul Phillips is the principal of Wilsonville based PAC West Communications. Phillips in bed with all sorts of Republican interests and frequently consults/funds/helps Republican candidates. Nothing wrong with that, <u>except he also has EXTENSIVE contracts with organized labor unions</u>. He bills labor unions to lobby on their behalf to his Republican buddies and then turns around and works to elect anti-union candidates. We will pay you to cut off our noses.

    It's quite a country eh? Now that Democrats are in charge, there needs to be a changing of the guard. If your union, organization or business wants respect with respectable leadership, don't use people like Romain, Phillips, Justin Martin, Dan Lavey of the Gallatin Group, Jim Gardner, etc.

    Anyone care to start a formal list?

    This is what you should be talking to your legislators about and the organizations that use these people. It's not partisanship killing's about 20 lobbyist in Salem who get off on wielding their influence to kill progressive policy.

  • BlueNote (unverified)

    Paul Romain has something that both Republicans and Democrats admire and respect - MONEY. Therefore, I am betting that legislators on both sides of the aisle will find it in their wallets (oops, hearts) to forgive him.

    I have been reading my way through which is a pretty interesting {although not quite up to date} web site. While the press has been dithering about a few booze industry meet-and-greets in Maui, some really big dollars have been flowing to a lot of Oregon legislators for the presumed purpose of supporting big business against the interests of the average working person and citizen consumer. That bothers me a whole lot more than a Mai Tai junket that did not get properly reported.

  • littlevoice (unverified)

    Please don't confuse Paul Romain, lobbyist for the Beer and Wine Distributors, with someone who would fight the beer tax to his utmost. It's a production tax. The distributors will actually make money on any increase because they take a percentage of the cost of the transaction. The cost is shared by producers and consumers, not the middleman. He admitted as much in a November Register Guard article ( referenced here).

  • lin qiao (unverified)

    Romain: Relying solely on my own counsel, I convinced myself....Had I had the humility or wisdom to bounce that idea off of any of you...

    I'd like to think that Dubya, Rumsfeld, Condi, Wolfewitz etc. sent out memos like this. But that would be wishful thinking to the point of insanity.

  • Grant Schott (unverified)

    Despite Romain's troubles, many lobbyists don't receive enough scrutiny from the press. When I worked at the Capitol in '01, it seemed like they ran the show, especially the senior contract lobbyists with many clients like Mark Nelson, Dave Barrows, Larry Campbell, and Paul Romain. Their clients and causes should be scrutized, as Steve Duin did with tobacco lobbysist Nelson continuing to lobby for that drug that killed his business partner Bill Linden at age 55.

    <h2>I grew up 30 miles from Antelope when the Rajneeshees took over, and some family friends were harassed by what was essentially a terrorist organization that broke countless laws. That cult lasted as long as they did because of hot shot lobbyists they hired, including Mark Nelson's mentor, the late Bob Davis. Lobbyists need to know that they are being watched just like elected officials.</h2>
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