Perhaps it was just a confluence of events that convinced Trent now was the time to quit.
After Senate Minority Whip Trent Lott (R-MS) announced his resignation this week, it was widely speculatedthat Lott was quitting in order to dodge Senate ethics standards thattake effect next year. The new rules require senators to wait two yearsbefore entering â€œthe lucrative worldâ€ of lobbying Congress. Lott deniedthe rumor at a press conference, saying the new law â€œdidnâ€™t have a big roleâ€ in his decision.
Atthe same press conference, Lott was also asked about Senate ethicsrules regarding â€œnegotiating with a future employer,â€ to which hereplied that heâ€™s â€œnot really involved in negotiation,â€ but that â€œthereare some opportunities out thereâ€ that he wants â€œto be able toconsiderâ€:
QUESTION: Senator, I understand thereâ€™s arule in the Senate that if youâ€™re negotiating with a future employer,that you must register with the Ethics Committee. Have you been down tothat committee yet?
LOTT: Well, I have not yet, but Iâ€™mnot really involved in negotiation. Iâ€™ve tried to stay away from that.There are some opportunities out there that I want to be able toconsider, but I have nothing that weâ€™ve agreed to or lined up.
One of the â€œopportunitiesâ€ that Lott is considering, according to his son, Chester Lott â€” who is also a lobbyist â€” is â€œa partnershipâ€ with former Sen. John Breaux (D-LA), who until today, was the senior counsel at a powerhouse lobbying firm. But just this afternoon, Breaux announced that he was leaving Patton Boggs in order â€œto form his own firm with his son, John Jr.â€
I can imagine the conversation now (note, this is purely a fictional creation):
Lott: Breauzie, it looks like we’re going to have to accelerate our little plan to get rich.
Breaux: Whaysthat, Trent? I thought we were good to do it in December.
Lott: Dickie’s in trouble again, and with all the ruckus about the US Attorney firings, I can’t afford to help him out this time.
Breaux: Ah, I see. What’s the time frame?
Lott: Well, Karl’s on this kick to make sure everyone resigns before scandal hits. So I’m thinking maybe in about 20 minutes.
There’s a longer version of this, where I add in Trent’s concerns about Larry Flynt’s pictures of him with a boy for hire. But so far, that’s not materializing. Yet.