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  • Writer's pictureKirk Hartley

The Revolving Door of Government Takes on New Meaning Via an Amicus Brief in Halliburton

In days gone by, the revolving door in government simply lead to a private employer for a new and more lucrative job after working for the federal government. Now, the door apparently is broader, and leads to former administrators, legislators and aides filing ostensibly neutral amicus briefs. Perhaps this is not new, but it’s the first time I recall seeing a one-sided amicus brief from former legislators and SEC officials. The brief was filed in the Halliburton securities fraud case arising from allegedly inadequate asbestos disclosures. Scotusblog has the brief, and hat tip to LAW360 for flagging its filing. The brief focuses on telling a story of things that did not happen, and the significance, they say, of what did not happen.

In our nation’s age of heightened partisan bickering and rampant lobbying cash, a cynic might say this is an example of using the revolving door as a way to create a new cottage industry of reinterpreting and reinventing legislative history (instead of citing to the boring old US Code Congressional & Administrative News. An amicus brief of this sort also lets lets the favored side reduce or avoid the topic in its merits brief.

The former officials include ex-SEC Chairman Christopher Cox, former U.S. Sen. Alfonse M. D’Amato, R-N.Y, and former U.S. Reps. Thomas J. Bliley Jr., R-Va., Michael G. Oxley, R-Ohio, and Billy J. Tauzin II, R-La. The brief also includes four former aides to committees chaired by the noted legislators.

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