Hastert now ‘senior adviser’ to DC lobbying firm

By Dennis Conrad

WASHINGTON – Dennis Hastert’s receptionist still answers his office telephone, “Speaker Hastert.”

But the former Illinois lawmaker, whose eight-year tenure as Speaker of the House was the longest of any Republican, is on a new career path less than a year after retiring from Congress, where he lost his leadership title when Democrats won control.

The 66-year-old has taken the position of “senior adviser” to the law and lobbying firm of Dickstein Shapiro LP, where he has worked for the past month as a member of its public policy and law practice unit.

Federal law bars Hastert from lobbying for a for a year after his retirement last November.

In announcing Hastert’s hiring, Dickstein partner L. Andrew Zausner noted that, as Speaker, Hastert was second in the line of succession to the president and said he offers unparalleled insight into the workings of U.S. government.

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“His counsel is invaluable,” said Zausner, who did not comment on Hastert’s salary.

Hastert was out of his Washington office Wednesday and wasn’t immediately available for comment, his receptionist said.

Founded in 1953, Dickstein has about 800 employees, including 400 attorneys, and a list of clients that includes more than a hundred Fortune 500 companies and, according to its Web site, “government officials in high-profile investigations.”

Since Hastert’s hiring, some of his former conservative supporters expressed dismay at his joining a firm whose Web site touts a diversified workplace in which “gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender individuals enjoy an atmosphere of inclusion and respect,” enrich the firm and enhance its service.

As one of his last House votes, Hastert opposed a proposed federal ban on job discrimination against gays, lesbians and bisexuals that aimed to protect them from employer decisions based on sexual orientation.

Earlier this year, Hastert, who lives in rural Kendall County, south of Chicago, also began work as a consultant and strategic adviser for The Goeken Group Corp., a lighting technology and health care information development company in nearby Naperville, Ill.

The former Speaker is not the first Hastert to join a lobbying firm. Eldest son Joshua became a Capitol Hill lobbyist, representing such companies as Lockheed Martin Corp. and Google Inc. after his father became House speaker in 2001.