Shane Goldmacher is a former reporter for Capitol Weekly. He is a graduate of UC Berkeley, where he served as editor of the Berkeley Political Review.

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  • 1A: 76.9-23.1
    1B: 61.3-38.7
    1C: 57.4-42.6
    1D: 56.6-43.4
    1E: 64-36
    83: 70.6-29.4
    84: 53.7-46.3
    85: 45.9-54.1
    86: 48-52
    87: 45.2-54.8
    88: 23-77
    89: 25.5-74.5
    90: 47.6-52.4

    U.S. Sen.
    Feinstein 59.7
    Mountjoy 34.9
    Schwarzenegger 55.8
    Angelides 39.2
    Lt. Gov
    Garamendi 49.5
    McClintock 44.9
    Atty. Gen.
    Brown 56.7
    Poochigian 37.9
    Sec. of state
    Bowen 48.5
    McPherson 44.7
    Lockyer 54.8
    Parrish 37
    Chiang 50.9
    Strickland 40.1
    Insur. Comm.
    Poizner 50.7
    Bustamante 38.9

    For complete election results click here.

    Angelides 48.2
    Westly 43.1
    Lt. Gov
    Garamendi 42.9
    Speier 39.3
    Figueroa 17.8
    Atty. Gen.
    Brown 63.2
    Delgadillo 36.8
    Sec. of state
    Bowen 61.1
    Ortiz 38.9
    Parrish 56.4
    Richman 43.6
    Democratic primary
    Chiang 53.4
    Dunn 46.6
    Republican primary
    Strickland 40.9
    Maldonado 36.9
    Insur. Comm.
    Bustamante 70.5
    Kraft 29.5
    Supt. of Schools
    O'Connell 52.5, avoids run-off

    For complete election results click here.

    73: 47.4-52.6
    74: 45-55
    75: 46.6-53.4
    76: 38-62
    77: 40.5-59.5
    78: 41.5-58.5
    79: 38.9-61.1
    80: 34.3-65.7

    For complete election results click here.

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    Thursday, January 19, 2006

    Abramoff's former firm sets up shop in Sacramento

    The following first appeared in Capitol Weekly

    The former lobbying firm of Jack Abramoff, the Washington insider who recently pleaded guilty to multiple felony charges of fraud, bribery and tax evasion, is coming to Sacramento.

    Greenberg Traurig, which severed ties with Abramoff in early 2004, has merged with Livingston & Mattesich, the Sacramento-based government affairs firm that counts State Farm Insurance Companies, Novartis Pharmaceuticals, and Miller Brewing Co. among its biggest clients.

    Gene Livingston, who founded his 15-person Sacramento government-lobbying firm Livingston & Mattesich in 1982, and was named one of 10 most "powerful lawyer-lobbyists in Sacramento" in 1998, says his merger with Greenberg Traurig was a "business decision." The move transforms the powerful Sacramento firm into a company with tremendous resources. Greenberg Traurig is comprised of some 1,400 lawyers, 17 corporate offices, and hundreds of "clients that do business in California."

    But the timing of the Ambramoff scandal and the joining of companies could
    hardly be described as ideal for business.

    He assures his clients that, "Livingston & Mattesich had an impeccable reputation for integrity and we are still the same people." He quickly notes that he has not lost any business as a result of the merger.

    Livingston & Mattesich officially joined Greenberg Traurig last October, but filings on January 12th with the secretary of state's office officially shifted clients from the old firm to the new. But many of the clients have personal relationships with lobbyists at the old firm, who will continue to handle accounts after the merger.

    "Some clients have asked for additional information about the firm's role with Abramoff," says Livingston.

    One of the biggest among those clients, State Farm Insurance Companies, voiced confidence in Livingston's new firm.

    "We have had a longstanding relationship with Livingston & Mattesich and have developed a close bond with them and our interest is with the people and not the name of the firm," says Bill Sirola a spokesman, State Farm Insurance Companies, saying the company had no intent to change lobbyists.

    This is not the first inroad Greenberg Traurig has made in California. The firm already operates offices in Orange County, Los Angeles and Silicon Valley. Now they will add the state's eleventh largest lobbying firm to the list, according to total billings filled last session.

    In the days following Abramoff's plea bargain with federal prosecutors, sixty-five different members of the 109th Congress--and President Bush--all rushed to return tainted donations from Abramoff to charity. Their giving totaled some $420,000.

    Greenberg Traurig has worked especially hard to distance itself from the man who helped put the firm on the political map.

    Following Abramoff's plea, the company issued a terse statement: "Almost two years ago, Jack Abramoff revealed to the firm conduct we found unacceptable. The firm demanded and obtained Mr. Abramoff's immediate resignation. This week's developments validate that action."

    After cutting Abramoff loose in early 2004, they hired an internal investigator to delve into their former employee's affairs. Company executives cooperated with prosecutors, negotiated settlements with Abramoff victims, and even earned the praise of Sen. John McCain, R-Arizona, for assisting in the overall investigation.

    Abramoff's recent plea agreement goes so far as to cast the firm as an oblivious victim of their former employee's fraudulent schemes, not a knowing accomplice.

    Still, the long shadow of what has become the biggest bribery scandal in Washington in decades continues to surround the firm.

    Founded in 1967, the firm has been politically active for decades. Greenberg Traurig lawyers represented George W. Bush in the weeks following the controversial 2000 election-- which was prior to Abramoff's arrival. But it was Abramoff, who joined Greenberg Traurig in 2000, who was the "rainmaker" who helped the firm's lobbying receipts skyrocket from 35th to third among D.C. lobbying firms, according to the National Journal. He claimed close relationships with much of the congressional leadership, particularly with then-Majority Leader Tom DeLay, and the White House, leveraging those relationships for clients.

    And though the company has won kudos from some of Abramoff's strongest Congressional critics, at least one lawsuit, filed by the Lousiana Coushattas, an Indian gaming tribe, is still pending against the firm. The firm also has connections to CaIifornia Republican Congressman John Doolittle. Doolittle's former chief of staff once worked for Abramoff and reportedly served as an intermediary in the hiring of Doolittle's wife's firm, Sierra Dominion Financial Solutions Inc., by Greenberg Traurig. Julie Doolittle's firm received a subpoena last year from the grand jury investigating Abramoff.

    Doolittle's spokespeople have repeatedly denied any wrongdoing, or any connection between the hiring of his wife and his duties as a congressman. Doolittle is one of only a few members of Congress who has refused to return any Abramoff donations, saying through representatives that doing so would only give the appearance of wrongdoing.

    Back in Sacramento, Livingston isn't expecting the Abramoff scandal to quietly scandal to quietly whither away.

    "I think that Abramoff is going to be in the news until the November elections," he says.

    But he is taking it all in stride.

    And yes, Livingston admits, "there have been a few jokes made by fellow lobbyists here in Sacramento."

    You can find this story here

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