Sean Duffy heads to K Street after resigning from Congress

By Theodoric Meyer

Sean Duffy, the former Republican congressman who has aggressively defended President Donald Trump, is heading to K Street after resigning from Congress in September.

Duffy will become a senior counsel at BGR Group, a Republican-leaning lobbying firm that’s also home to former Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour. The firm’s lobbyists represent corporate clients such as Comcast and Pfizer, as well as the governments of Bahrain, Bangladesh, India and South Korea, according to disclosure filings.

Duffy, the former chairman of the House Financial Services Committee’s housing subcommittee, will head up BGR’s financial services practice. BGR lobbies for Credit Suisse and MassMutual, among other financial clients. He plans to register as a lobbyist, according to the firm.

The Wisconsin Republican became famous starring on the MTV reality series “The Real World” in 1997. He later became a district attorney in northern Wisconsin and was elected to Congress in 2010 as part of the Republican wave. He left office on Sept. 23, saying that he and his wife were expecting a child in October who “will need even more love, time and attention due to complications, including a heart condition.”

After resigning, he joined CNN as a paid contributor, where he attracted criticism last month for suggesting there’s a missing Democratic National Committee server in Ukraine — an unsubstantiated conspiracy theory that’s been pushed by Trump.

He also questioned on CNN’s “New Day” whether Alexander Vindman, a decorated Army officer and National Security Council staffer who’s become a critical witness in the House impeachment inquiry, might be more sympathetic to Ukrainian interests than American ones.

“It seems very clear that he is incredibly concerned about Ukrainian defense,” Duffy said, referring to Vindman, who immigrated from Ukraine as a child. “I don’t know that he’s concerned about American policy.”

Jeffrey Toobin, CNN’s chief legal analyst, described Duffy’s remarks as “insanity and, frankly, anti-immigrant bigotry.” Rebecca Kutler, a CNN executive, defended Duffy’s remarks at the time, saying that it was important to have contributors who reflected Trump supporters’ point of view.

Under House ethics rules, Duffy is banned from lobbying Congress for a year after leaving, but he’s allowed to lobby the Trump administration immediately — including former House colleagues such as Mick Mulvaney, the acting White House chief of staff, and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

In a statement, Duffy said he was “eager to grow a financial services practice built on my experience working on behalf of the people with the Administration and federal regulators” as well as Republican and Democrats in Congress. He plans to advise financial services companies, trade associations and their members, he said.

Duffy didn’t start discussions with BGR until after he resigned, according to the firm.