The Lobbyist Who Fights Democracy…and Breast Milk

Sunday, January 02, 2011
Lanny Davis
In a town where lobbyists regularly take on ignominious clients, Lanny J. Davis stands out in Washington, DC. Davis, the attorney who helped defend President Bill Clinton from impeachment, finds himself in the spotlight these days, as the media, advocates and other lobbyists criticize those he’s representing.
Davis’ client list includes coup supporters in Honduras and the dictator of Equatorial Guinea, Teodoro Obiang. He tried to represent Laurent Gbagbo, the strongman of Ivory Coast who lost an election in November, but refused to relinquish the country’s presidency despite the threat of civil war. But Davis decided this week to walk away from his $100,000-a-month contract with Gbagbo after the dictator spurned his advice to talk to President Barack Obama.
Davis’ domestic clientele include for-profit colleges accused of exploiting students and a company that dominates the manufacture of additives for federally-subsidized infant formula. The latter client, Martek Biosciences, has insisted on including fatty acids known as DHA and ARA in infant formula, even though advocates for poor women have questioned the necessity to do so. Davis blitzed the members of Congress with an email that accused opponents of the additives of being “lactivists” who want to force women to breast-feed.
-Noel Brinkerhoff
Lobbyist’s Client List Puts Him on the Defensive (by Ginger Thompson and Eric Lipton, New York Times)


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