Here are some popular hires by the Butler Snow firm:
- Let's start with former Governor Haley Barbour. Moments after leaving office, this issuer of ill-conceived pardons, was employed by the firm.
- Haley was kind enough to bring his former chief of staff, Paul Hurst, along with him. There, Haley and Hurst began using their eight years of executive influence to build a client list and to deploy their abilities for their new employer.
- Newly-sworn-in Governor Bryant then got in on the action by having his daughter join the ranks of Butler Snow employees.
- Even Senator Wicker's daughter, Caroline Wicker Sims, works for the firm where her duties include lobbying her father on behalf of Butler Snow's clients. Her husband, Kirk Sims, is transitioning from his position as Governor Bryant's chief of staff to head up Sen. Cochran's re-election campaign. Perhaps the McDaniel campaign will raise concerns that Cochran's campaign is bought and paid for by "special interest" money. We shall see.
- Recently, policy adviser Tray Hairston left Governor Bryant's office to take a job with Butler Snow.
- Rebekah Staples left her position as a policy adviser with Lt. Governor Tate Reeves to lobby her former boss for Butler Snow.
- Amanda Tollison, of Butler Snow, is the wife of state Sen. Gray Tollison (R-Oxford) and former adviser to Governor Barbour.
- Heather Ladner, former legal counsel to Governor Barbour also found herself at Butler Snow.
- Lobbying pro Sidney Allen, Jr., who was a lobbyist for Comcast, now lobbies the state legislature for Butler Snow and donated $1,000 to Bryant in 2012.
- Tommie Cardin, of Butler Snow, appointed to the Charter School board by Reeves
- Mark Garriga (who donated $1,000 to Bryant in 2012) and John Harral (who also donated $1,000 to Bryant in 2012, of Butler Snow, were appointed to the Judicial Appointments Advisory Committee by Bryant.
- Ryan Beckett, of Butler Snow, appointed as Chairman of the Tort Claims Board by Bryant
- Wilson Montjoy, of Butler Snow, appointed to Gov.-elect Bryant's transition team on energy policy
Butler Snow even sealed the deal to help draw legislative redistricting lines in 2012. These same folks who have worked for Barbour, Bryant, and Reeves were in the driver's seat to pilot a redistricting plans to favor their friends for the next ten years. As the saying goes, there's no crying in redistricting, but let's be sure to check the source in this instance.
The 2014 Legislative session is three weeks away. As bills make their way through the Capitol, a popular question asked is "Who is asking for this bill?" Given what we have seen through these pay-to-play schemes, the answer in some instances will be known rather quickly. It also suggests that Butler Snow is willing to pay top dollar for access, whether to personnel or to serve on boards through which they will change and implement policy.
The revolving door between Butler Snow and Mississippi's Republican leadership does not seem to be slowing down anytime soon.