UPDATE: Former Gov. Blunt to work at Washington lobbying firm

Tuesday, February 3, 2009 | 2:12 p.m. CST; updated 6:43 p.m. CST, Tuesday, February 3, 2009

JEFFERSON CITY — Former Missouri Gov. Matt Blunt started a third job Tuesday — this time at a Washington, D.C., lobbying firm.

Blunt, whose term as governor ended in January, now is working as a senior policy adviser and business development consultant for Cassidy & Associates.

The former Republican governor already is an adviser for a suburban Boston private equity firm led by a son of unsuccessful GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney. Blunt is also a member of the board of directors for Copart, an auto salvage company in Fairfield, Calif.

Cassidy & Associates clients have included real estate, cosmetics and casino industries. It's a bipartisan firm whose chief executive officer is former U.S. Rep. Marty Russo, D-Ill. The chief operating officer is Gregg Hartley, the former chief of staff to U.S. Rep. Roy Blunt, who is Matt Blunt's father.

Among the firm's former employees is Jared Craighead, who subsequently served as a policy adviser in Blunt's office and then as executive director of the Missouri Republican Party during Blunt's tenure.

Also working at the firm is Roy Temple, a critic of Matt Blunt's gubernatorial administration and a former aide to the late Democratic Gov. Mel Carnahan and former U.S. Sen. Jean Carnahan.

Russo said in a written statement Tuesday that Blunt has been bipartisan and demonstrated "result-oriented and practical leadership."

"Governor Blunt's advice and counsel will certainly help our clients successfully manage their Washington risk as they adapt to the changing economic environment and the response on the federal, state and local levels," Russo said.

A spokesman for the firm said that Blunt has not registered as a lobbyist but would if future projects demand it. Spokesman Tom Alexander said Blunt will start by advising clients and will split time between Missouri and Washington.

A spokesman for the former governor had no immediate comment Tuesday.

Blunt, in January 2008, suddenly announced that he would not seek re-election. The decision gave Missouri Republicans less than a year to prepare for a race against Democrat Jay Nixon, who was campaigning during nearly all four years of Blunt's term. After a contentious GOP primary, Nixon easily won the election in November.

Blunt graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1993 and served in the military before he was elected to the Missouri House in 1998. He served one term and then was elected secretary of state in 2000. Blunt became governor in January 2005.


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