Jun 22, 2010

Where the Old VA Secretary Goes to Lobby … Not for Veterans

Just got this from Don Vanzant through Dan Cedusky's veterans' newsletter.

As many of you know, R. James Nicholson, former Secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs (2005-07), fought tooth and nail to deny Blue Water Navy guys benefits from the illnesses caused by the herbicide, Agent Orange (dioxin), among other initiatives that made the VA culture of delay, die and hope you die more like an exclusive religion at the VA.

Turns out Mr. Nicholson is still hard at work in the private sector; but not for veterans.

He's Senior Counsel for a Washington law/lobbying firm.

Nicholson never had a background in veterans advocacy to begin with, but he did work as a real estate developer and a former Republican Party chair.

Almost like Nicholson never cared too much about veterans in the first place, but his firm does meet the "full scope of legal, political and business challenges" of energy companies, for example.

And this February, the National Republican Senatorial Committee Chairman John Cornyn (Texas) announced "Nicholson will serve as a co-chairman of the committee's Majority Makers program for high-dollar donors."

Perfect background for Nicholson's VA tenure in which delivering veterans services was something to be avoided.

From Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck’s Washington, DC office:

R. James Nicholson

Mr. Nicholson is Senior Counsel in Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck’s Washington, DC office. He is a member of the Government Relations, Health Care, and Energy groups. His practice includes counseling clients in public policy, health care, state and federal regulatory law, international relations, real estate, oil & gas, and alternative energy.

Mr. Nicholson served most recently as Secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs, responsible for the second largest department of government with more than 250,000 employees and a budget of $77 billion. Prior to his tenure at the VA, he served as U.S. Ambassador to the Holy See. Pope John Paul II knighted him for his leadership on human rights issues. He was the chairman of the Federal Interagency Council on Homelessness. Mr. Nicholson was a director of New Community Development Corporation and Commissioner of the Defense Advisory Committee on Women in the Services (DACOWITS), both Presidential appointments.

Mr. Nicholson has led an active political life, which includes serving as chairman of the Republican National Committee from 1997-2001. He has worked on a number of political campaigns at every level, from county commissioner to U.S. President. As Chairman of the Republican National Committee, Mr. Nicholson set records for fundraising, and in 2000 presided over winning the Presidency and majorities in the U.S. Senate, the U.S. House, state houses and state legislatures.

In 1978, he established Nicholson Enterprises, Inc., a nationally recognized land development and home building company. Mr. Nicholson served as a commissioner on the Colorado Air Quality Control Commission. He was a director of St. Mary Land and Exploration Company, a director of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Colorado, Inc., and chairman of the board of the Volunteers of America of Colorado. He serves as director of the Horatio Alger Association of Distinguished Americans, Inc.; The Daniels Fund; Federated Funds; and is a fellow of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce

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