Andrus Joins Gallatin Group Former Governor Joins Several Former Aides In Firm That Handles ‘Strategic Planning’ For Clients
Recently retired Idaho Gov. Cecil Andrus hung out his shingle as a government relations expert Tuesday, joining several of his former aides at The Gallatin Group.
“I have made it clear that while I have retired from elective politics, I am not retiring from life or from the issues in which I have always had an interest,” Andrus said in a news release about the move. Efforts to reach him for comment were unsuccessful.
The job will be part-time. Andrus has joined the boards of directors of Albertsons grocery stores and NuWest Industries, a phosphate fertilizer maker. He also plans to launch the Andrus Center for Public Policy at Boise State University. In addition to plans to spend more time fishing and upland game bird hunting, Andrus has said he may write a political memoir.
The Gallatin Group, with offices in Boise, Spokane, Seattle and Portland, was founded by the late Larry Meierotto after running Andrus’ 1986 re-election campaign and organizing his administration.
Chances are, Andrus won’t have much trouble remembering the phone number. It’s 336-1986, the Andrus for Idaho campaign office number that Meierotto transferred to the business.
Past clients of the firm have included Spokane developer Don Barbieri; Imsamet, the aluminum can recycler based in Hauser; the Idaho Housing Agency and EG&G;, a nuclear research contractor at the Idaho National Engineering Laboratory.
Andrus “will be available to the members of the firm as well as clients on a caseby-case basis when the issue is appropriate and he has expertise and interest,” said Marc Johnson, a spokesman for the firm.
Johnson was press aide and, later, chief of staff for Andrus before he joined The Gallatin Group last fall.
“Our firm focuses, frankly, on strategic planning in the public affairs and issuesmanagement area,” Johnson said. “A lot of folks in the business and association world have issues in which they need strategic advice.”
Johnson said Andrus is not likely to work in opposition to positions he took as governor.
Other political insiders in the firm include: James Goller, a longtime aide to former U.S. Sen. Jim McClure, R-Idaho, and Chris Carlson, a former Kaiser Aluminum government relations staffer who began his career as press secretary during Andrus’ first two terms as governor and during his tenure as U.S. Secretary of the Interior.
Andrus is not the only former government official now peddling his expertise.
Former Republican U.S. Senators Jim McClure and Steve Symms are Washington, D.C., lobbyists.
Idaho Republican Party chairman Randy Smith said he finds no ethical problem with Andrus’ new job, but that it makes him uncomfortable.
“I would have hoped that as a senior and respected governor that he would have retired and gone out of the political scene,” Smith said. “I don’t know that there’s anything unethical about it, but I probably would not have done it.”