Dellums joins Washington lobbying firm

March 3, 2011 1:01:30 PM PST
Former Oakland Mayor Ron Dellums has joined a Washington, D.C., lobbying firm headed by former Republican congressman and football player J.C. Watts, a spokesman for the firm confirmed Thursday.

Dellums, a lifelong Democrat, served as mayor of Oakland from January 2007 to January of this year.

He represented Oakland and other parts of the East Bay from 1971 to 1998, then worked as a lobbyist for seven years.

Dellums, 75, is listed as the vice chairman of Watts Partners on its website. The chairman is J.C. Watts, who represented Oklahoma's fourth district in Congress from 1995 to 2003. Before being elected to office, Watts was a star quarterback for the University of Oklahoma, then played in the Canadian Football League for five years.

The firm's website says Watts Partners is the largest African American-owned lobbying company in Washington, D.C.

The firm says its client base includes Fortune 500 companies, mid-market and small businesses, professional associations, athletic organizations, colleges and universities, health care providers, foreign governments and nonprofits.

Among the firm's past and current clients are the American Civil Liberties Union, Aetna Insurance, NASCAR, the Black Television News Channel, the Bowl Championship Series, CNN, John Deere, the Republic of Senegal and the U.S. Military Academy.

The company's website has a long biography of Dellums but it doesn't mention his four years as mayor of Oakland or his previous work as a lobbyist.

Instead, it touches on his long tenure in Congress, his two years on the Berkeley City Council more than 40 years ago and his two years in the U.S. Marine Corps.

Dellums' previous work as a lobbyist sparked controversy in the 2006 Oakland mayoral race.

In his filing papers, Dellums listed his occupation as "retired Congressman," but City Council members Ignacio De La Fuente and Nancy Nadel, who were running against him, said it was illegal for him to do so because his most recent work was as a lobbyist.

Dellums eventually changed his filing papers to leave the principal occupation line blank. A spokesman for Dellums admitted that Dellums had made an error in his filing.

Dellums was not immediately available for comment on his new post.


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