Friday, July 13, 2007

Nethercutt: The Idaho connections


By ANDY STINY
Express Staff Writer

The lobbying connections, associates and former associates of George Nethercutt Jr., hired by Ketchum for help on the Bavarian Village condos affordable workforce housing effort, extend to Idaho and Idaho politicians.

Andrew Lundquist, 48, is a principal with Nethercutt and at least two others in the Washington D.C.-based BlueWater Strategies, LLC. Lundquist is also on the board of directors of Coeur d' Alene Mines. Former Idaho Gov. and former U.S. Department of Interior Secretary Cecil Andrus was previously on that board, the company said.

Coeur d' Alene Mines is one of the world's leading silver producers and a growing gold producer with national and international interests.

Lundquist went from writing energy policy for Vice President Dick Cheney's energy task force to lobbying for energy companies, according to an April 2004 Washington Post story, and was paid more than $300,000 in 2003 by clients who included British Petroleum, Kennecott Energy Co., and Japan's Toshiba Corp.

Coeur d' Alene paid BlueWater "approximately $120,000 in connection with government relations consulting services relating to our Kensington gold production project in Alaska," according to Coeur d' Alene Mines' U.S. Security and Exchange Commission filings.

In another Idaho connection, Steven Griles—recently sentenced to prison after being convicted of lying to a Senate committee, and formerly partners with Lundquist and Nethercutt in the now dissolved company of Lundquist, Nethercutt and Griles—received support from Idaho Gov. Butch Otter.

Griles pleaded guilty in a case spun out of the Jack Abramoff lobbying scandal in which Abramoff called Griles "our guy" at the Interior Department, the Los Angeles Times reported last month. Griles was the No. 2 man under former Interior Secretary Gale Norton.

A letter from Otter was one of 91 to the court asking for leniency for Griles before his sentencing. The two went horseback riding together in Idaho and Washington, D.C.

"We shared many trails, and I have come to recognize that he is a genuine man who is proud of his service to the nation," said Otter's letter, according to several published accounts. Norton also supported Griles in a letter, the Times reported.




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