The death of the heir to one of the more famous names in Louisiana politics also comes at a high-water mark for the Washington lobbying culture that Thomas Hale Boggs Jr. exemplified.
Tommy Boggs was the creator of one of Washington’s powerhouse lobbying firms. Having been raised in Washington by two political parents, he was a natural in that environment: His father, Hale Boggs, presumed dead in an Alaska airplane crash, was the majority leader of the House; his mother Lindy went on to a long career in the House and was U.S. ambassador to the Vatican.
In the course of that lifetime, lobbying became one of the great stories in Washington. Boggs pushed for ethical behavior by lobbyists, but the broad reach of lobbyists’ stroke remains distrusted on Main Street. It’s a national issue today.
But if Boggs made his life in Washington, he never forgot his roots in New Orleans and Louisiana. After the 2005 strike of hurricanes Katrina and Rita, and the flooding of the greater New Orleans area, he was one of the Louisiana “ex-pats” whose influence was pressed into service for the emergency aid and recovery assistance that was so vital at that time.
The client list isn’t usually recognized when a lobbyist goes, but the benefit he brought to his home state at a critical time should be gratefully remembered.