Short-Term Senator Strange Returns to Washington to Help Banks

(Bloomberg) -- Former U.S. Senator Luther Strange, who lost a Republican primary race in Alabama last year despite the backing of President Donald Trump, is returning to Washington to advise financial firms.

Strange is joining Patomak Global Partners, a regulatory consulting firm with close ties to the Trump administration. The ex-prosecutor spent a year in the Senate after he was appointed to the seat vacated when Jeff Sessions became U.S. attorney general.

Patomak, where Strange will be a senior adviser, helps asset managers, brokerages and other companies navigate the thicket of regulations that have grown since the financial crisis. The firm was founded by Paul Atkins, a Republican member of the Securities and Exchange Commission from 2002 to 2008.

“Paul’s firm is unique and is a perfect complement for what I want to do post-politics,” Strange said in an interview this week. “This is a great combination of compliance and legal work, and it all boils down to solving problems.”

Atkins said he expects Strange will be a major contributor to the firm’s enforcement and litigation work, which includes independent monitoring of settlement agreements in cases brought by the Justice Department, the SEC, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission and state regulators.

Before his quick turn in the Senate, Strange was twice elected as Alabama’s attorney general. While in that job, he took a leading role in the massive legal fight stemming from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.

“There are so many senators that who get ‘Potomac fever,’ and they stay here and join a lobbying firm,” said Atkins.

Strange will be doing a job that “is real work, versus smiling and dialing,” Atkins added. “That is a testament to Luther.”

Strange, 65, said he plans to split his time between Washington and Birmingham, Alabama, where he’s opened his own law firm.

The special election to fill Sessions’ seat gained widespread attention when Trump endorsed Strange while his former political strategist Steve Bannon backed outspoken conservative Roy Moore. After Moore won the primary race, the president deleted several Tweets about Strange and announced that he’d support Moore.

Moore ultimately lost the election to Democrat Doug Jones in December after allegations arose that he had sexually assaulted teenage girls. The defeat prompted Trump to reconsider the situation again.

“The reason I originally endorsed Luther Strange (and his numbers went up mightily), is that I said Roy Moore will not be able to win the General Election,” Trump said on Twitter. “I was right!”

In the interview this week, Strange said that while the campaign was “an experience in itself,” he “really did have a great year” in the Senate.

“It was nice to develop a personal relationship with the president,” Strange added. “He was nice to me.”

©2018 Bloomberg L.P.