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March 07, 2010

Behind the Big Political Books

The Washington Post has a must-read profile of Washington, D.C. super lawyer and book agent Robert Barnett.

"To list Barnett as a signifier of Washington connectedness is like calling the sun a symbol of heat. This is good for his clients, who pay him $975 an hour, but Barnett's virtual monopoly on the specialty of helping public figures cash in -- on power memoirs, on private-sector jobs -- invests in one man a remarkable degree of influence across the political spectrum. The yearning to profit after a career in politics is an age-old Washington instinct, but the rise of Barnett's one-stop shop is a story not widely known."

Clients with recent books sold by Barnett: Henry Paulson, Sarah Palin, the late Edward M. Kennedy and Karl Rove. Clients with forthcoming books: George W. Bush, Laura Bush, Dick Cheney, Donald M. Rumsfeld, Tony Blair.

"Hiring Barnett is such a predictable Washington move that when Scott Brown, the new Massachusetts junior senator, recently contacted Barnett about a book, the publishers had beat him to it: They predicted Brown would shop a book, thought he would hire Barnett -- so they skipped directly to the lawyer."


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