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Conflict allegations anger Hatch

WASHINGTON — A top Democrat dragged Scott Hatch, a lobbyist son of Sen. Orrin Hatch, into debates Thursday over the last-minute pardons by former President Clinton.

Rep. Henry Waxman, D-Calif., said that Clinton relatives Hugh Rodham and Roger Clinton — when they sought pardons for friends and clients — did nothing worse than Scott Hatch does as he lobbies on issues involving his father.

Waxman, ranking Democrat on the House Government Reform Committee, said, "Scott Hatch, Sen. Hatch's son, represents entities like the American Tort Reform Association, even though they have extensive interests in Sen. Hatch's own committee."

Waxman said that if Republicans look into lobbying for pardons sought by Rodham and Roger Clinton for money, they should also look into Scott Hatch and other lobbyist relatives of House GOP Whip Tom Delay and Sen. Ted Stevens, R-Alaska.

That infuriated Hatch, R-Utah, and his son. Both said the younger Hatch has never lobbied his father. They said he rarely lobbies anyone else either, and had chosen mostly to do research for his lobbying firm in hopes of avoiding the type of criticism Waxman launched anyway.

"I help develop strategy. I do research and a lot of computer work. I rarely go to the (Capitol) Hill," Scott Hatch, 38, told the Deseret News. He has worked nine years for the lobby firm of Parry, Romano, Deconcini and Simms.

"We haven't even had the American Tort Reform Association as a client since 1996, so I don't know why Waxman said that. I also personally did not represent them," he said.

Sen. Hatch said, "Scott is supersensitive to the possibility he could be criticized because of his relationship to me, almost to the point of being afraid to contact members personally. I told him he should get over it."

Hatch said he "is more than a little upset" at Waxman and added, "I can take it if you attack me. But I get really mad at having my family mistreated. That's where I draw the line." He said he would respond appropriately later to Waxman.

Hatch said he figures Waxman's comments were "a shot across the bow" to him as chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, which has also held hearings on Clinton's pardons. "Henry's a friend of mine. But sometimes he does these purely political things."

Hatch also said that potential lobbying by his son to members of Congress is "vastly different" than Rodham or Roger Clinton trying to use their relationship with former President Clinton to win pardons for which they would be given large sums of money.

The younger Hatch has registered as a lobbyist for several clients that do have direct concern with issues championed by Hatch, even though not the one mentioned by Waxman.

For example, Scott Hatch is registered to lobby for the Schering-Plough drug company. Hatch made headlines in 1999 when he accepted use of that company's airplanes as he ran for president. At the time, the company was pushing his committee to approve extending its exclusive patent on Claritin, the nation's best-selling allergy prescription medication.

Scott Hatch is also listed as a lobbyist, for example, for the National Nutritional Food Association. Sen. Hatch led a fight to prevent food supplements and vitamins from being classified as drugs by the Food and Drug Administration, which would have brought them under tighter control.

Of note, Hatch's main opponent in that fight was one of his former top aides, David Kessler, whom Hatch helped become administrator of the FDA.

Hatch has numerous former aides who are lobbyists on most issues that come before his committee.


E-MAIL: lee@desnews.com