Dick Gephardt's got juice. All the former House Majority Leader has to do is to pick up the phone and dial Secretary of State Hillary Clinton if he wants to talk turkey about his lobbying client -- the Government of Turkey.
The former St. Louis congressman talked twice with Clinton in April and March about U.S.-Turkey relations, and chatted once with Vice President Joe Biden to boot, according to the federal lobbying activity report of the Gephardt Group.
Other worthies such as Defense Secretary Robert Gates, National Security Adviser James Jones and Special Representative to Afghanistan and Pakistan Richard Holbrooke found time to shoot the breeze on the phone with Gephardt.
Newbie Democratic Congressmen Gerry Connolly (Virginia) and Mike McMahon (this blogger's Brooklyn Representative) put out the red carpet for the once Democratic Presidential candidate. Gephardt also swung by Capitol Hill with Turkey's ambassador for a meet and greet with Gerry and Mike.
When not doing outreach to Congress, Gephardt attends a monthly strategy session with the ambassador, while his deputies, Catherine Goode and Michael Messmer, contact any Democrat with a pulse about the importance of good relations with Turkey.
The Turks compensate Gephardt Group well for its effort. The firm received more than $406,000 in fees for the first four months of the year from Turkey, its only foreign client.
Gephardt Group is also active on the home front. Coal giant Peabody Energy was the firm's most lucrative client during the first-half of '09, kicking in $300K in fees. More big spenders were Boeing ($220K), Waste Management ($160K), FutureGen Industrial Alliance ($180K), Goldman Sachs ($150K), Visa ($80K), U.S. Chamber of Commerce ($50K) and GE/NBC Universal ($40K).
Gephardt, a former St. Louis precinct captain, has done very well for himself since leaving Congress in 2004.