Rudy “Stepping Back” From Texas Law-Firm Connection

We've been keen to follow Rudolph Giuliani's connections to the powerful Texas firm of Bracewell & Giuliani, which puts him (and presumably his presidential campaign) in the room with lots of Texas Republicans with money to spend.

The firm spent a lot to make Giuliani a senior partner, and Giuliani & Partners a member, of their firm (a 2005 article in Newsday put it at $10 million for Giuliani & Partners, netting between $1 and $1.5 million for Mr. Giuliani) citing his "love of the law" as one of the reasons they took him on and added his name to their brass plate.

But as we predicted, the connection has made a bit of trouble for the presidential hopeful:

 

In recent months, the political spotlight trained on Bracewell has become increasingly uncomfortable for Giuliani, the firm and its clients. Recent articles have scrutinized the firm's work for energy companies like Venezuela-owned Citgo Petroleum Corp., forcing Giuiliani to explain his firm's connections to Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez. The firm has also had to defend its work for companies accused of fighting environmental regulation. In addition, Bracewell has had to concern itself with Federal Election Commission rules that would penalize Giuliani and the firm if his compensation is considered a campaign contribution.

And the ever-candid managing partner, Patrick Oxford, is not shy about saying that politics played its part:

Shortly before this article went to press, Oxford disclosed that Giuliani would soon be "stepping back" from Bracewell. "As he becomes more involved in his campaign, public appearances on behalf of the firm can be misunderstood," Oxford said. He added that Giuliani's status as a partner would not change, but that he would reduce his appearances for the firm and would be less involved in Bracewell's New York strategy. This move was prompted in part, said Oxford, by an effort to spare the firm and its clients more campaign scrutiny, or, as Oxford calls the attention, "cavity searches."

Bracewell's New York strategy, by the way, was a big part of their reason for joining up with Rudy in the first place. Here's Mr. Oxford speaking to The Observer in February:

"I attribute a huge degree of the success of our New York office generally to him, and there are a lot of clients involved with that. You get momentum going,” said Mr. Oxford. He said the office lost $3 million less than the firm expected it would last year, and this year will turn a profit.