It's a Small, Small World

Talk about weird coincidences.

Tom Ingram, who has been the official spokesman for Pilot Corp. during the company's rebate scandal, was the chief of staff for U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander. When he left, he formed a separate lobbying firm in Washington from the Ingram Group, called First Group. He formed it with two other chiefs of staff, including Bob Russell, who was chief of staff for U.S. Sen. Mark Pryor, D-Arkansas.

The settlement hearing for most of the trucking company claims against Pilot was in Little Rock, Ark. The court clerk for the federal judge who presided over the settlement was Amy Russell, the wife of Ingram partner Bob Russell. The settlement hearing was before U.S. District Judge James Moody Sr.

Moody approved the settlement last November.

Amy Russell is hardly a low-level clerk without influence. She was on a list of nominees by Pryor for a federal judgeship of her own last year before Arkansas Democrats objected. Bob Russell helped Pryor vet the candidates for the judgeship and Amy Russell had contributed money to George W. Bush and voted in a Republican primary.

Federal Judge James Moody Sr. retired in March. His son, James Moody Jr., nominated by Pryor, was confirmed as a federal judge three days later.

(The younger Moody replaced U.S. District Court Judge Susan Webber Wright of Whitewater fame. She's the judge that dismissed Paula Jones' sexual harassment suit against President Bill Clinton but then held Clinton in civil contempt for lying during a deposition in the Monica Lewinsky case.)