Access to Congressman Zach Wamp during his 16 years in office was lucrative for public relations firms who had contracts with Oak Ridge federal contractors, most notably Darrell Akins, who helped Wamp set up his technology summits.
But since he left office after losing a race for governor, Wamp is now opening his own consulting company, and the public relations firms for Oak Ridge will have to share with their former patron. Wamp will be based in Chattanooga and Oak Ridge but will be affiliated with a Washington firm. He is prohibited from lobbying his former colleagues directly for one year, but he made a wide variety of contacts during his 16 years in Washington.
Not only will Oak Ridge PR and lobbying firms have to share pieces of the pie with Wamp, the pie is also expected to be considerably smaller. Without Wamp's seniority and his post on the House Appropriations Committee, other states with national labs may get a larger share of federal projects.