By Frank James
Pretend you ran a Washington lobbying shop and you had two corporate clients and that representing both presented the appearance of a conflict of interest.
One was becoming ever more politically radioactive because of questions about how it managed safety issues raised about its products. The other company actually raised some of the safety questions about those products.
Which company would you sever ties with, the headache or the whistleblower?
If you said the company in trouble, you'd be choosing to part ways with the same company big-time Washington lobbying and communications firm Quinn Gillespie & Associates decided to stop representing. It's ending its relationship with Toyota Motor Corp. while maintaining its ties to State Farm Insurance.
According to the Associated Press:
J. David Hoppe, president of Quinn Gillespie & Associates, said the firm learned another client "was in a position adverse to Toyota" and stopped representing Toyota Friday.
Hoppe would not identify the other client. An auto industry official, speaking on condition of anonymity to reveal confidential information, said the other client was State Farm, the country's largest auto insurer.
State Farm has said it told federal regulators in 2007 about reports of unexpected acceleration in Toyotas - one reason the company has recalled vehicles.
You know it's bad when your lobbyist fires you.