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Valley Perspective | VALLEY PERSPECTIVE INTERVIEW

James E. Rogan

With a New PAC, a New Job and More, Former Congressman's Plate Is Full

March 11, 2001|BOB RECTOR | Bob Rector is opinion editor for the San Fernando Valley and Ventura County editions of The Times

It was a scant four months ago that James E. Rogan, congressman, impeachment prosecutor and all-around prominent Republican, exited stage right.

Defeated by Democrat Adam Schiff in the most expensive House election battle in history, he left his Burbank-Glendale-Pasadena district and returned to Washington where, he quipped, "You'll probably find me in the streets in a couple of months with a sign that says, 'Will interview for food.' "

Instead, his plate is full.

He has been hired as a partner in a Washington law firm. There is movement underway to have him considered for a presidential appointment as director of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. He has become involved in a political action committee that will bankroll Republican candidates. And, not surprisingly, he has not ruled out running for elected office again someday.

The Times recently talked to Rogan about his post-congressional life and his plans for the future.

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Question: Tell us about your new job. You'll be working in Washington?

Answer: I am staying here for the short term. One of the things that I liked about the firm was the fact that the first day I went in and talked to them, they told me they were interested in opening a California office, and they asked if, down the road, I would consider doing that. And I just jumped at the chance. That's a real priority for Chris [his wife, Christine Rogan] and me, to come back home. We're both native Californians. We have no family here. The only reason I didn't come right home after the election and start interviewing is because my daughters are in school. So for me, after having just gone through the political equivalent of World War III, I would have had to immediately say goodbye to Chris and the girls for another two months to come back home and just keep interviewing. So I found the best of both worlds. I found a firm that will hire me now and, when I'm ready, and when the firm is ready, let me move on back to California.

Q: Will you be involved in lobbying?

A: Legally, I can't lobby for a year. Down the road certainly, I may do some government relations work. But I'm going to work in intellectual property areas, trade, commerce, telecommunications, energy. Those are all the areas that my Congressional committee assignments were in, and this is a firm that has a fairly substantial shop in all of those areas. And I'll do some consulting on the side. I've also been maintaining a fairly busy speaking schedule. I'm doing some writing. I may do some daily radio commentaries. So there's more than enough for me to keep busy.

Q: What about the new political action committee you're involved with?

A: We actually started the Patriot PAC in January, but we did a formal kickoff for it at the recent state Republican convention in Sacramento. The purpose for me in doing this is twofold. One, I want to remain active in the political scene because it's what I love. I found that right after the election, when one loses a race, everybody just assumes that one is simply looking for a place to go run the next time. And I don't want to do that. I don't think that's necessarily a productive thing for a candidate who's been unsuccessful to do. I found that something I read by President Richard Nixon years ago is true. He was giving some advice to a prospective presidential candidate. And he said to learn everything you absolutely can before you announce. Because the day you announce, there's no more time to learn. You spend all of your time being reactive. And it's really true. These last six years of my life, I've been able to put in maybe 10% of the time that I would like to have to really delving into the issues from an in-depth perspective. And having time for reflective thought. There's just no time for that when one represents an extremely competitive district. I've really enjoyed these last couple of months because, when I read the newspaper now, it's because I want to and not because I have to. I'm not rushing through it just trying to absorb as much as I can with a few moments of review. I have a chance to think a little bit more about the debate and just approach things from a different pace.

Q: That's an interesting commentary on governing.

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