US law firm Brownstein Hyatt quits RNC’s January 6 trial

Pro-Trump protesters storm the US Capitol in clashes with police, during a rally to challenge the certification of the 2020 US presidential election results by the US Congress, in Washington, USA, January 6, 2021. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton/File Photo

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  • The partner of the firm leaves the firm to continue representing RNC
  • Lawsuit seeks to block House subpoena to Salesforce seeking RNC records
  • DC federal court hearing on Friday

(Reuters) – U.S. lobbying heavyweight Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck on Tuesday stepped down from representing the Republican National Committee in a closely watched legal challenge against Salesforce.com Inc and the congressional panel investigating the January 6, 2021 attack against the US Capitol.

Two associates of the firm had represented the RNC in Washington, DC, in federal court challenging a subpoena the House Select Committee had issued to Salesforce seeking information about the RNC. Salesforce, also a defendant, is an enterprise software and data analytics company that the RNC uses to house and organize campaign and donor information.

One of the attorneys, Christopher Murray, moved to Arizona-based Statecraft PLLC on Tuesday and will continue to represent the RNC there. An automated response email from his Brownstein account said he was on leave from the company, where he has worked for more than seven years. Murray’s online biography at Brownstein was down Tuesday night.

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The other partner, Julian Ellis Jr, retired from defending the organization but remained affiliated with Brownstein.

It’s unclear what prompted Brownstein to walk away from the case about three weeks after it was filed.

Brownstein’s managing partners in Denver, where Murray was based, and in Washington, did not return messages seeking comment. Statecraft managing partner Kory Langhofer, a former attorney in Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential race, did not return a message seeking comment.

Brownstein had lobbied in 2020 and last year for San Francisco-based Salesforce. But the law firm ended the work in October, according to US lobbying records.

Brownstein is one of Washington, DC’s perennial leaders for federal lobbying revenue. The firm brought in more than $55.6 million for federal influence work last year, according to the nonprofit Open Secrets.

A Salesforce attorney declined to comment on Wednesday, and a company representative did not immediately return a message seeking comment.

Murray did not respond to messages from his Statecraft and Brownstein email accounts, and he did not return a call. An RNC lawyer involved in the case also did not return messages seeking comment.

Murray is a Hogan Lovells alum and former president of the Lincoln Club of Colorado, which bills itself as the state’s “original Republican club”.

The RNC sued the House panel on March 9, claiming its subpoena to Salesforce was a “fishing expedition” that would “chill the RNC and the First Amendment rights of its supporters.”

A judge is due to hear the dispute at a hearing on Friday.

The House Select Committee, formed in July, issued dozens of subpoenas and interviewed more than 500 witnesses.

The case is Republican National Committee v. Pelosi, US District Court for the District of Columbia, No. 1:22-cv-00659.

For the RNC: Christopher Murray of Statecraft

For Home: Letter from Douglas

For Salesforce: Marc Zwillinger of ZwillGen

Read more:

Republican National Committee sues Jan. 6 panel for vendor subpoena

US House panel hits pro-Trump lawyers with subpoenas for US Capitol riot

Brownstein, Akin vie for top spot in lobby amid DC spending push

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