- The Washington Times - Sunday, January 25, 2004

ASSOCIATED PRESS

A congressman who wields influence over the government’s relationship with drug and media companies rejected an offer to become Hollywood’s top lobbyist, but hasn’t decided whether to head the pharmaceutical industry’s leading trade organization.

Rep. Billy Tauzin, 12-term Louisiana Republican, decided against replacing 82-year-old Jack Valenti as president of the Motion Picture Association of America, his spokesman, Ken Johnson, said yesterday.

Mr. Tauzin will talk to his family and close friends over the weekend about what to do with his future, Mr. Johnson said.



The MPAA made “a very flattering offer, and it was a difficult decision to say no,” Mr. Johnson said. “Billy has a great reverence for Jack, and they’re great friends as well. At this point in his life he did not feel this is the best fit for him or his family.”

Mr. Tauzin is chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, which oversees the media and telecommunications industries.

Mr. Valenti said in a statement that Mr. Tauzin “was given a very, very generous offer from another enterprise,” according to published reports.

Mr. Tauzin was a key negotiator in creating a prescription drug benefit for Medicare recipients that prohibits the government from using its buying power to drive down drug costs, a measure the pharmaceutical industry supported.

Mr. Johnson denied rumors that Mr. Tauzin has accepted a job with the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, or PhRMA, which represents big drug manufacturers such as Eli Lilly and Co. and Merck & Co.

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