Republican’s New Top Commerce Committee Lawyer Is Agriculture Expert

December 21, 2007
Republicans on the House Commerce Committee—which includes the Telecommunications Subcommittee—have appointed a new top lawyer. But if his past accomplishments are any indication, he comes to the job knowing a lot more about farms than about television policy.

Rep. Joe Barton (R-Texas), the committee’s top Republican, named Lance W. Kotschwar to be general counsel for the committee’s minority side.

“Lance knows the law, knows the House and knows how committees run, and I’m confident that he will be an effective and highly successful general counsel to the most important committee in Congress,” Barton said.

Kotschwar knows an awful lot about how the House and Senate Agriculture Committees run.

He was general counsel to the Senate Agriculture Committee (2003-05), chief counsel for the House Agriculture Committee (1999-2003) and on the general counsel staff at the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

The native Nebraskan and two-time Cornhusker (undergraduate and law degrees) has left his mark on such landmark legislation as the Food Quality Protection Act of 1996, the Commodity Futures Modernization Act of 2000, the Plant Protection Act of 2000; the Animal Health Protection Act, and the last two farm bills.

More recently, at the law firm of Foley & Lardner, his practice has focused on food, agriculture, energy, and derivatives issues.

Kotschwar succeeds David Cavicke, who was promoted by Barton as the Republican committee chief of staff.

The House Commerce Committee has five subcommittees: Commerce, Trade, and Consumer Protection; Energy and Air Quality; Telecommunications and the Internet; Environment and Hazardous Materials; Health; and Oversight and Investigations. Each panel has its own Democratic and Republican lawyers.

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