Political Insider

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Saxby Chambliss' new gig backing embattled Equifax

WASHINGTON -- Former U.S. Sen. Saxby Chambliss' appearances on Capitol Hill this week landed him on the front page of virtually every American newspaper.

The Georgia Republican wasn't testifying before his angry former colleagues for a misdeed he himself committed, but was offering support someone who was: retired Equifax CEO Rick Smith.

Smith was grilled by four House and Senate committees over the last three days about the Atlanta credit bureau's activities before and after the data breach that exposed the sensitive personal information of more than 145 million people. At all of those hearings, Chambliss could be seen just over Smith's shoulder, sitting calmly as members vented at the former executive (he retired last week) and counseling Smith as the committees took breaks.

Chambliss has worked at the mega law firm DLA Piper since his retirement from the Senate at the end of 2014. And the firm -- which itself was hacked earlier this year -- was recently hired by Equifax to help out following the breach, according to the National Law Journal.

Neither Chambliss nor DLA Piper returned requests for comment.

Equifax and Chambliss are not new acquaintances. The Republican was the top recipient of the company's political donations in 2008, the last time he ran for reelection.

Chambliss has made both formal and more low-key trips back to his old Washington stopping grounds on occasion since his retirement, but this week's hearings constitute a new level of visibility for the longtime Moultrie resident. Plus, they'll give him some colorful new photos for his scrapbook:

Read more of our Equifax coverage: Five lessons learned following Congress’ Equifax hearings

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About the Author

Tamar Hallerman is The Atlanta Journal-Constitution's Washington correspondent, covering Congress, federal agencies and other government activities that impact Georgia.