Pundit and lobbyist Michelle Laxalt gave an impassioned defense of then-Sen. Pete Domenici on CNN in 2007, saying he was a man of "integrity" who was "supporting no fewer than eight children." That curiously inexact reference to the number of his kids makes sense now that Domenici has admitted to secretly fathering a son with Laxalt in the 1980s.
Domenici admitted on Tuesday that Adam Paul Laxalt, a lawyer in Nevada, is actually his son. Michelle Laxalt is the daughter of former Sen. Paul Laxalt, and her family connections served her quite well. She was named one of the top 50 lobbyists in D.C. by the Washingtonian in 1993 and 1998. But she had a clear rule: No lobbying dad. ''The first thing I do is make it clear to clients that I will not lobby my father at any time," Laxalt told U.S. News & World Report on November 26, 1984. "I write a clause that specifies this — so they'll know I'm not kidding." We don't know what the rules were about lobbying her son's dad, though Domenici sat on some pretty important committees: Appropriations, Energy, Homeland Security. Laxalt and Domenici were rarely mentioned in news reports going back to the 1980s, according to a Lexis Nexis scan. Politico describes her as "one of the most prominent and effective government relations practitioners in the nation's capital." In the last decade, she's frequently appeared as a conservative pundit on all three major cable news channels, like here in 2008, when she talked about GOP concerns over Sarah Palin on CNN.