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Lobbyist's Nomination To DC Water Board Raises Questions

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The nomination of a top lobbyist to the city's water and sewer authority board of directors has been put on hold after questions were raised about possible conflicts of interest. 

Any way you measure it — the number of clients, the compensation, or the sheer council influence — few Wilson Building lobbyists rival Rod Woodson of the law firm Holland and Knight. But Woodson's prolific lobbying record appears to be hindering, at least temporarily, his appointment to the board of directors of DC Water.

The holdup seems based on Woodson's work with two clients. One of them is Skanska, a Swedish construction company that was awarded an $83 million contract to build a tunnel for the DC Water and Sewer Authority. Woodson says he lobbied for the company for just one day and it is not a regular client.

The second item in question is Woodson's lobbying for a group that represents area builders and contractors. In particular, labor unions say they're concerned about Woodson's work opposing the city's First Source law, which mandates companies with city contracts hire a certain number of district residents. 

Woodson argues the disagreement over First Source shouldn't derail his nomination.

"We have a policy difference with regard to First Source, but that does not mean I have been opposed to the objectives of workforce development and bringing District residents into the workforce," Woodson says. 

Woodson's nomination will face a vote by the D.C. Council next month.

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