India-West Reports on Akin Gump’s Pro Bono Confirmation Fight for U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy
India-West has reported on Akin Gump’s successful pro bono efforts to help secure the confirmation of Dr. Vivek Murthy as U.S. surgeon general. Upon his confirmation, Dr. Murthy became the highest-ranked Indian-American ever in the U.S. federal government.
In the article “Lobbying Effort Was Key to Vivek Murthy’s Confirmation,” public law and policy partner Ed Pagano spoke about the process undertaken by the Akin Gump team to push for the confirmation of the “highly qualified” Murthy. Along with fellow partners Anurag Varma, also of the public law and policy practice, and Prakash Mehta, co-head of the investment management practice, the three arranged meetings for Murthy and prepped him for discussions with members of the Senate and their staff, highlighting his qualifications and education.
Varma said seeking the assistance of the Indian-American community was extremely important and was modeled after [Varma’s prior firm’s] successful outreach to the same constituency in 2007-2008 during the struggle to pass the India-U.S. nuclear agreement. Varma notes that the American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin was particularly quick to lend its support for Murthy.
Varma added that Akin Gump’s strategy “was ultimately successful in large part due to our ability to leverage our strong ties to business, organizations and individuals throughout the Indian American community, who really came together in support of [Murthy’s] nomination. This is really a watershed moment for Indian Americans, and we could not be more proud of the result.”
When asked about the growing political clout of Indian-Americans nationwide, Pagano noted that the confirmation last year of Judge Sri Srinivasan to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit was a key turning point. Murthy’s confirmation, he added, “was the next step” and proof of the “coming of age of the political power” of the group.