Thursday, June 22, 2006

For Defense Contractor, It Pays To Have Friends (Formerly) In High Places

Former U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft's lobbying firm has been hired by General Dynamics to represent it on "trade and defense issues," O'Dwyer's PR Daily reports in its June 15 edition.

Check out the team Ashcroft's firm, The Ashcroft Group, has built to represent the defense contractor:

-- Juleanna Glover Weiss, Vice President Dick Cheney's former press secretary

-- Lori Day Sharp, former director of intergovernmental affairs under Ashcroft at the Justice Department

-- Willie Gaynor, a former Commerce Department official who was western finance director for the 2004 Bush campaign

-- Susan Richmond, former chief of staff for management at the Department of Homeland Security

General Dynamics has hardly been hurting for business from the Bush Administration. The Washington Times reported June 13 that "the steady stream of orders from the U.S. Army -- which now total about 25 percent of the company's sales -- provides a solid base that will continue for years." The defense contractor's net sales have more than doubled since 2000 to $21.24 billion last year.

But it hired Ashcroft because, as one industry analyst noted: "You want someone who knows the inner workings of homeland security because it's such a tangled mess."

There's a tangled mess of companies lobbying government for contracts related to homeland security, too. The number grew by nearly 600 percent from 2001 to 2004, according to the Center for Public Integrity, a nonpartisan watchdog group.

***

A growing number of people -- liberals and conservatives -- have criticized the "revolving door," in which Ashcroft, various former Senators and House members and a wide variety of administration and congressional staffers have left government jobs to become lobbyists.

Ashcroft, who set up his lobbying firm last September, is at the center of that criticism, with some saying that for the nation's chief law enforcement officer to move to K Street was as undignified as it was unusual. Ashcroft is the first former attorney general to become a registered lobbyist.

Danielle Brian, executive director of the Project on Government Oversight, told the New York Times that because Ashcroft had worked only in government, "he cannot claim to have any business expertise."

"What is he selling, other than connections and knowledge of how to game the system from being attorney general?" Brian asked.

Consider this: After helping prosecute executives at Enron and WorldCom, Ashcroft now says he can counsel similar troubled companies to avoid similar fates -- to be "someone who can take threatening circumstances and neutralize them."

No wonder he needs so many former Bush Administration officials at his side.

14 Comments:

Anonymous partylessinOhio said...

Ashcroft has experience clothing statues. That ought to be helpful.

12:05 PM  
Anonymous NYC said...

And we paid for that.

I hope the statue has been permanently uncovered. I don't remember what happened to it after he left.

12:05 PM  
Anonymous NYC said...

There's nothing trivial about it.

There's a revolving door between government and profiteers. That sort of thing used to be seen as a conflict of interests. Now, it is standard procedure.

They act to enrich themselves, the country be damned.

12:06 PM  
Anonymous partylessinOhio said...

drapes were removed after 3 1/2 years.

12:06 PM  
Anonymous NYC said...

Well, that's good. That was a ridiculous waste of money.

...Paul Corts, the assistant attorney general for administration, recommended the drapes be removed and Gonzales signed off on it, spokesman Kevin Madden said, while refusing to allow The Associated Press to photograph the statues Friday...

70 year old statues, and suddenly they were risque.

12:06 PM  
Anonymous Strawman said...

Thought maybe he was taking up a musical career
"Let the Eagle Soar...."


..ok, I didn't really think that.

12:07 PM  
Anonymous stellanoir said...

Wow maybe now YOU TOO can have a future making a fortune off neutralizing corporate criminals. WooHoo !!!

Then again, there's that little karmic woh.

Never mind.

12:07 PM  
Anonymous xchrom said...

the job he was heading for all along. imagine the details the former ag is pouring into that company.

12:08 PM  
Anonymous Auntie Bush said...

Using Brownie's tactics that companies should hire him now because he has first hand knowledge of how government relief can be screwed up and now knows how to prevent it. Bull crap!

12:08 PM  
Anonymous cynatnite said...

Basically, he can help get them off

That's how I read it.

12:09 PM  
Anonymous ixion said...

exactly.. because he has 'access', that's it.

12:09 PM  
Anonymous izzie said...

Another Christian showing his true colors. Just think we may have all the crooks in the country together now.

12:09 PM  
Anonymous GloriaSmith said...

sad. he had such a promising career as a statue fashion designer clothing one statue boob at a time.

12:10 PM  
Anonymous leeroysphits said...

Ashcroft will drape a blue curtain of secrecy over the breast of corruption.

1:27 PM  

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