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Former FEMA head and Halliburton lobbyist visits Louisiana for deals
8 Sept. 2005

WASHINGTON, Sept. 8 (HalliburtonWatch.org) -- The former head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), Joseph Allbaugh, now a lobbyist for Halliburton, is in Louisiana helping his clients obtain disaster relief contracts, the Washington Post reported today.

But Allbaugh insisted he's not in Louisiana seeking contracts for clients.

"I don't do government contracts," he told the Post from Louisiana. Instead, he says he's "just trying to lend my shoulder to the wheel, trying to coordinate some private-sector support that the government always asks for."

But that's not the same thing as seeking government contracts for clients, says Allbaugh.

“The first thing he says when he sits down with a client is, ‘Don’t hire me if you’re looking for a government contract,’” an Allbaugh spokesperson defensively told The Hill newspaper today.

With all the public outrage over Halliburton's contracts, it's not surprising that Allbaugh would distance himself from the word "contract" even though he's involved in helping clients obtain government contracts in Louisiana, Iraq and elsewhere.

Even Republicans on Capitol Hill are feeling a bit disgusted. “I think there are some laws that have to be changed, especially [when contracting] in emergency situations and the like," Rep. Tom Davis (R-VA), chairman of the House Committee on Government Reform, told the Hill.

In a further play on words, Allbaugh and Halliburton say Allbaugh is a "consultant," not a lobbyist for Kellogg Brown & Root (KBR). But see his KBR lobby registration form here.

A Halliburton spokesperson said KBR "hired Joe Allbaugh in February 2005 as a consultant to provide strategy support to its Government and Infrastructure business. Since that time, Mr. Allbaugh has not consulted on any specific contracts that the company is considering pursuing, nor has he been tasked by the company with any lobbying responsibilities."

After leaving FEMA in March 2003, Allbaugh, who managed the 2000 Bush-Cheney campaign, founded Allbaugh Company, a lobbying firm with many clients in the disaster-relief business. President Clinton's former FEMA director had also formed his own lobbying firm for disaster relief.

The creation of the Homeland Security Department has created another big industry for lobbyists: disaster relief. The Post reported there are roughly 240 businesses and lobbyists seeking to influence contracting and policies related to disaster relief. "Few of them, however, have Allbaugh's experience or can advertise their close connections to Bush," reported the Post.

In addition to Allbaugh Company, Allbaugh in 2003 was a founder of New Bridge Strategies, which helps companies acquire contracts in Iraq, and Diligence-Iraq, a firm that provides security for civilians in the Middle East.

More Information:

Slate: Joe Allbaugh, Disaster Pimp