Feb. 9, 2016 SIGN IN | REGISTER

Earmark Lobbyists Facing Dismal Prospects

Akin, Gump, Strauss, Hauer & Feld’s John Simmons said he is focusing his attention on the fund for clients such as Syracuse, N.Y.-based Defenshield Inc. Defenshield makes mobile safety shields that protect military and police personnel from incoming fire. Simmons brought a funding request to New York lawmakers, but the entire delegation opted against making earmark requests for private companies.

“It’s one of these small procurement items that doesn’t get a lot of visibility, and it’s always helpful when Congress can prime that pump,” Simmons said. “They all had to turn us down, although it is a small veteran-owned business, because it is a for-profit.”

Lobbyists said they are also continuing to try to get a handle on whether clients will be able to compete for the funding. One appropriations lobbyist said there’s a new concern that has come out of the fund — whether companies will meet the small-business parameters to compete for DOD earmarks.

“The worries have shifted to whether they fit [to compete] for this pot of money,” the lobbyist said.

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