Texas Two-Step

Posted April 1, 2003 at 6:23pm

With President Bush and House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R) giving the state of Texas a powerful one-two punch in Washington, it would seem unlikely that the state would want for any extra federal funds.

For the first time in several years, however, the state of Texas has decided to hire an outside lobbying group to aid its efforts on Capitol Hill.

Last week, the state inked a deal with the Federalist Group to try to secure more federal dollars for education, transportation and other infrastructure projects, according to people familiar with the deal.

The Federalist Group is led by several former Republican aides, including Drew Maloney, who worked for DeLay; Stewart Hall, a onetime aide to Sen. Richard Shelby (Ala.); and John Green, a former aide to Sen. Trent Lott (Miss.).

The new contact, valued at $15,000 per month, is the first for Texas since it hired a string of firms to represent it during a fight over the massive Supercollider project.

Pushing for AIDS Relief. With Bush pushing a $15 billion emergency plan to deal with the AIDS crisis in Africa, two former Members are lobbying to get the package through Congress.

Former Reps. J.C. Watts (R-Okla.) and Eva Clayton (D-N.C.) will co-chair a newly formed group called the Coalition for AIDS Relief in Africa. The aim of the new 501(c)4 organization is to bring the corporate and nonprofit communities together to secure Congressional support for the president’s plan to battle AIDS in Africa.

“Our goal is to lobby Congress to make sure that the voices who can’t lobby are heard,” said Neel Lattimore, CARA’s director and an official in the Clinton White House.

Lattimore, who is in the process of setting up an office and hiring a full-time staff, said Watts and Clayton are “very committed” to HIV/AIDS relief in Africa.

While CARA was spawned from the Corporate Council on Africa, Lattimore said the two organizations will be operated separately.

Stephen Hayes, president of the Corporate Council on Africa, will serve as president of the new coalition. Mary Kana, Swaziland’s ambassador to the United States who will serve as a vice chairwoman, will represent the interests of African nations in the organization. Julius Coles, president of Africare, will serve as a vice chairman representing nongovernmental organizations.

“The goal is to move as quickly as possible,” Lattimore said, citing a number of sobering statistics. With 11,000 new HIV infections every day in Africa and 6,500 AIDS deaths on the continent each day, Lattimore said the health crisis is only going to worsen in the coming years.

Nervi Belli Pecunia Infinita. More than 2,000 years after speaking out in his orations known as the “Philippics,” the words of the famed Roman Senator Cicero ring true today as coalition forces approach Baghdad: “Endless money forms the sinews of war.”

In hot pursuit of defense dollars, lobbyists on the K Street home front are representing a number of clients — from large defense giants to a small environmental clean-up operation. Here is a sampling of recent defense filings to the Secretary of the Senate and Clerk of the House, culled by PoliticalMoneyLine.com:

American Systems International Corp., the defense lobbying specialist, is representing a number of clients on defense appropriations and authorization, like New York City-based EDO Corp., the defense systems giant; ECSI, a computer simulation developer; Secure Crew Coalition, a group pushing tougher airline security standards and procedures; the environmental clean-up company Edenspace Systems; and Leitner-Wise Rifle Co., a small weapons manufacturer and developer.

Brown & Co. is now lobbying for General Atomics, the San Diego-based defense systems supplier.

RV Davis & Associates has signed on Applied Signal Technology, the Silicon Valley electronic systems company.

Here are some other recent filings of new clients on K Street, according to PoliticalMoneyLine.com:

Science/Technology

Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld is now representing Cernium Inc., the St. Louis-based developer of behavior-recognition software and security systems. The shop is looking to procure government funding for Cernium technology in homeland security applications.

Taxation/Internal Revenue Code

Washington Council Ernst & Young has signed on two clients. It will represent Princeton, N.J.-based RCN Corp. — the nation’s largest fiber-optic network provider of bundled phone, cable and high-speed Internet communications — on general tax and economic stimulus legislative proposals. For Chicago-based AON Corp., Washington Council Ernst & Young will represent the insurance brokerage giant on the treatment of income on fiduciary funds.

Trade

Sandler Travis & Rosenberg, an international firm which specializes in trade and customs issues, has signed on the Egyptian Exporters Association to push for a free trade agreement with Egypt.

Brody Mullins contributed to this report.