Ex-Rep. Wilson to Retire From Lobbying Business

Posted March 8, 2005 at 6:33pm

Former Rep. Charlie Wilson (D-Texas), who runs his own lucrative lobbying practice, has decided to call it quits and move home to Texas.

“It’s hard to say exactly when, but it’ll be sometime in April,” said Wilson, who turns 72 in June and hopes that a quieter, more sedate existence will ease a blood-pressure condition.

His book of business includes the government of Pakistan, which last year paid Wilson Associates $390,000; defense companies Lockheed Martin Corp. and Agusta Westland; and Kenyon International.

Wilson won’t leave his clients high and dry, though, he said.

“I’m working full-time in March. Most of my clients have got something going on,” he said. He is also helping them find new representation.

Personally, he’s not taking this transition easily.

“I’m just such a part of Washington, I’m like the girl who can’t say no, so I think I’m just gonna have to get to a small-town environment and lay back and watch the birds,” he said.

Wilson took a seat in Congress representing an East Texas district in January 1973 and served for 12 terms.

Arguably, his greatest notoriety came after his retirement, with the publication in 2003 of “Charlie Wilson’s War: The Extraordinary Story of the Largest Covert Operation in History,” a book by journalist George Crile that detailed his efforts to help arm the anti-Soviet mujahedin in Afghanistan. The project succeeded in ousting the Soviet military but now is blamed, more than a decade later, for contributing to the rise of Islamic terrorism against the United States.

Wilson and his wife have a contract on a house in Texas and have a buyer lined up for their home here. “I am going to miss everything about Washington,” he said.

— Kate Ackley