Saheli*: Musings and Observations
Thursday, March 24, 2005
 
Lobbying

Last spring I went on a class field trip to Washington D.C. that was apparently funded through the generosity of one Tom Korologos, Columbia J-School '58, a founding lobbyist of Timmons & Co., and current Ambassador to Belgium. After Seymour Hersh and before the White House, we were treated to a little talk by a lobbyist from Timmons & Co, whose name sadly escapes me. (We were told that then Mr. Korologos himself normally lectured the J-schoolers, but he was busy in Ambassador school. ) The Lobbyist made the case that lobbying was no different than any other first amendment expression, and could be used for the powers of good as well as evil. He tried to tug on our heartstrings by pointing out that Columbia University employs some very large number of lobbyists, but this did not exactly move those of us who had just received our first loan repayment preview statements. Pointing out that the Sierra Club also employs lobbyists was mildy more successful. Honestly, I couldn't come up with a good principle with which to curtail lobbying, but that doesn't mean I have to like it. I appreciated Ambassador Korologos' generosity--goodness knows it was nice to stay in a suite on Pennsylvania Avenue--and I'm sure he'd appreciate my honesty.

I'd like lobbying a lot better if I read more stories about major government figures taking up positions as non profit and public interest lobbyists after they resign from their posts to, uh, spend more time with their families. It would be nice to read that one of the President's closest advisors has a day job protecting trees, for a change. Take a look at the list of Timmons' clients: the only remotely heartwarming one of the bunch is the University of Miami, and I recall The Lobbyist mentioning it emphatically.

All this is prompted by this Washington Examiner article, via the newly-wed Josh Marshall:
Joe Allbaugh, the Oklahoman known for his flat-top haircut and loyalty to President Bush, has a new client: Halliburton, the Houston-based company once led by Vice President Cheney. . . .Allbaugh, a close adviser to Bush during his Texas days, registered to lobby on behalf of Kellogg Brown & Root (KBR), Halliburton's construction and engineering subsidiary. Allbaugh's wife and partner at the Allbaugh Company, Diane Allbaugh, is also listed on the registration, which was filed last week with the Senate Office of Public Records. Allbaugh's close ties to the White House give him contacts throughout the administration, Congress and the private sector. As director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) during the first two years of the Bush administration, Allbaugh was charged with overseeing the federal government's disaster preparedness and relief programs.. . .Prior to joining FEMA, Allbaugh was one of Bush's closest campaign aides. He managed Bush's first run for the Texas governor's mansion in 1994 and later served as Bush's chief of staff in Austin. During the 2000 election, Allbaugh, a former deputy secretary of transportation in Oklahoma and longtime GOP campaign operative, was the national campaign manager for the Bush-Cheney campaign. Allbaugh, along with Karen Hughes and Karl Rove, was part of the triumvirate of Bush's closest advisers. [Emphases mine]
Off the top of my head, the only time I can think of a major Republican figure going on to a career in civil society is Elizabeth Dole heading up the American Red Cross. I would be very happy to collect some more examples. Democrats, at least, also want to become academics.

All this ruling-class incest reminded me of TheyRule.net, the flash-powered visualizer of the connections between corporate directors and institutions. Googling Tom Korologos, for instance, I discovered that his wife Ann McLauglin Korologos is equally entrenched in the halls of power, heading up the RAND Corporation and sitting on the Microsoft Board of Directors. Using TheyRule.net, I see that she also sits on the board of directors of Kellogg's (cereal, not defense technology--I think!), Fannie Mae, Host Marriot, and AMR. As Josh Marshall wrote, for some people it's a small, small world.
 


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Saheli Datta started this when she was a journalism student at Columbia in New York. Now she lives in the Bay Area. *Old people call me R. New people, call me Saheli. Thanks! My homepage. Specifically, my links. Email me: Saheli [AT] Gmail [dot] Com

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