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Tue Sep 30 06:53:22 MDT 2003
NY Times, September 30, 2003
Washington Insiders' New Firm Consults on Contracts in Iraq
By DOUGLAS JEHL
WASHINGTON, Sept. 29 — A group of businessmen linked by their close ties
to President Bush, his family and his administration have set up a
consulting firm to advise companies that want to do business in Iraq,
including those seeking pieces of taxpayer-financed reconstruction projects.
The firm, New Bridge Strategies, is headed by Joe M. Allbaugh, Mr.
Bush's campaign manager in 2000 and the director of the Federal
Emergency Management Agency until March. Other directors include Edward
M. Rogers Jr., vice chairman, and Lanny Griffith, lobbyists who were
assistants to the first President George Bush and now have close ties to
the White House.
At a time when the administration seeks Congressional approval for $20.3
billion to rebuild Iraq, part of an $87 billion package for military and
other spending in Iraq and Afghanistan, the company's Web site, www
.newbridgestrategies.com, says, "The opportunities evolving in Iraq
today are of such an unprecedented nature and scope that no other
existing firm has the necessary skills and experience to be effective
both in Washington, D.C., and on the ground in Iraq."
The site calls attention to the links between the company's directors
and the two Bush administrations by noting, for example, that Mr.
Allbaugh, the chairman, was "chief of staff to then-Gov. Bush of Texas
and was the national campaign manager for the Bush-Cheney 2000
The president of the company, John Howland, said in a telephone
interview that it did not intend to seek any United States government
contracts itself, but might be a middleman to advise other companies
that seek taxpayer-financed business. The main focus, Mr. Howland said,
would be to advise companies that seek opportunities in the private
sector in Iraq, including licenses to market products there. The
existence of the company was first reported in The Hill, a Congressional
Mr. Howland said the company was not trying to promote its political
connections. He said that although Mr. Allbaugh, for example, had spent
most of his career "in the political arena, there's a lot of
cross-pollination between that world and the one that exists in Iraq today."
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