Louis Proyect lnp3 at
Tue Sep 30 06:53:22 MDT 2003

NY Times, September 30, 2003

Washington Insiders' New Firm Consults on Contracts in Iraq

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, 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 
presidential campaign."

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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