Sunday, January 15, 2006

cronyism n : favoritism shown to friends and associates (as by appointing them to positions without regard for their qualifications)

Less than three months after registering as a lobbyist, former Attorney General John Ashcroft has banked at least $269,000 from just four clients and appears to be developing a practice centered on firms that want to capitalize on a government demand for homeland security technology that boomed under sometimes controversial policies he promoted while in office.

Three clients of Ashcroft’s lobbying firm want his help in selling data or software with homeland security applications, according to government filings. A fourth, Israel Aircraft Industries International, is competing with Chicago’s Boeing Co. to sell the government of South Korea a billion-dollar airborne early warning system.

While Ashcroft’s lobbying is within government rules for former officials, it is nonetheless a departure from the practice of attorneys general for at least the last 30 years. While others have counseled corporate clients or perhaps even lobbied in a specific case as part of law firm business, Ashcroft is the first in recent memory to open a lobbying firm.

And the totals that Ashcroft has reported so far represent in some cases only initial retainers or billings.

And The Beat Goes On

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