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Astronauts Turn to Lobbying

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By Judy Sarasohn
Thursday, August 25, 2005

It seemed like a natural fit: pairing a company that manufactures space shuttle booster rockets with astronauts. That is just what ATK Thiokol Inc. has done.

According to their lobby registrations, retired astronauts Daniel Barry , Franklin Chang-Diaz , Thomas Jones , retired Marine Maj. Gen. Charles Bolden , retired Navy Capt. Daniel Bursch and retired Air Force Col. John Blaha willhelp ATK Thiokol "with an education campaign on the design considerations of the next generation NASA launch vehicles, in particular the shuttle-derived concepts through visits with members of Congress and other key decision makers."

"They, more than most experts, have a clear understanding of the need for safety and simplicity in our vehicles and propulsion systems," Mike Bender, an ATK-Washington Operations official, said in an e-mail response to questions about the lobby registrations.

Also working on this and other ATK Thiokol efforts are the Livingston Group , including former House member Robert Livingston (R-La.), and Dittus Communications .

Bolden and Barry said they were happy to help when asked by Scott Horowitz, a former shuttle commander who is now an official of ATK Thiokol.

Bolden said it was easy to support the company and its rockets because "we lived it. It is systems we know and feel comfortable with."

Barry noted that the astronaut-lobbyists were in the business of educating, and "weren't asking anybody for anything."

Life After the Senate

John Breaux, who retired from Congress at the first of the year,said, "I wanted to leave the Senate when I still had an opportunity for another career."

And the Louisiana Democrat is not having any trouble finding opportunities. After hooking up with the Patton Boggs law firm as senior counsel and taking on posts with the Clinton Group hedge fund management firm and the Riverstone Holdings private equity fund, Breaux still had some time left over.

Now he's joined Kissinger McLarty Associates ' board of counselors. Kissinger McLarty, lead by former secretary of state Henry A. Kissinger and former White House chief of staff Thomas F. McLarty III , counsels corporations on strategic planning, corporate communication, political and economic risk issues and more.

While he's restricted from lobbying for a year -- and the folks at Kissinger McLarty don't actually lobby -- Breaux said he'll advise clients on energy projects and give them "a sense of what's happening in Congress and what's not happening."

When his year ban is up, Breaux may lobby for Patton Boggs clients. "I don't have any problems with lobbying. I like the interchange," he said.

Former Clinton Aides Form Group

Two former Clinton National Security Council types plan to showcase their experience at a firm of their own: Miles Lackey and Mara Rudman have formed Quorum Strategies , an international strategic consulting firm.

Lackey was a special assistant to the president for national security affairs and was senior director for legislative affairs at the NSC. He was a key aide to John Edwards (D-N.C.) in the Senate and his presidential campaign, and then moved to the Kerry-Edwards campaign.

Rudman was deputy assistant to the president for national security affairs and senior director for legislative affairs at the NSC. More recently, she was at the Cohen Group and at the left-leaning Center for American Progress, where she continues to be affiliated.

Lackey said they'll be doing risk and political climate assessments and strategic consulting. Lobbying will depend on client demand, he said. One of their first clients is the International Commission on Holocaust Era Insurance Claims.

Frost Won't Go to University Women

Retired Maj. Gen. Kathryn Frost will not be taking over the American Association of University Women as executive director as planned, because of "unanticipated health reasons."

The interim executive director is Michele Wetherald , a past president of the AAUW Legal Advocacy Fund.


© 2005 The Washington Post Company

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