Ex-FEMA Official Aids New Orleans

By Judy Sarasohn
Thursday, June 29, 2006

Washington is a great place for second acts -- and third and fourth acts, too.

To wit: Daniel Craig was director of the Recovery Division at the Federal Emergency Management Agency and, while he may not have been in the Michael Brown category, he was one of the political appointees last year who came under criticism for lack of disaster-preparedness experience. Before FEMA, Craig worked for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association.

After leaving FEMA last year, Craig, who is not a lawyer, joined the D.C. office of Florida-based law firm Akerman Senterfitt and working with the firm's newly pulled-together Disaster Preparedness and Recovery Practice Group.

He's also leading the firm's team working for New Orleans, an agreement just inked to help the city's recovery efforts from Hurricane Katrina. Along with lobbying the Hill on the city's needs, the Akerman team will advise New Orleans officials on hurricane preparedness for this season and on long-term recovery and reimbursement strategies.

Also on the team: Jim Schumann , former director of emergency preparedness and response at the Department of Homeland Security's Office of Legislative Affairs.

Richard Spees , managing partner of Akerman's D.C. office, noted that Craig is barred from lobbying his former colleagues at FEMA for a year under federal ethics rules; Schumann was not senior enough to be covered by the ban.

"It's an interesting practice, but it's one that's unfortunate," Spees said. "We can do a lot of good for people."

Craig was traveling and could not be reached for comment yesterday. He told Influence.biz last month that he's proud of his time at FEMA. He resigned from FEMA a week before Katrina hit, though Spees said he was asked to stay longer.

Spees acknowledges the questions that may be out there about Craig's time at FEMA, and says the firm talked about it when considering him. In the end, Spees said, the firm decided that Craig, knowing FEMA's ins and outs, would be "a real asset."

"He's a very talented guy," Spees said. "We'll have to see how it plays out."

Introducing the Fritts Group

Did anyone really believe the voluble Eddie Fritts would fade away after retiring last year as president of the National Association of Broadcasters?

Although his consulting contract with the NAB has expired, Fritts is up and about, lobbying the Hill and collecting clients.

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