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SEIU doubles fourth-quarter lobbying

Tuesday, March 30, 2010; A20

LABOR

SEIU lobbying up in fourth quarter

The Service Employees International Union spent $683,371 lobbying the federal government in the fourth quarter on issues such as health care, labor laws and immigration.

That's up from the nearly $353,531 in the year-ago period, but down from the nearly $791,228 it spent in the third quarter of 2009.

The District-based SEIU -- which has 2.2 million members, among them health-care workers and public employees -- lobbied on issues including the health-care overhaul legislation that President Obama signed into law last week.

The SEIU also lobbied the House and the Senate on issues such as labor law, immigration, banking reform, elections and clean energy, according to a report filed March 4 with the House clerk's office. The union also lobbied both houses of Congress and the Department of Homeland Security on security policy.

-- Associated Press

REGULATORS
AT&T and Verizon object to FCC move

AT&T and Verizon Wireless faulted federal regulators for restricting the airwave leases that the two companies can negotiate with a wholesaler of wireless Internet service.

The Federal Communications Commission on Friday approved Harbinger Capital Partners Funds' acquisition of SkyTerra Communications, a Reston provider of mobile satellite services that plans to sell access to broadband network operators. But the FCC required SkyTerra to seek approval before leasing services to the "the largest or second-largest wireless provider," a condition Harbinger had proposed. Verizon Wireless is the biggest wireless company, followed by AT&T.

"The commission is setting a very disturbing precedent," James Cicconi, AT&T's senior executive vice president for external and legislative affairs, said in an e-mailed statement. "This action is manifestly unwise and potentially unlawful."

-- Bloomberg News

Mergers & Acquisitions

Blackboard closes deal for N.C. firm

District-based Blackboard Inc. announced Monday that it has completed the acquisition of privately held Saf-T-Net, a company that provides messaging and mass-notification services used in schools.

The local education technology firm paid approximately $33 million in cash for the Raleigh, N.C.-based company. Saf-T-Net employs about 65 people and has more than 2,000 schools as clients. Blackboard said the combined operations should expand the company's opportunities and allow for savings.

-- Mike Musgrove

Hospitality

DiamondRock wins new terms on debt

DiamondRock Hospitality of Bethesda amended certain parts of its debt secured by a resort in the Virgin Islands, the real estate investment trust said Monday.

The deal waives penalty interest and provides an extension of the limited-recourse mortgage loan secured by Frenchman's Reef and Morning Star Marriott Beach Resort.

Meanwhile, DiamondRock will prefund some construction projects in an escrow account and pay its lender a $150,000 modification fee.

First-quarter results will reverse a $3.1 million penalty interest that accrued last year.

DiamondRock owns 20 hotels, with 9,600 rooms.

-- Associated Press

Contracting

SAIC to provide IT services to Army

Defense contractor Science Applications International Corp. of McLean said Monday that it received a contract to provide planning and management services to a U.S. Army office that provides information technology support throughout the Military Health System.

The contract has a one-year base period and four possible one-year extensions; in total, the deal would be worth $22 million.

-- Associated Press

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