Stonebridge International, the "global strategy firm" founded by Clinton administration national security adviser Samuel R. "Sandy" Berger, has taken on an interesting client, Gulfsands Petroleum Ltd., a private Houston-based oil and gas company.
Gulfsands, along with its larger partner Devon Energy Corp. of Oklahoma City, has oil and gas exploration and development interests in Syria. And now Gulfsands is looking to Iraq.
"Stonebridge is assisting Gulfsands in organizing meetings in Washington with administration officials to discuss the company's business interests in Iraq and U.S. policy toward Syria," Stonebridge Vice Chairman H.P. Goldfield said in an e-mail response to written questions. The lobby registration was filed with Congress by Goldfield and colleague Joy Drucker.
Goldfield, who served in senior jobs in the Reagan administration, said Gulfsands "is conducting business development activities in Iraq" but "is not pursuing any U.S. funded contracts in Iraq." Its discussions with the government of Iraq are confidential for now, Goldfield said.
"Our proposed energy project will be privately funded and will have significant economic and environmental benefits to the people of Iraq. The project would create thousands of jobs for Iraqi citizens and would introduce more environmentally beneficial technologies into Iraq's development of its oil and gas sector," Goldfield said.
Berger is not involved with the work for Gulfsands, Goldfield said.
Halliburton Costs Up: Inside and Outside
Halliburton Co. and its KBR Government Operations subsidiary have had a busy year on the Hill dealing with allegations about overcharges on contracts to feed the troops and import fuel into Iraq. Talking to lawmakers and members of the administration usually means there's lobbying going on -- and that costs money.
PoliticalMoneyLine, which tracks lobbying and campaign money, pounced on Halliburton's mid-year lobby filing, which reports that the company spent $250,000 for the lobbying of their employees for the first six months of 2004. This is an increase for the previous three years, for which Halliburton reported spending $150,000 for the same period of each of those years.
Halliburton, whose former chief executive is Vice President Cheney, reported spending a total of $300,000 on its employees' lobbying in each of 2001, 2002 and 2003; so it appears to be on track for spending even more for all of 2004.
Of course, it's not known yet whether it will top its spending for 2000 or 1999, when it reported $600,000 in each of those years.
The in-house lobbyists included in the 2004 report are retired Army Lt. Gen. Charles E. Dominy, vice president for government affairs; Donald A. Deline, a former counsel to the Senate Armed Services Committee; Barbara Jones; and George P. Sigalos, director of government relations for KBR and a former press aide to Rep. Philip M. Crane (R-Ill.).
But wait. That's not all that Halliburton spent on lobbying. KBR paid outside lobbyists at Covington & Burling $520,000 for the first six months of 2004.
The Covington law firm's team, which has been helping respond to "inquiries concerning company's construction and service contracts in Iraq," included Roderick A. DeArment, who was chief of staff to then-Senate majority leader Robert J. Dole (R-Kan.); Martin B. Gold, former counsel to Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn.); Stuart E. Eizenstat, U.S. ambassador to the European Union during the Clinton administration; Alan A. Pemberton, coordinator of the firm's government contracts practice; David M. Marchick, who served in various posts in the Clinton administration; Jack L. Schenendorf; Peter Flanagan; Jennifer Plitsch; and Benjamin J. Razi.
"The company recently increased its lobbying efforts with greater attention focused on KBR's government contracting business. It would be inappropriate to speculate regarding details or circumstances of future lobbying efforts," said Cathy Gist, a Halliburton spokeswoman.
Tony Bullock, former director of communications for D.C. Mayor Anthony A. Williams, and earlier chief of staff to the late Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan (D-N.Y.), has joined Ogilvy Public Relations Worldwide as executive vice president of public affairs.
John Iani has spun through the revolving door, leaving his post as regional administrator for the Environmental Protection Agency in Washington state, Idaho, Oregon and Alaska, and joining the law firm of Van Ness Feldman as a partner. He will work out of its D.C. and Seattle offices. Born and raised in Alaska, Iani was an executive of UniSea Inc., a seafood company, and was an aide to then-senator Frank H. Murkowski (R), now the governor of Alaska, and worked for Rep. Don Young (R-Alaska).
Duane R. Gibson, a solo lobbyist and veteran of the Greenberg Traurig lobby operation, is affiliating with the Livingston Group as a consultant. Gibson earlier was a senior staffer for Rep. Young, who chairs the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, and also worked for Sen. Ted Stevens (R-Alaska).
Christopher Wenk, a Hill veteran, has signed on with the National Association of Manufacturers as director of international trade policy. He has previously worked for the House Small Business Committee and Republican Reps. Steve Chabot (Ohio) and Dave Camp (Mich.).