Friday, January 27, 2006

Corruption Chronicles: Gov. MoFo and Texas' own K Street project

Already blogged here, and also by Kuff and Eye on WC and others, and Paul Kiel pushes even more of the pieces together:

The more you learn about the Texas lobby boondoggle (this is where the state's federal relations office was gutted in order to hire K-Street-Project-approved private lobbyists such as DeLay's former Chief of Staff), the more ludicrous the narrative becomes.

The Texas Office of State-Federal Relations (OSFR) has existed since the 60's, and its purpose is clear from the title. According to the website, it's there in Washington to "advocate for the interests of Texas." Simple. You might even say that they're there to lobby the federal government on behalf of Texas. ...

... Members of the OSFR staff quietly went over the bids and selected the Federalist Group's Drew Maloney, who had been Tom DeLay's Chief of Staff until March of `02. The Federalist Group is literally an all Republican firm.

The Governor and his minions at OSFR snuck this past the Democrats, the press, everyone.


Gov. Perry is responsible for this, on whose orders you can probably guess (hint: back in 2003, the Houston Chronicle had an anonymous source who claimed that a certain Majority Leader was responsible). It was clearly his initiative. The Governor appointed Perez to his post, and Perez serves at his pleasure. The idea that a career bureaucrat would come up with this on his own, offering to deeply cut his own staff - from 17 to 7, more than half - is ludicrous.


Everyone seemed happy with this arrangement until early 2004, when Sen. Hutchison and Gov. Perry clashed over the issue of base closings. Perry made a big show of supporting the Pentagon's draft guidelines; Hutchison came out against. At the same time, Hutchison was reportedly mulling over running against Perry for the Governorship.

Then, in February, the Governor began to publicly worry whether Piper Rudnick had a "conflict of interest" in representing Texas, since the firm was reportedly in negotiations with Florida to lobby to preserve their bases.

Now, there is an inherent conflict of interest when a private lobbyist, with a full slate of corporate clients, is paid with state taxpayer dollars to lobby for federal dollars. So this is obviously a phony line of argument. And the Federalist Group has a host of other governmental clients (cities, counties, university systems, etc.) that the Governor has never had any problem with.

No matter: the contract with Piper Rudnick was abruptly severed in the spring of '04. Another round of bidding ensued, and Todd Boulanger, former member of Team Abramoff, won the contract, despite the fact that his bid wasn't the best, as if that was the point.

The excerpts above simply don't do justice to the research done by Kiel. You must read the entire thing to get the true sense of the breathtaking cronyism that has snaked its way throughout our state government.

Kiel says he's got more to come, but I've already read all I can stand.

No comments: