Dana Perino lobbying for aviation fuel firms in probe
If the oil business is as rough-and-tumble as they say, then the two aviation-fuel companies at the center of a controversy over contracts at a U.S. airbase in Central Asia could have done far worse than to hire Dana Perino as a lobbyist.
But anyone who watched her defend George W. Bush day after day knows she’s got a solid right upper-cut.
And she’ll need it. Perino has just signed on as a lobbyist for Red Star Enterprises and Mina Corp., two closely related companies who hold classified, sole-source, $1.4 billion contracts with the Defense Department to supply aviation fuel to the Manas base in Kyrgyzstan and the Bagram airbase in Afghanistan.
Without a reliable supply of fuel to both, the U.S.-led war in Afghanistan would falter.
Congressional investigators are exploring whether Mina Corp.’s business dealings with the ruling families in the last two U.S.-backed governments in Kyrgyzstan played a role in triggering popular uprisings against corruption.
In April, Rep. John Tierney (D-Mass.), chairman of a House Oversight subcommittee, held a hearing on the contracts, saying, “Two overthrows of the government there have been linked to corrupt dealings at Manas airbase. That’s what we’re looking into.”
Enter Perino, just the latest Republican heavyweight to enlist in the defense of Red Star and Mina Corp. (You can read about the others here.)
“As Congress turned up the heat on Mina and Red Star in July,” noted Seth Hettena, the former Associated Press writer who first reported Perino’s hire on his blog Monday, “the firms retained several Washington powerhouse lobbying, public affairs and law firms.”
One of them, he discovered, was Hamilton Place Strategies LLC , run by Perino’s ex-White House colleagues William Griffin and Tony Fratto, who landed the Red Star-Mina Corp. contract July 12, records show.
When Hettena, who wrote a book about the downfall of Rep. Randall “Duke” Cunningham, looked up Hamilton’s congressional disclosure form, he discovered Perino had joined the firm to represent Red Star-Mina Corp. in the matters of a “Congressional Investigation” and “Department of Defense Contracts.”
| July 27, 2010; 6:00 AM ET
Categories: Financial/business, Foreign policy, Lawandcourts
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