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Posted at 6:00 AM ET, 07/27/2010

Dana Perino lobbying for aviation fuel firms in probe

By Jeff Stein

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.

The former Bush White House spokeswoman has been making a lively living tossing darts at Democrats as a Fox News talking head.

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.”

Perino and Hamiliton Place declined to comment for this story. A source close to Perino said she would “not be in-house full-time." Indeed, it would be crowded.

By Jeff Stein  | July 27, 2010; 6:00 AM ET
Categories:  Financial/business, Foreign policy, Lawandcourts  
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I think that it is great that Dana Perino is working on her heartless and uncaring skills. Very important skills to have if you are going to appeal to the Republican base. Save those corporations from those rapacious eskimos, Dana!

Posted by: janouzpoha | July 27, 2010 10:02 PM | Report abuse

Dana is very good at lying, and defending war criminals, and she's great at worshipping money and power, and for doing and saying anything at all - the truth be damned - to obtain money and power. What a legacy she has left for America! What a role model she is for our children!

Posted by: jdwagner | July 27, 2010 10:39 PM | Report abuse

I'm sure that Dana will do just fine as a lobbyist. Oh by the way, lobbying is legal, in case you Democrats haven't noticed. I guess you would like it if only the lobbyists on the left were legal, but we still have that little problem called the Constitution and Freedom of Speech, you know. And as far as fronting for Wbya goes, it couldn't be any worse than "Bobby" Gibbs fronting for Obama. Get the picture?

Posted by: barrysal | July 27, 2010 11:31 PM | Report abuse

It's very sad just how low posters on the 'right' have to go to defend the Republicans 'Dana Perinos' of our country.

Surprising, no, very typical.

Posted by: Gracefulboomer | July 28, 2010 9:02 AM | Report abuse

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