Former aides of Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge, along with a score of other Washington firms, are lobbying to get a piece of the department’s $40 billion budget, the New York Times reports. Ridge’s spokesman that he was giving no special attention to products that were being promoted by lobbyists who had worked for him, and there is no evidence that he is.
PoliticalMoneyLine.com, a campaign finance research group, found a large increase in the number of companies lobbying the government on issues involving domestic security or counterterrorism. As of last week, 569 companies and organizations had used the words “homeland,” “security” or “terror” on the registration forms in describing their lobbying activities, up from 457 at the beginning of this year, and 157 at the beginning of 2002.
Mark Campbell, a former chief of staff to Ridge, registered last month as a “homeland security” lobbyist for Safeguards Technology, a New Jersey company that sells perimeter security systems.
Several major law firms in Washington that specialize in lobbying have established large domestic security practices. At the law firm of Powell, Goldstein, Frazer & Murphy, it is led by Walter B. Shirk, a lawyer whose online résumé notes that he is the author of a recent newsletter article titled “Opportunity and Risk: Securing Your Piece of the Homeland Security Pie.”
A partner at another firm says, “We’re trying to help our clients avoid the land mines and find the gold mines in homeland security.”