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PEOPLE Make a world of difference ! We’re proud of our employees and their contributions to your success and ours. Call us for quality printing, binding, mailing and data processing services. Get to know the people at Futura. FUTURA P.O. Box 17427 Austin, TX 78760-7427 389-1500 COMMUNICATIONS, INC Continued from cover filled their wallets as well as their stomachs: Client John Bryson of the SECorp asked for the administration’s help in retrieving $150 million from Mexico after his company pulled out of the Carbon II coal-fired generating plant near Piedras Negras. The Commerce Department was soon on the case and SECorp’s money was returned with interest. Another client, Westinghouse Electric Corp., stands to gain from a proposed rule in the March 11 Federal Register which would ease restrictions on the export to Eastern Europe of safety-related equipment for nuclear power plants. According to the Energy Daily, Westinghouse has “fabulous opportunities in that region.” American Express, whose board includes Vernon Jordan, won the federal government’ s multi-billion dollar credit-card contract away from Diners Club. AKIN GUMP’ s sway is evident in its mediation of U.S. trade with Russia. The key is Strauss, who while am bassador established a close friendship with President Boris Yeltsin. Describing his mission in Russia as “the lord’s work,” Strauss told National Journal that he simply wants to create jobs and profits at home while giving a boost to the Russian economy. To expand bilateral links, Strauss helped set up the U.S.-Russia Business Council member board is stuffed with Akin, Gumplinked CEOs, used a $250,000 State Department grant to organize a four-day trade fair in Moscow, which Strauss attended. In late March, many lucrative deals were closed during Commerce Secretary Ron “Rolodex” Brown’s trip to Russia with 28 U.S. business officials. Commerce won’t release the names of the 28 who were selected from more than 300 executives who wanted to go along telling inquiring journalists to file a Freedom of Information Act request. Fortunately, we were able to obtain the list by calling Cominerce’s Business Information Center, which runs a 24-hour Flashfax service for companies seeking investment opportunities in Eastern Europe \(202-482-3145; mine that at least eight of the 28 lucky companies selected for the Russian trip are linked to Strauss or his firm. They are: Akin, Gump clients AT&T, Westinghouse, Dresser Industries \(a Dallas-based oil equipment firm for which George Bush a Hous Ken Silverstein is editor of Counterpunch, a newsletter published by the Institute for Policy Studies in Washington, D.C. A version of this article appeared in Counterpunch. ton-based company whose board includes Wendy Gramm, wife of Texas Senator Phil Gramm, and which last year hired as advisors former Secretary of State James Baker and former Secretary of Commerce Robert USRBC board members Litton Industries and. General Electric. Former Strauss clients Rockwell International and Bristol-Myers Squibb. During the trip, the government’s Overnounced a $125 million loan guarantee, the largest in its history, to back a telecommunications project between US West and Russia. OPIC is headed by Ruth Harkin, who until last year was a top corporate lawyer for…Akin, Gump. Another government agency actively promoting business with Moscow is the Exdent, Kenneth Brody, long worked with Strauss protege Robert Rubin at Goldman, Sachs. Last year, the Ex-Im finalized an . Oil and Gas Framework Agreement which will finance Russia’s purchase of $2 billion in U.S.-made equipment. The deal originated in late 1992 under then-acting Ex-Im chairman Eugene Lawson, who supervised the Agreement’s preparation after having quietly accepted his current position as president of Strauss’ board at the USRBC. A chief beneficiary of the accord could be Dresser, which is negotiating a major deal with Moscow. To sum up an extraordinary phy, as the Council’s first chair, approved now a member of the Export-Import Bank’s advisory committee. Charles Lewis, executive director of the Center for Public Integrity, calls the Akin, Gump-Russia link a “depressing metaphor” for the way Washington really works. “This is influence peddling of the lowest order,” he says. “Strauss is using his former position to assist his clients [to] get business in Russia.” In his inaugural address, Clinton pledged, “I’m going to change the government. We’re going to reduce the influence of lobbyists [and]…special interests.” Akin, Gump’s ability to help companies get the inside track shows that under Clinton, the relationship between powerful private interests and government is as promiscuous as ever. Other major law firms are also prospering under the current administration. A few big winners include Patton, Boggs & Blow \(foratt, Phelps & Phillips \(from whence U.S. Trade Representative Mickey Kantor was and lobbyists are having a field day,” says Lewis, capturing the atmosphere in Washington. “It’s not a pretty sight.” 111 44 low, vivo ea .41; Horse Kitchenettes Cable TV Heated Pool beside the Gulf of illexico on Mustang Island Available For private parties Unique European Charm Atmosphere 1’A:011 01111C:11 S 2 an t i Pets Welcome i c t 1423 11th Street fit , ‘ Port Aransas, TX 78373 1 call t for Rcscrvati\(ni, f ..etlk% ..01, hoe lir LI…….. 10, THE TEXAS OBSERVER 5