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fiercely independent press is a fiercely patriotic press. America’s interests are not served when the public’s watchdogs become lapdogsfY TheTexasObserver companies ink homeland-security and disaster-relief contracts. And in proof that irony is not dead, his company has made a tidy profit securing federal funds for businesses looking to clean up the mess created by his handpicked successor at FEMA following Hurricane Katrina. One Allbaugh client, the Shaw Group, won two no-bid, $100 million construction jobs from FEMA and the Army Corp of Engineers. Another Allbaugh client, KBR Inc., received $29.8 million to rebuild damaged Navy bases in the Gulf. As for Harriet Miers, a contempt of Congress citation last year for refusing to testify about the controversial firing of U.S. attorneys hasn’t stopped her from finding employment following her resignation as White House counsel. The woman who was floated as a possible Supreme Court nominee and then unceremoniously shot down by conservatives and liberals alike is back with her longtime employer, the Dallas law firm Locke Lord Bissell & Liddell, where she heads up the litigation and public policy sections. Another option for administration veterans is to sink their teeth deep into the feeding hand. Scott McClellan, Bush’s former press secretary, has followed that course with reckless abandon, using his book, What Happened: Inside the Bush White House and Washington’s Culture of Deception, to accuse his former employers of repeated lies, obfuscations, and general skullduggery. If that weren’t enough to torpedo his political prospects in Texas, there’s also the little issue of his leaving the White House to join his mom Carol Keeton Strayhorn’s gubernatorial campaign to unseat Perry two years ago. \(Scott’s brother Mark, former commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration, still works in Washington as a senior fellow McClellan resigned from his job as a senior vice president at the tech procurement firm Hardhatbid Inc. before starting his book tour. He currently sits on the international advisory council for the communications firm APCO Worldwide Inc. and has told interviewers that he’s pondering academia or political punditry. Dowd, who started his career on the staff of Democratic Sen. Lloyd Bentsen but moved into Republican circles when Bush ran for governor, was one of the first close Bush aides from Texas to go public about his disillusionment with the president in a series of public statements and interviews last year. Then there is the not-so-sad tale of Alberto Gonzales, the former attorney general who has yet to land a full-time job. Since his forced retirement amid increasingly hostile congressional inquiries into civil rights violations and partisan politicking at the Justice Department, he’s been busying himself giving high school graduation speeches \(no, seriouslyat a on the rubber-chicken speaking circuit. At the University of Florida, he was relentlessly heckled by the crowd, and his speech was interrupted by several students taking the stage dressed as Guantanamo Bay detainees. He’s also had a part-time job helping in the settlement of a Texas patent case and was last seen penning an op-ed in the Los Angeles Times, where he argued that the key to winning 12 THE TEXAS OBSERVER SEPTEMBER 19, 2008