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TEXAS’ REDISTRICTING REVOLVERS EX-CONGRESSMAN LOBBYIST LOBBY FIRM Int’l Gov. Relations POST-CONGRESS LOBBY BILLINGS $6,855,000 HOMETOWN Marshall LEFT HOUSE 1/05 HIT THE LOBBY 2/06 Max Sandlin Jim Turner Arnold & Porter $4,554,650 Crockett 1/05 4/05 Charles Stenholm Olsson Frank Weeda $2,665,000 Abilene 1/05 3/06 Martin Frost Polsinelli Shughart $2,151,729 Fort Worth 1/05 2/07 Chris Bell Patton Boggs $1,600,000 Houston 1/05 2/07 image of its members. They include Fort Worth-based TPG Capital and New York’s Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co., which jointly orchestrated the $32 billion buyout of Dallas utility giant TXU Corp. in 2007. About 15 percent of Frost’s $2.2 million in registered lobby contracts is for the Alliance for American Advertising and its members in the junk food and advertising industries. As Congress sought ways to combat the juvenile-obesity epidemic, the alliance was formed in 2005 to defend the First Amendment “right” to market sugar to kids. Its tactics invite comparisons to those pioneered by Big Tobacco. Frost told the Observer that he does not work on the alliance account, which is handled by his friend Davidson. Abramoff earlier blazed these trails as lead lobbyist for Channel One, which advertises junk food and other products to children in schools. \(See “Thin Interviewed for this story, Frost emphasized his lobbying for a $130,000 client: the Newspaper Association of America. He said he helped the newspaper group promote reporter-shield bills, which would limit the ability of prosecutors to seize information gathered by reporters. \(Frost said he contributed to the Observer also stressed his recent work as head of America Votes, a voter-turnout coalition of labor, environmental and minority groups. Jim Turner Texas Republicans’ redistricting set up Army veteran Jim Turner of Crockett to run against incumbent GOP Rep. Joe Barton on Barton’s turf. “It didn’t take a smart man to figure out it would be virtually impossible” to win, Turner told the Observer. Instead, in 2005 Turner joined the lobby practice of Arnold & Porter, which has many education, finance and drug clients. Turner’s top registered clients include specialty drug companies that are developing or marketing treatments for acne, lice and herpes. Almost a quarter of Turner’s $4.6 million in lobby billings, however, came from the student-loan industry that has been roiled by an investigation by New York State Attorney General Andrew Cuomo. Cuomo exposed the money and gifts that schools receive from the “preferred” lenders whom they promote to their students. In 2007 Cuomo called Turner’s top loan client, Education Finance Partners Inc., “one of the most aggressive and most egregious actors.” Cuomo said the lender, which recently filed for bankruptcy, paid schools such as Baylor University and Texas Christian University a cut of the money that their students borrowed. Other Turner clients emerged from the student-loan flap with food stains. Lender Access Group Inc. threw happy hours for UT-Austin loan officials at Chuy’s Hula Hut, reported UT’s Daily Texan student paper. UT-Austin’s loan office scoffed at the notion that it could be influenced by such treatsdespite the detailed tallies it kept of which lenders delivered what goodies. With the industry’s reputation tattered in 2007, President Bush signed into law a bipartisan bill slashing federal subsidies to private student-loan companies. Turner said Congress was trying to turn a private market into a government-run system, making it impossible for student lenders “to survive in this market with the credit crunch.” Last year the federal government took over another Turner client: the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corp., known as Freddie Mac. Freddie and its sister company, known as Fannie Mae, ultimately could cost taxpayers tens of billions of dollars. These giants bought up about half of the nation’s mortgage debt and repackaged it into the kind of investment securities that helped the mortgage crisis beget a systemic financial meltdown. Freddie ran one of Washington’s biggest lobby operations. The Federal Election Commission slapped the company with a record $3.8 million fine in 2006, in part for using its corporate resources to host fundraisers that channeled $1.7 million to federal candidatesled by members of a House committee overseeing Freddie. The FEC fine also covered Freddie’s illegal contribution of $150,000 in corporate funds to the Republican Governors Association in October 2002, the very month when Terry Nelson and the Republican National Committee allegedly laundered TRMPAC’s $190,000. Asked if Freddie’s lobbying efforts might have contributed to lax regulation, Turner said, “I think that’s very possible.” Turner said he is proudest of pro bono work he did for a group of stateside military officers whom the U.S. Army tried to ship back to Iraq shortly before the expiration of their activeduty status. “I was able to get the Army to go back to their original policy,” Turner said. MARCH 6, 2009 THE TEXAS OBSERVER 11