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Chris Bell The redistricting that occurred during Chris Bell’s first congressional term did not turn his Houston district Republican. But it pumped up the district’s minority population, helping former Houston NAACP President Al Greennow Congressman Greentrounce Bell in the 2004 Democratic primary. Bell next made a failed bid for the Governor’s Mansion in 2008, then lost a runoff for a state Senate seat to Republican Joan Huffman last December. Bell, who didn’t register with the lobby powerhouse Patton Boggs until 2007, is the only redistricted revolver who has yet to clear $2 million in lobby billings. His lead client is Sugar Land-based Hyperdynamics Corp., which signed a 2006 deal with the resource-rich Republic of Guinea to develop “world class” oil reserves off the coast of West Africa. Bell said that Hyperdynamics hired Patton Boggs in 2007 to improve relations with the Texas congressional delegation, after the Guinea deal was done. Bell’s No. 2 client is a much different oil company. Houstonbased Organic Fuels Ltd. produces clean, renewable biodiesel from plant oils. The main biodiesel controversy is that it usually is made from food, which can adversely affect food supplies and prices. Organic Fuels’ Web site says it is researching ways to make biodiesel from sugarcane waste and algae, but seems to duck the issue of what the company now uses. Bell told the Observer it is soybeans. For this client, Patton Boggs has pushed increased subsidies and production quotas for renewable fuels, which President Bush signed into law in December 2007. Bell said Organic Fuels hopes to gain additional aid from the newly enacted $787 billion economic-stimulus package. Bell said he is proud of free lobbying that Patton Boggs did for the Port of Galveston in the wake of Hurricane Ike. He also told the Observer he is scaling back his lobbying to practice law with Ashish Mahendru, who recently lost a Harris County race for state district judge. Bell said he will do personal-injury and commercial litigation. Charles Stenholm After sitting on the House Agriculture Committee throughout his 26 years in Congress, Abilene Democrat Charles Stenholm joined a firm that specializes in lobbying Congress and the U.S. Department of Agriculture on behalf of farm interests. After losing his post-redistricting race to GOP incumbent Randy Neugebauer, Stenholm joined Olsson Frank Weeda Terman Bode Matz. Stenholm has done his most controversial lobbying on behalf of now-shuttered slaughterhouses that exported U.S. horsemeat to countries that consume it. The last three equine slaughterhouses in the U.S. closed by 2007, when separate appeals courts upheld prohibitions on the practice in Illinois and Texas. Stenholm represented the Dallas Crown Inc. plant in Kaufman, Texas, and the Fort Worth-based Beltex Corp. plant \(which lobthe Livestock Marketing Association, which wants to revive this industry. Stenholm told the Observer that the ban has spurred exports of HOONTOWER Who’s Making Our Medicine? Let’s talk pills. To treat everything from allergies to heart problems, half of Americans take a prescription medicine every day, and nearly all of us reach for the pill bottle on occasion. It’s perfectly safe, though, because the Food and Drug Administration regulates the ingredients, right? Yesassuming they’re produced in the U.S. Uh, aren’t they? Mostly, no. Take antibiotics. The New York Times reports that ingredients for the majority of these bacteria fighters are “now made almost exclusively in China and India,” as are the components of dozens of other major drugs. has become the world’s pre-eminent supplier of medicines. As one major drug company puts it: “If tomorrow China stopped supplying pharmaceutical ingredients, the worldwide pharmaceutical industry would collapse.” What’s at work here is mindless globalization and deregulation. Our politicians threw open the U.S. market to drug imports, while also letting foreign manufacturers go uninspected and unregulated. So companies in China can cut corners and undercut our own regulated pill makers. America’s last producer of penicillin’s ingredients, for example, shut down in 2004, leaving us dependent on China. The FDAour supposed watchdogdoesn’t even know where a drug’s ingredients come from. Why? Because drug companies say they don’t like to reveal their sources. The Times found that one federal database lists the existence of about 3,000 foreign drug plants that ship to the U.S., while another lists 6,800. No one knows which is correct, if either. This is ridiculous. For the sake of America’s health, security and economy, let’s regulate all pill makers and rebuild our own industry. live horses to Mexican slaughterhouses, which are less humane. He said the prohibition on slaughter also increased the number of U.S. horses that are mistreated, abandoned and starved. He said horse activists now are promoting a bill to criminalize the export of horses to slaughterhouses. “Too many people only take the emotional view:’ Stenholm said. “I get a lot of hate mail on this one” Stenholm said he represents clients seeking to improve the technological capability of the Department of Agriculture, including California-based Environmental Systems Research Institute Inc., a geographical information company processing crop-insurance data. Stenhohn’s client Open Ranch Communications Inc. provides Internet service to rural areas and hopes to get a piece of the federal stimulus package, he said. Andrew Wheat is research director at Texans for Public Justice, a nonpartisan watchdog group. 12 THE TEXAS OBSERVER MARCH 6, 2009