Joe Allbaugh, Disaster Pimp:
Writing in the Sept. 1 Washington Post, Dan Balz noted that in the immediate aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, Joe Allbaugh, the former director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), was in Louisiana "helping coordinate the private-sector response to the storm." Readers who don't know much about how Washington works probably took this to mean that an admirably selfless Allbaugh was giving generously of his time to help speed the rescue effort. There may, in fact, have been some of that. But Allbaugh is no mere dabbler in "the private-sector response" to government needs. He's a lobbyist and a consultant who's been cashing in on his close ties to President Bush since 2003. Allbaugh, in addition to being Bush's first FEMA chief (Allbaugh's college roommate Michael Brown succeeded him), was Bush's chief of staff when he was governor of Texas and campaign manager to Bush during the 2000 election. Now Allbaugh is the man to see if you want a contract in Iraq, or a piece of the action on homeland security, or, apparently, a shot at rebuilding New Orleans. "I don't buy the 'revolving door' argument," Allbaugh told the National Journal last year. "This is America. We all have a right to make a living."