From the U.S. Department of Energy:
Iraq now finds itself in a period of uncertainty and transition after more than three decades of Ba'ath party rule. Following the end of Saddam Hussein's rule in the spring of 2003, Iraq was governed for a year by the "Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA)" led by the United States and the United Kingdom. On June 28, 2004, the CPA transferred power to a sovereign Iraqi interim government, with national elections held on January 30, 2005. On May 3, 2005, the new transitional government was sworn in, with a new Prime Minister. A constitutional referendum was held in October 2005, with the constitution being approved overwhelmingly. Elections for a permanent government were held in mid-December 2005. After six months of debate, a national-unity government emerged, replacing the former prime minister with Nuri al-Maliki. The constitution (articles 108-111) addressed the control and distribution of oil resources in general terms, but many details (e.g., exactly how oil revenues will be distributed) were not spelled out exactly. Another question that remains outstanding is whether or not Iraq will form a new Iraqi National Oil Company (INOC).
Although Iraq's unemployment rate remains high (27-40 percent), the overall Iraqi economy appears to be recovering after more than a decade of economic stagnation, sanctions, and war. However, it is important to note that estimates of economic growth vary widely. For instance, Iraqi real GDP growth is estimated by Global Insight at 34 percent growth for 2005 and 22 percent for 2006. In contrast, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) recently lowered its Iraq GDP growth forecast to just 3.7 percent, citing “the continuing sabotage of oil installations,” with forecast growth of 17 percent for 2006.
On October 15, 2003, a new Iraqi currency -- the "New Iraqi Dinar" (NID) -- was introduced, replacing the "old dinar" and the "Swiss dinar" used in the north of the country. Since then, the NID has appreciated sharply, from around 1,950 NID per $U.S. in October 2003 to around 1,470 NID per $U.S. by mid-December 2005. In early February 2004, Iraq was granted observer status at the World Trade Organization (WTO). In late September 2004, Iraq sent the WTO a formal request for membership.
Total, long-term Iraqi reconstruction costs could run to $100 billion or higher, with an October 2003 donors conference in Madrid resulting in pledges of $33 billion (channeled partly through the International Reconstruction Facility Fund for Iraq -- IRFFI). In mid-October 2004, donor countries meeting in Tokyo agreed on the need to speed up the disbursement or promised assistance to Iraq. To date, only a small fraction of the money pledged in Madrid has been disbursed. In late November 2005, the World Bank approved a $100 million loan (for education projects) to Iraq, the first such loan in 30 years.
On May 22, 2003, the U.N. Security Council passed Resolution 1483, lifting sanctions on Iraq, phasing out the 6-year-old U.N. oil-for-food program over six months (the program ended on November 21, 2003), and designating a U.N. "special representative" to assist Iraq in its reconstruction efforts. On May 27, 2003, the U.S. Treasury Department lifted most U.S. sanctions on Iraq, thereby implementing U.N. Security Council Resolution 1483.
In November 2003, the U.S. Congress authorized $18.4 billion for Iraq in a "supplemental allocation" aimed at boosting Iraqi reconstruction and economic development. As of late October 2005, only around 79 percent of that total had been committed to projects. About $2 billion reportedly had been spent on oil projects and over $4 billion on power projects, with mixed results.
Iraq assumed a heavy debt burden during the Saddam Hussein years, around $100 billion if debts to Gulf states and Russia are counted, and even more if $250 billion in reparations payment claims stemming from Iraq's 1990 invasion of Kuwait are included. Under U.N. Security Council Resolution 1483, Iraq's oil export earnings are immune from legal proceedings, such as debt collection, until the end of 2007. In November 2004, the Paris Club group of 19 creditor nations agreed to forgive, in stages, up to 80 percent on $42 billion worth of loans. The relief is contingent upon Iraq reaching an economic stabilization program with the IMF.
Friday, June 30, 2006
Monday, June 26, 2006
At Niqash, Greg Muttit writes:
In a survey in July 2003, Baghdad residents were asked what they thought was the main reason for America and Britain to go to war in Iraq. The most popular answer, with 47% of responses, was “to secure oil supplies”.
At first glance, it would seem that America and Britain have failed in this aim. Post-war Iraqi oil production peaked in April 2004 at 2.3 million barrels per day – still below the pre-war level of 2.5 mbpd – and has since dropped to around 2 mbpd.
But this reading would misunderstand the foreign oil interest. The aim for Iraq’s oil was not simply to obtain greater supplies – that could have been done by purchasing more oil from the former regime, and by removing sanctions. Rather, the US/UK interest was in controlling oil over the long term, through multinational companies based in their own countries.
In this respect, things now seem to be moving fast. On US President George Bush’s recent visit to Baghdad, oil was one of the key topics discussed. And last week, Bush’s Energy Secretary Sam Bodman called for an Iraqi oil law to lay out the rules of private investment.
The new Iraqi Oil Minister plans to pass an oil law through parliament by the end of the year – the timescale imposed by the International Monetary Fund – to enable the Iraqi government to sign contracts with “the largest oil companies”.
It seems the most likely type of contract being considered is the one advocated by the oil companies themselves, known as a ‘production sharing agreement’ (PSA). Four PSA contracts have already been signed by the Kurdistan Regional Government, with Norwegian, Turkish and Canadian companies.
So, what is a PSA? It is a structure which allows a foreign company to invest capital in developing an oilfield, in exchange for managing the oil production, and keeping a share of the oil.
Such contracts are often used in countries with small or difficult oilfields, or where high-risk exploration is required. They are not generally used in countries like Iraq, where there are large fields which are already known and which are cheap to extract. For example, they are not used in Iran, Kuwait or Saudi Arabia, all of which maintain state control of oil.
In fact, of the top seven countries with the largest oil reserves, only Russia – which has the World’s seventh largest – has any PSAs. Russia signed three PSAs in the early 1990s, during its own rapid political and economic transition, but has signed no more since then. Those PSAs have been so controversial, due to the poor deal they give the state, that it is unlikely any more will be signed.
Now some of the very same people who pushed PSAs in Russia and the other former Soviet states of Kazakhstan and Azerbaijan are advocating their use in Iraq.
Part of the appeal of PSAs is that they give the appearance of sovereignty over natural resources: the state is described as “owner” of the resource, and the foreign company as its “contractor”. However, in practice, most oil industry analysts acknowledge that the terms of the contract can be written so as to have exactly the same effect as a more traditional privatisation, giving the company management control, and potentially huge profits.
And with PSAs commonly lasting for 30 or 40 years, or even longer, decisions made now could sow the seeds of economic and political difficulties for decades to come.
The most obvious impact of this is that the state would obtain less revenue, as a share would go to the foreign companies. The cost to the Iraqi economy over the length of the contracts could be in the hundreds of billions of dollars. Given that oil provides more than 90% of government revenue, giving away a significant chunk of this could have a major effect on public programmes of health, education and infrastructure.
A second consequence would be the effect on the workforce. Whereas publicly-owned enterprises can include employment or the development of the national skills base among their objectives, private companies’ sole aim is to maximise profit. The international oil companies have consistently done this by reducing the size of the workforce. Similarly, they bring in many of their workers from abroad. Although the government may negotiate a percentage of local workers to be specified in a PSA contract, generally the technical and management roles go to foreigners: the Iraqis would be left with the lowest-paid and least-skilled jobs.
Furthermore, the companies would have control over the rate of oil production. For an oil-dependent country such as Iraq, the rate of depletion of its non-renewable resources – the balance between maximising production now versus saving some for later – is one of the most important economic decisions.
This may also undermine Iraq’s future relationship with OPEC. Two OPEC members with major foreign investment, Algeria and Nigeria, have repeatedly failed to control foreign companies’ production in order to comply with OPEC quotas.
If this is not worrying enough, PSAs frequently contain a ‘stabilisation clause’, making the companies effectively immune to any future legislation or regulation. As a result, future governments for the next 40 years could be constrained in their ability to pass new laws or policies.
For example, imagine that in ten years’ time a new Iraqi government wanted to pass a human rights law, or wanted to introduce a minimum wage. If this affected the company’s profits, either the law would not apply to the company’s operations, or the government would have to compensate the company for any reduction in profits.
Perhaps the government might insist that the law must be applied. In that case the company could apply to an international investment court – most likely in Geneva or Washington, DC – whichever is specified in the contract. These courts, which often sit in secret, cannot consider the body of Iraqi law, let alone the Iraqi public interest: they only consider the commercial terms of the contract. If such a court found against the Iraqi government, the government would either have to comply, or would face having its assets seized in other countries.
The human rights organisation Amnesty International has described such contracts as having a “chilling effect” on human rights, meaning that the financial disincentives are likely to discourage governments from passing any progressive human rights policies.
Production sharing agreements thus make a pretence of preserving national control, while in fact handing it over to foreign companies – in effect, privatising by the back door.
No-one doubts that the Iraqi oil sector needs investment. The advocates of PSAs argue that, because PSAs are favoured by oil companies, they are the only way to provide investment. But this ignores a range of other options: investment could be provided from public budgets, by borrowing from international banks, or by inviting foreign companies under less extreme forms of contract – for example, the buyback contract used in Iran or the risk service contracts being considered in Kuwait. Indeed, in both of those countries foreign ownership of oil is forbidden by their constitutions.
The oil companies insist that to finance oil development from public expenditure would deprive the Iraqi government of the opportunity to spend its limited funds on other public priorities. It is true that if foreign companies provide the investment now, the government would not have to.
But the Iraqi people must ask whether relinquishing future revenue and surrendering sovereignty over Iraq’s natural resources are a fair price to pay.
Friday, June 23, 2006
John Roberts, the chief justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, has bought a seasonal home on an island off the midcoast of Maine.
The Boston Globe reports:
Roberts and his wife bought a house and land on Hupper Island off of Port Clyde from Steve Thomas, the former host of the "This Old House" television show, according to the Knox County Registry of Deeds.
The home sits about 225 feet from shore with a water view toward the Port Clyde General Store on the mainland. It has a right of way to the beach.
The home and the 2.1-acre lot it sits on are assessed by the town at $172,800. The island has 20 to 30 seasonal homes on it.
Roberts, who was confirmed as chief justice last fall, lives in Chevy Chase, Md., outside of Washington.
Rockland attorney James Brannan said the Roberts have also inquired about registering a skiff and purchasing a mooring in town.
Wednesday, June 21, 2006
At Niqash, Greg Muttit writes:
The debate over national vs. regional control of Iraq’s oil sector intensified last week, as the new Natural Resources Minister of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) stated his opposition to amending the oil-related articles of the Constitution.
In his first public statement since his appointment, Dr Ashti Hawrami argued that, “the Constitution was adopted as a package by all the people; it is a single document … The rights of the regions and governorates are clear and cannot be modified in any way to enhance the powers of federal authorities.”
He was responding to calls by Iraqi oil experts to use the agreed constitutional review process, culminating in a second referendum, to change the controversial articles, which are seen by some as ambiguous, contradictory or impractical.
The Constitution grants the federal government control only over “current fields”. In most interpretations, the regions and governorates would control all other fields. However, the meaning of “current fields” is unclear.
Iraq has about 80 known oilfields, and many more fields likely still to be found in unexplored areas. Of these 80, only about 20 have ever been developed, and some of those have only partially been developed, producing oil at a fraction of their potential rate. These latter include the four super-giant fields of Majnoon, West Qurna, Nahr Umar and East Baghdad, which between them contain nearly half of Iraq’s total reserves.
A recent research paper by oil expert Kamil Mehaidi pointed out that it is unclear whether the term “current fields” refers to all discovered fields, to those currently in production (accounting for about 78% of Iraq’s known reserves), or just to those which have been fully developed (about 36% of reserves).
Natural Resources Minister Hawrami interpreted current fields as those which are producing oil now. But he went much further, arguing that the regions and governorates should control all of the revenue from undeveloped fields, and should have effective veto power even over the limited roles he prescribed for the federal government.
It is worth considering separately the political issue of who takes the revenue and the more technical issue of who has management control.
Most people accept that some share of revenue should stay in the region in which it was produced, and this is common around the world – it compensates regions for their investment in infrastructure and for the environmental impacts of oil production. However, over time the balance of Iraq’s oil production will shift from fields which are now “current” to those which are new. Thus, with Iraq’s oil mostly concentrated in the south and the north of the country, to give all revenue from non-“current fields” to producing regions could leave other areas – notably the centre and west – impoverished.
The greatest disputes are over who should control oil decisions, such as strategy, policy, operational management, and the role of the private sector, including signing of contracts. Those who argue that regional autonomy should be maximised are concerned that in a centralised system some regions might be de-prioritised for investment and access to resources, a concern felt especially by many Kurds. Others fear that too much autonomy could sow the seeds of division of the country.
Meanwhile, many technocrats argue that too much decentralisation brings the risk of an uncoordinated and bureaucratic system, in which each region has its own approach and procedures. The need for coordination is most obvious with strategic infrastructure that either physically spans more than one region or province, such as pipelines, or serves more than one, such as refineries. Similarly, geology does not recognise administrative borders, and several oilfields straddle more than one province, and potentially more than one region. In the absence of clear coordination, competing authorities keen to maximise their production could damage the geology of an oilfield by overproducing on their side – the problem that at a national level has caused disputes between Iraq and Kuwait.
But the oil federalism issue should not be isolated from the equally big issue of privatisation. Dr Hawrami’s comments on the Constitution came two weeks after the Kurdistan Regional Government signed an oil-production contract with the Canadian company Western Oilsands, the fourth such deal signed by the KRG. It had previously signed contracts with Norwegian company DNO in June 2004, and with Turkish companies Genel Enerji in January 2004 and Petoil in April 2003. DNO recently announced the discovery of oil near Zakho in Dohuk province.
The legal status of these deals is hotly contested, with the Oil Ministry in Baghdad arguing that only it has the right to sign such contracts. On the other hand, Kurdish authorities have argued that the KRG is authorised by the Constitution to sign contracts – even though the first three were signed even before the Constitution was first drafted. It is far from clear how this dispute will be resolved.
All four contracts are with small companies. The major international oil companies are unlikely to invest while there is such legal uncertainty, at least until the finalisation of the Constitution, due to the high risk of losing their investments if the contracts are ultimately found not to be valid. As in any investment, the higher the risk taken by an investor, the higher the profit they will expect, to make it worth their while. So it is likely that these contracts give a very high share of revenue to the companies, with a correspondingly lower share going to the public authorities.
However, the detailed terms of the deals – the revenue split, the legal terms and even the duration of the contracts – are mostly unknown, as they have not been disclosed. For citizens and civil society organisations to know what the revenue terms are is an important defence against corruption, as well as providing for democratic scrutiny.
But although private companies are cautious about legal uncertainty, they benefit from negotiating with weaker public institutions. The regions and provinces do not have the strategic and negotiation experience that is possessed by the Oil Ministry in Baghdad. And if the Kurds’ precedent is followed elsewhere, the result could be a race to the bottom, in which different regions compete with each other to attract investment by offering greater shares of revenue – and more generous legal terms – to private companies.
While the desire for greater regional autonomy is understandable, it could in fact end up also transferring power – and more of Iraq’s oil wealth – from public to private sector, and from Iraqis to foreign companies.
Thursday, June 15, 2006
It is an old cliché that politics is too important to be left to the politicians. But are new moves to decide the future shape of Iraq’s oil industry happening too fast to achieve public consensus – on issues that could both redraw the map and rewrite the history of Iraq?
In Niqash, Greg Muttitt writes:
The new Oil Minister, Husayn al-Sharistani, announced on Saturday that within two months he will draft legislation to govern Iraq’s oil sector, and aims to have his oil law passed by Parliament by the end of the year. The law will define the relative roles of the federal government, of the regions and governorates, and of private companies.
The issues could hardly be more important.
The degree of centralisation in the control of oil, and the revenues from it, are important aspects of the question of federalism. If misjudged – either by denying a fair share to the regions in which oil is located, or by giving regions too much autonomy at the expense of national cohesion – these oil decisions could fracture, and ultimately break apart, the country. However, given that the federalism issue is one of the most contentious aspects of the constitution, it is surprising that the oil law will be drafted – and possibly even passed – before the constitutional review process is complete.
Meanwhile, while there has been discussion on the question of the split of revenues between the centre and the regions, there has been almost no debate on the split between state entities and private companies.
Just three days after his appointment, Mr Al-Shahristani told a press conference that he planned to sign contracts with “the largest oil companies”. This would be the first time for more than thirty years that foreign companies have a major stake in Iraq’s oil. Oil was brought into public ownership and control in a process that began with Law 80 of 1961, to be completed in 1975. Public ownership of natural resources and industry is an issue about which many Iraqis feel very strongly. Yet decisions made in the coming months will not be reversible, as once contracts are signed, they will have a major bearing on Iraq’s economy and politics for decades to come, especially as oil accounts for more than 90% of government revenue.
“Federalism” and “privatisation” are not the only potentially divisive issues. The oil industry – like the rest of the country – has been plagued by corruption, and by the worsening security situation. The oil law will have an impact on both problems. A transparent and coordinated approach will be necessary in the fight against corruption. On the other hand, if deals with foreign companies are seen as secretive or unfair, they will only feed resentment, and in consequence the violence that has gripped the country.
Mr Al-Shahristani’s desire to move forward decisively and assertively may be his antidote to the ministry’s stagnation over recent months, hampered by political infighting. However, to do so before political and public consensus is achieved would create more problems than it would solve. Throughout Iraq’s history, the management of oil has been carried out in favour of narrow interests, whether foreign companies, the dictatorship or more recently, criminal elements and certain political interests.
That is not to say the government should do nothing. There is certainly an urgent need to address corruption, to improve security, and to carry out the technical rehabilitation of Iraq’s existing fields. On these issues, there is no major dispute. But before making the bigger decisions, proper public consultation and participation is vital.
Some interest groups have already insisted on having a say in the oil law. Most major international oil companies have been in contact with the Oil Ministry. And the International Monetary Fund required that it be involved in the drafting of the oil law, as part of the economic conditions it imposed on Iraq in December 2005. The fulfilment of these conditions is a requirement of the Paris Club of wealthy creditor nations, in exchange for relief of another portion of the international debts accumulated by the former regime.
The US government is also ensuring that its views are represented. It has appointed an adviser to work with the Oil Ministry on the law, from BearingPoint, the company that was hired by the Coalition Provisional Authority in 2003 to design the blueprint for the privatisation of the Iraqi economy.
But the oil in Iraq belongs to the Iraqi people – as is stated in the constitution. If that clause of the constitution is not to be considered meaningless, it should be the Iraqi people who decide how oil is managed, and the Oil Ministry should make provision for genuine public consultation.
The Oil Ministry should request and consider the views not just of political parties, but of civil society groups, experts, trade unions and others. It should open a process of informing and seeking the opinions of the general public, through workshops and meetings around the country, through publicising proposals in newspapers and on TV.
This is not a process that can be completed in two months. While the impatience is understandable, it is dangerous. Will oil be a blessing or a curse for Iraq? Public debate could make a difference.
The Hill reports:
Letitia White, former defense appropriations staff member for Rep. Jerry Lewis (R-Calif.), is known on the Hill and in industry circles as the golden girl of earmarks.
It is those earmarks and the hefty price paid for them — in campaign contributions and lobbying fees — that have spurred federal investigators to look into the connection between White, now a partner at the firm of Copeland Lowery Jacquez Denton & White; Jeff Shockey, a former lobbyist at the firm and one of Lewis’s top committee staff members; and Lewis, the chairman of the House Appropriations Committee.
Former Rep. Bill Lowery (R-Calif.), Lewis’s longtime friend, is also a founding partner of Copeland Lowery.
The probe, which grew out of the investigation into former Rep. Randy “Duke” Cunningham (R-Calif.) that led to his resignation from Congress and his imprisonment, has prompted increased scrutiny of the defense-contracting business.
But the defense-contracting lobbying business has been a lucrative part of the K Street community for years, lawfully helping sell defense industry products to Capitol Hill and the Pentagon.
While Copeland Lowery targeted all appropriations bills, not just defense, there are several lobby shops that specialize almost solely in defense. They provide what Washington insiders argue is a necessary service.
Here is a look at the top defense-contracting lobbying firms and their connections to Congress and the Pentagon:
THE PMA GROUP
In 2006 alone, the PMA Group accounted for at least 60 earmarks in the conference report of the defense spending bill, according to data compiled by Taxpayers for Common Sense, a watchdog organization tracking earmarks in bills. That amounted to roughly $95.1 million, according to an analysis of that data.
Determining exactly how many earmarks a certain firm has secured is difficult because that information is not publicly available and defense companies often hire several lobbying firms to represent them.
Paul Magliocchetti, a nine-year veteran of the House Defense Appropriations Subcommittee, is the founder of the PMA Group. Out of its team of 35 lobbyists, at least 30 have worked on Capitol Hill, in the Pentagon or both.
One member of the team, Richard Kaelin, was the chief of staff to longtime House Appropriations Committee member Rep. Pete Visclosky (D-Ind.).
Kaelin also served as the lawmaker’s appropriations director, focusing on national security, energy and water development. That position “allowed him to develop keen negotiating skills essential to protecting multimillion-dollar projects and programs of national significance,” according to his company bio.
Another, Melissa Koloszar, was chief of staff to Rep. Jim Moran (D-Va.), also a member of the Defense Appropriations Subcommittee. For five years Koloszar also served as Moran’s legislative director. As an associate staff member on the Appropriations Committee, she was the primary contact to the defense subcommittee.
And if Moran ever becomes a chairman of a spending panel, PMA could be in luck. The lawmaker said Tuesday that if he were a chairman of a spending panel he would “earmark the [expletive] out of it.”
PMA’s Dan Cunningham has a close relationship with subcommittee ranking member Rep. John Murtha (D-Pa.), according to K Street sources.
Cunningham also served as the director and deputy director for the Army’s congressional liaison team. He directed the legislative strategy for presenting the Army’s budget for military pay, operations and maintenance, military construction, acquisition, and research and development, according to his bio.
PMA is also a heavyweight when it comes to political contributions.
For the 2006 cycle alone, PMA’s PAC doled out more than $250,000 to federal candidates. Since 2000, the PAC contributed close to $1 million to members of the House and the Senate, focusing on GOP and Democratic members of the authorization and appropriations committees.
With its 139 clients, the firm ranked as No. 10, with revenue of $7.8 million in 2005, on a list of the most profitable lobbying firms compiled by PoliticalMoneyLine.
American Defense International (ADI), with 105 clients, mostly defense and technology, was able to secure at least 32 earmarks for its clients in the 2006 defense spending bill, according to data compiled by Taxpayers for Common Sense.
ADI also has attracted an all-star cast. The chairman, Van Hipp Jr., headed the South Carolina Republican Party in 1988. He was deputy assistant secretary of the Army for reserve forces and mobilization and was appointed by then-Secretary of Defense Dick Cheney as the principal deputy general counsel of the Navy.
John Barth, meanwhile, was chosen to serve as the secretary of the Navy’s personal liaison to the House and Senate Appropriations committees for all Marine Corps matters.
Michael Khatchadurian served on the House Armed Services Committee, was military legislative assistant for Reps. Jim Ryun (R-Kan.) and Ander Crenshaw (R-Fla.), who was then a member of the House Armed Services Committee and is now a member of the Appropriations Committee. After leaving Congress, he worked in the public-affairs office of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
Former House Armed Services Committee Chairman Ron Dellums (D-Calif.) serves as ADI’s senior national-security adviser.
ADI’s president, Michael Herson, also has experience at the Pentagon. During Cheney’s tenure there, Herson was the special assistant to the assistant secretary of defense for force management and personnel. After that, Herson joined the Alexis de Tocqueville Institution as a visiting fellow for national-security affairs.
“It is important to be a good practitioner with what you do,” Herson said. “You have to have a story to tell, have all the forms filled out and all the material that the staff needs. It is more about relationships, and you can establish those by being well-prepared and having a good story to tell.”
Several media reports have noted that Herson is married to a legislative assistant to Sen. Arlen Specter (R-Pa.). She works part time for Specter and does not handle appropriations matters.
It has also been reported that ADI does not take clients into Specter’s office.
ADI’s total earmarks for the 2006 Pentagon budget amount to at least $81 million.
ADI employees also donate mightily to the political process. For the 2002, 2004 and 2006 cycles, they contributed a total of $284,000.
ADI was ranks No. 29 with revenue of $3.9 million in PoliticalMoneyLine’s list of top lobbying firms.
COPELAND LOWERY AND OTHERS
Meanwhile, Letitia White’s firm, Copeland Lowery, with its 105 clients, ranks No. 32 with revenue of $3.7 million.
While PMA, ADI and Copeland Lowery have a large number of defense clients, other smaller, well-connected and successful shops that focus almost exclusively on defense issues are also major players.
One of them is Robison International, which is run by retired Maj. Gen. Randall West. Robison International is a steady contributor to Rep. Alan Mollohan (D-W.Va.)
Ervin Technical Associates is yet another powerful force in the defense lobbying world. Founding partner Jim Ervin’s experience includes program management and international sales with the Air Force. He also served as a congressional liaison.