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Heckuva Client How’s Akerman Senterfitt’s new disaster practice going? Great if you ask Jonathan Burgiel, chief executive officer of Beck Disaster Recovery, a disaster management and engineering firm. Akerman’s two former Federal Emergency Management Agency guys, Daniel Craig and Jim Schumann, have done a heckuva job for their client, according to Burgiel, whose business monitors debris haulers in post-disaster areas in order to expedite the FEMA reimbursement process. He says the alliance with Akerman has helped attract new business. “Mentioning that we have folks who previously managed, in effect, these people [FEMA] on the local level shows some real depth to our expertise,” says Burgiel, who currently has 50 to 60 clients in the Gulf Coast region. He adds that his firm, which is a subsidiary of RW Beck, has no intentions of discontinuing the alliance. — Joe Crea
Salut! The Washington Government Relations Group is celebrating its 25th anniversary Tuesday with a reception and dinner at the Washington Court Hotel. The group of African-American lobbyists will toast Rep. Major Owens (D-N.Y.). — Joe Crea
World Party Alexander Strategy Group’s offices have been empty since February, but the once high-flying Republican lobby shop resurfaced last month when partner Edwin Buckham, under investigation by the Justice Department for his relationships with ex-lobbyist Jack Abramoff and former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, filed the firm’s Foreign Agents Registration Act reports covering its last months of business. The filings reveal that the problems of the firm, which shut down weeks after now-convicted Alexander Strategy partner Tony Rudy was implicated in Abramoff’s January guilty plea, were never about money. The firm took in $428,522 from five clients between Nov. 1, 2005, and when it closed its doors at the end of January. The clients included, among others, the Republic of the Marshall Islands ($196,379); the governments of Croatia ($112,499), Eritrea ($52,000), and Aruba ($47,640); and the Japan External Trade Organization ($20,000). Alexander Strategy wasn’t the only firm with Abramoff connections to pocket large amounts of foreign currency. Greenberg Traurig, Abramoff’s home base during the bulk of his misdeeds, reported taking in $819,389 in fees from two foreign clients over the last six months: $538,720 from the Mexican secretary of agriculture’s office, for work on U.S.-Mexican agricultural trade issues, and $280,669 from the government of El Salvador, for work on immigration issues. Other big paydays reported in FARA filings submitted in the past two weeks: Saint-Louis & Johnson P.C. reported collecting $182,294 from Bayelsa State and Rivers State, both in Nigeria; Miller & Chevalier reported taking in $107,500 from the Taiwan Board of Trade, for advising on the early stages of a possible U.S.-Taiwan free trade agreement; and Fierce, Isakowitz & Blalock bagged $114,516 from Bahrain, for work on the U.S. free trade agreement with the Persian Gulf nation. Brunswick Group LLC reported taking in $202,000 from the China National Offshore Oil Corp. during its failed bid last summer to buy out Unocal Corp. Brunswick is the sixth company to file a FARA report for work performed for CNOOC last summer. CNOOC spent more than $4 million on lobbying and public relations as it tried to battle resistance from Congress to its takeover of Unocal. Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld, which spearheaded CNOOC’s effort, took in nearly $3.2 million alone. After taking a beating from Vice President Dick Cheney over its human rights record and use of gas sales for political purposes earlier this spring, the Russian Federation is apparently trying to spruce up its reputation in the United States before it plays host to the G8 Summit this summer in St. Petersburg. It has hired public relations giant Ketchum Inc. to promote its “role as G8 President in 2006.” The filing made no mention of fees. — Andy Metzger

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