Alexander Strategy Group
Alexander Strategy Group was an American lobbying firm involved in the K Street Project, founded by Ed Buckham and his wife Wendy. Buckham is a former chief of staff of House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, and the firm openly promoted its access to DeLay. Its chief lobbyist was Paul Behrends.
In 2004 the firm had US$8.8 million in revenues, with prominent clients such as Amgen, BellSouth, Eli Lilly and Company, Freddie Mac, Fannie Mae, R.J. Reynolds, Koch Industries, Microsoft, Time Warner, Enron, and the United Parcel Service.
Other notable clients included Blackwater Security Services, the employer of the contractors killed in Fallujah, Iraq in 2004, and PerfectWave, the defense contracting firm owned by Brent R. Wilkes, under investigation for bribing Duke Cunningham.
Connections to Abramoff
ASG was paid more than $1 million by the U.S. Family Network, a nonprofit organization that Buckham helped create in 1996 while he was still working for DeLay. The non-profit's total revenue during its existence (it closed in 2001) was $3.02 million, most of which came from clients of Jack Abramoff.
Connections to the Heritage Foundation and the Government of Malaysia
From August 30 to September 4, 2001, Buckham joined (at his own expense) a trip funded by the Heritage Foundation to Malaysia. Also on the trip were U.S. Representatives Tom DeLay, Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fl.) and Ander Crenshaw (R-Fl.) and their spouses, as well as Edwin Feulner and his wife Linda Feulner, and Ken Sheffer. The Feulners and Sheffer were principals of both the Heritage Foundation and the lobbying firm Belle Haven Consultants.
On September 27, 2001, Belle Haven hired ASG to represent Malaysian interests. According to U.S. Senate lobbying records, Belle Haven paid ASG $620,000 over two years "on behalf of unspecified Malaysian business interests seeking to present a positive image of their country in the United States". ASG did not register as a foreign agent, as the contract was not explicitly on behalf of the Malaysian government. At the end of 2004, Belle Haven, representing the government of Malaysia, signed a contract with ASG for $840,000 over ten months. ASG filed as a foreign agent.
Virtually all of the money ASG reported receiving from Belle Haven related to the Malaysian advocacy. In addition, the US-Malaysia Exchange Association also hired ASG for support "enhancing the bilateral relationship between Malaysia and the US." Malaysia Exchange directly paid Alexander Strategy less than $20,000 a year, according to Senate records.
Heritage, Belle Haven, and ASG shared the same office in Hong Kong.
Partners and employees
The firm employed several former Tom DeLay aides, including Karl Gallant and former DeLay deputy chief of staff Tony Rudy, who has since pleaded guilty for conspiracy involving Jack Abramoff. It also employed Brian Darling, the former legal counsel to Republican Senator Mel Martinez of Florida (Darling resigned after admitting he was the author of the "Schiavo memo".
ASG paid Christine DeLay, Tom DeLay's wife, $115,000 during the period from 1998 to 2002, as a consultant; paid Linda Feulner (see Belle Haven, above) as a consultant; and hired Julie Doolittle, wife of Congressman John Doolittle, to do bookkeeping for a nonprofit group that Buckham created called the Korea-U.S. Exchange Council. Julie Doolittle has received a subpoena from the grand jury investigating Jack Abramoff, according to her lawyer.
- Birnbaum, Jeffrey H.; Grimaldi, James V. (January 10, 2006). "Lobby Giant Is Scandal Casualty". The Washington Post.
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- Calbreath, Dean (February 5, 2006). "Poway businessman Brent Wilkes funneled campaign donations to key lawmakers as he tried to build a defense empire". The San Diego Union-Tribune.
- "U.S. lobbying inquiry shifts to a second firm". The New York Times. January 8, 2006.
- Thomas B. Edsall (April 17, 2005). "Think Tank's Ideas Shifted As Malaysia Ties Grew: Business Interests Overlapped Policy". Washington Post.
- Zach Coleman and Chaim Estulin (January 28, 2006). "Houses of scandal". The Standard.
- Lobby Firm Is Scandal Casualty Abramoff, DeLay Publicity Blamed For Shutdown, by Jeffrey H. Bimbaum and James V. Grimaldi, The Washington Post, January 10, 2006.
- Exile on K Street, by Jeremy Scahill, The Nation, posted February 2, 2006 (February 20, 2006 issue)
- Former DeLay Aide Enriched By Nonprofit: Bulk of Group's Funds Tied to Abramoff, Washington Post, March 26, 2006