Hallliburton sponsored a "Katrina Reconstruction Summit," hosted by Sen. Mel Martinez (R-FL), aimed at offering the company and lobbyists a chance to push "private sector involvement" in the distribution of Katrina reconstruction funds, RAW STORY has learned.
The story, by Dana Milbank in Tuesday's Washington Post, was caught by Talking Points Memo's Josh Marshall. Excerpts from the Post.
As fiscal hawks surrendered, would-be government contractors were meeting in the Hart Senate Office Building to figure out how to get a share of the money. A "Katrina Reconstruction Summit," hosted by Sen. Mel Martinez (R-Fla.) and sponsored by Halliburton, among others, brought some 200 lobbyists, corporate representatives and government staffers to a room overlooking the Capitol for a five-hour conference that included time for a "networking break" and advice on "opportunities for private sector involvement."
Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn.) sent his budget director, Bill Hoagland, who cautioned that federal Katrina spending might not exceed $200 billion. But John Clerici, from a law firm that helped sponsor the event, told the group that spending would "probably be larger" than $200 billion. "It's going to be spent in a fast and furious way," Clerici said.
Sipping coffee from china cups and munching on doughnuts, the corporate crowd heard Joe McInerney, president of the American Hotel and Lodging Association, predict: "I think we'll see Mardi Gras in New Orleans to some extent this year."
Originally published on Tuesday September 27, 2005.