-by Bill Berkowitz
October 27, 2011- In Quentin Tarantino's film Pulp Fiction, Harvey Keitel plays Winston Wolf, an underworld problem solver. When two hit men, Vincent Vega (John Travolta) and Jules Winfield (Samuel L. Jackson) accidentally shoot their informant Marvin in the face while driving, "The Wolf" is called in take charge of the situation. Under "The Wolf's" direction, the car is meticulously cleaned, the body is hidden in the trunk, and their bloody clothes are disposed of. "The Wolf" has taken care of everything in a timely manner.
While there's no murder scene to be cleansed, Texas Governor Rick Perry's campaign is shot full of holes. His poll numbers are down, his debate performances were wretched, his credibility is shot, and his re-birthing of the birther card displayed continued poor judgment. His newly unveiled economic plan is a Forbesian rehash. For Team Perry and his billionaire backers, it's time to call in the big guns.
And that's where Joe Allbaugh, who, according to Karen Hughes' book Ten Minutes from Normal dubbed the Texas Bush team of Karl Rove, himself, and Karen Hughes, "the brain, the brawn and the bite," comes in. At 6 feet 4 inches and 275 pounds, Allbaugh was clearly "the brawn" of the group that was later called the "iron triangle" by the national media.'"
A longtime comrade of George W. Bush, Allbaugh worked as then-Texas Gov. Bush's chief of staff before running the Bush's 2000 campaign, including the ruckus in Florida over the recounting of votes.
As a reward for Bush's victory, Allbaugh was named the director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
From that station, Allbaugh proceeded to single-handedly attempt to destroy the agency. When Hurricane Katrina hit in August 2005, Allbaugh, who had resigned from FEMA in 2003, when it was folded into the Department of Homeland Security (Bush chose the inexperienced Michael "Brownie, you're doing a heckuva job" Brown – an Allbaugh friend – for the FEMA job), scurried off to New Orleans in search of mega-rebuilding contracts for clients of his company.
In September 2005, I wrote a piece for Media Transparency titled "Joe Allbaugh's Moneymaking Mission to the Gulf Coast."
The storyline: Less than two weeks after Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans and the Gulf Coast, Allbaugh sailed into town seeking business for the Allbaugh Company – a company he co-founded with his wife, Diane. Allbaugh's mission, according to the Washington Post was "helping his clients get business from perhaps the worst natural disaster in the nation's history."
As I reported at the time, "Allbaugh told the newspaper that he was there 'just trying to lend my shoulder to the wheel, trying to coordinate some private-sector support that the government always asks for.'"
Patti Giglio, an Allbaugh spokesperson, told The Hill, "He is putting his shoulder to the wheel to mobilize the private sector, getting stuff in, getting what needs to be done done." Giglio claimed that Allbaugh was not here to help his clients secure government contracts. "The first thing he says when he sits down with a client is, 'Don't hire me if you're looking for a government contract.'"
However, as the Center for Media and Democracy's SourceWatch points out in its profile of Allbaugh, "His clients were among the first to win federal contracts to help with hurricane recovery: Shaw [Group Inc.] won a bid potentially worth $100 million to refurbish buildings and provide emergency housing, and [Halliburton Co. subsidiary] KBR received $29.8 million from the Pentagon to rebuild Navy bases in Louisiana and Mississippi."
The Allbaugh-Dick Cheney connection goes back some time and includes the work he did with Cheney, the former chairman of Halliburton, in vetting George W. Bush's vice presidential running mate, which of course turned out to be Dick Cheney.