Did Barbour Profit from Katrina Contracts?

Today, on the two year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, an article by Bloomberg News raises serious doubts about how Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour directed the billions of dollars of Katrina recovery funds.

“The Bloomberg report raises some troubling questions, especially about the financial interest Barbour may still have in the lobbying firm that bears his name,” said Sharon Garrison, spokeswoman for John Eaves for Governor. “The report indicates that Barbour makes more from his ties to Washington and the performance of his old firm than he does as Governor. Is this still true today?”

According to Bloomberg, Barbour earns $122,160 a year as governor and receives $300,000 a year from his blind trust. At the time of its initial filing, the trust included $786,666 of stock in the parent company of Barbour Griffith & Rogers Inc. (BGR), “as well as pension and profit-sharing plan benefits from the lobby firm.”

Garrison continued, “The people of Mississippi deserve to know when Barbour sold the stake in his firm, if ever. Did Barbour receive funds from his firm while its clients had business before the state? It all boils down to one question: who do you serve?”

Despite owning more than three quarters of a million dollars of stock in BGR’s parent company, Barbour claimed in a January 15, 2004 Associated Press story that, “It’s plain to everybody that I have nothing to do with the firm. I have no participation in it.”

The Clarion-Ledger reported today that for residents of the Gulf Coast, “promises have gone on for too long, and results have been slow, if at all.” According to the Bloomberg article, BGR “represented at least four clients with business linked to the recovery from the devastation of Hurricane Katrina.” Another Bloomberg story, published on August 16th, showed that “Barbour’s own family and friends… have earned hundreds of thousands of dollars from hurricane-related business.”

Full text of the Bloomberg story follows, and is available online at:

http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601103&sid=a3O8w8_QJ6KU

John Arthur Eaves Press Release
8/29/7