High-tech and the revolving door

Oracle calls on John Ashcroft to deliver Justice Dept business, and former attorney general delivers.

In the wake of the Abramoff scandal, the pundit class speaks openly of a "culture of corruption" in Washington. Now it seems John Ashcroft is raising a few eyebrows by lobbying both for American corporations and their foreign competitors, the Chicago Trib reports.

"One would have thought that a former attorney general wouldn't be doing that," said John Schmidt, a former associate attorney general in the Clinton administration, who is now a lawyer at Mayer Brown. "To take the kind of prestige and stature of the attorney general (and lobby) ... It seems a little demeaning of the office, honestly."

Attorneys general, while not always apolitical, have tended to avoid the role of "a hired gun selling his connections," said Charles Tiefer, a former deputy general counsel to the U.S. House of Representatives and author "Veering Right, How the Bush Administration Subverts the Law for Conservative Causes."

And who is Ashcroft's biggest customer? Larry Ellison, who accounts for $220,000 of the Ashcroft Group's $269,000 revenue so far. And Larry is one happy customer.

[Oracle] won Justice Department approval of a multi-billion acquisition less than a month after hiring Ashcroft in October.

One of the world's biggest software companies, Oracle makes large databases, including some used by intelligence services, and plans to use Ashcroft as a consultant for business opportunities on homeland security issues, according to a company spokesman.

The author of "The Eagle Soars" has no compunction about representing foreign companies, not even when they go head to head with key American companies. AG booked $20,000 from Israel Aircraft Industries, a direct competitor of Boeing, The Register points out.

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