Outsourcing Firms Bring Lobbying Business to the U.S.

"As the 2008 U.S. election starts to sizzle, the Indian outsourcing firms have returned to win Washington over as veritable insiders, slicker and better connected than ever," reports Anand Giridharadas. Nasscom, a trade group that represents Indian outsourcing firms, has hired Robert Blackwill, a Barbour, Griffith and Rogers lobbyist also working for former Iraq prime minister Ayad Allawi. Indian executives have "met with aides to all the major presidential hopefuls," while their lobbyists have met with more than 100 U.S. Congressional offices. The Indian outsourcing firms are working "with research firms like the Brookings Institution to generate sympathetic research," and are "waging proxy battles through local front organizations, which spare them from appearing to be foreigners with an agenda. They provide facts, figures and arguments to trade groups like the Information Technology Association of America and to Indian-American political groups. Then they watch as those groups arrange for seemingly neutral voices to champion their causes in the newspapers or before Congress."