Following a damaging Associated Press report that Blackwater Worldwide "repaired and repainted its trucks immediately after a deadly September shooting in Baghdad, making it difficult to determine whether enemy gunfire provoked the attack," the private military company has hired more lobbyists. The firm Womble, Carlyle, Sandridge & Rice will serve as Blackwater's "D.C. representative for contracting and acquisition issues," reports O'Dwyer's. Lobbyists working for Blackwater include Jimmy Broughton, who was former Senator Jesse Helms's chief of staff; Mark Harkins, who worked for Representative Brad Miller; and Kevin Jones, who worked for former Treasury Secretary Lloyd Bentsen. Lobbyists.info also lists C&M Capitolink and Gregory F. Hahn among Blackwater's lobbying firms. Regarding the truck repairs, a Blackwater spokesperson said they "would have been done at the government's direction," perhaps referring to an obligation under the firm's contract with the State Department that it maintain its own vehicles. Blackwater has received more than $1 billion in federal contracts since 2001.
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