Firms vie for homeland security business, legislators demur

| Friday, October 18, 2002

In the last 10 weeks, lobbyists representing at least 50 companies with financial interests in domestic security have filed registration forms with the clerk of the U.S. House of Representatives, The Hill newspaper reports.

The companies want a piece of nearly $3 billion that Congress is estimated to approve this fiscal year for homeland security. But legislators say they're weary of pitches on behalf of various high-tech gadgets and gizmos.

Sen. Fritz Hollings (D-SC), chairman of the Commerce, Justice, State and Judiciary Appropriations Subcommittee, and Rep. Frank Wolf (R-VA), his counterpart on the House panel, have reportedly been so beseiged, they've stopped meeting with the lobbyists.

"In fact, I don't see them anymore," Hollings told the newspaper. "I just tell them to go over and see (Transportation) Secretary (Norman) Mineta."

Meanwhile, Rep. Wolf sidestepped the lobbyists by helping to set up a series of product fairs where invited high-tech companies can display their products to senior government and military officials.