- The Washington Times - Saturday, July 6, 2002

Cargo haulers, bail bondsmen and a host of other corporate interests are hard at work trying to shape a new Homeland Security Department that could regulate them or give them business or both.
"It's going to be a huge food fight," said Jonathan Winer, an attorney and former Senate staff member. "There's something for everyone here."
It is not yet known what the new department will do, who will run it or how it will spend its $37 billion annual budget. Some companies and industry groups see opportunity; others are trying to fend off problems.
The Fechheimer Brothers Co. of Cincinnati hopes to sell uniforms to the new agency. Michigan-based Second Chance Body Armor is offering protective gear.
Pennsylvania-based Cross Current Corp. is promoting a high-tech, information-sharing system it is building for law enforcement in its home state as a model the new department may want to buy.
The company is making its case with help from a lobbying firm and letters from Pennsylvania officials. Company executives met in Washington recently with their congressman, Republican Rep. James C. Greenwood.
"He has also tried to make sure we're talking to the right people," company co-owner Sam Hirsh said.
Others are lobbying on the department's makeup what they want included, what they want out.
The Business Software Alliance, for example, wants it to include a cyber-security agency.
The American Farm Bureau Federation and the National Cattlemen's Beef Association are concerned about President Bush's plan to move the Department of Agriculture's Animal and Plant Inspection Service to the new department.
"We don't like it," federation spokesman David Lane said. "We're all for homeland security, but on that particular thing we've got concerns that there are aspects of that that aren't going to get paid much attention to."
Those include disease control and animal crop damage. The federation and beef association shared their concerns with White House domestic security adviser Tom Ridge this week at a meeting with about 40 agricultural groups.
Besides the inspection service, Homeland Security would take in the customs and immigration services, Federal Emergency Management Agency, Border Patrol, Coast Guard, Secret Service and Transportation Security Administration.
The Capital Bonding Corp. is lobbying for changes in immigration policy that could mean more business.
The Pennsylvania company issues surety bonds to noncitizens who are facing immigration action and tracks down those who skip out on the bonds. It wants the government to either bar illegal immigrants from posting cash bonds or do a better job monitoring those who do, perhaps by hiring private companies to keep track.
Company President Vincent Smith said cash bonds make it easy for terrorists to avoid leaving the kind of paper trail created by bail bond companies.
The company is in the district of Republican Rep. George W. Gekas, who is sponsoring legislation that includes some of the changes Capital Bonding wants.
Mr. Smith said he is a supporter of Mr. Gekas and was recently involved in a fund-raiser for him.
"I am encouraging bail bond agents I do business with to pledge their support to lawmakers specifically on homeland security issues," Mr. Smith said. His company has also shared its INS proposals with the federal anti-terrorism task force.
U.S. Chamber of Commerce lobbyist Bruce Josten said businesses will want to make sure the non-security sides of customs and immigration run smoothly after reorganization, allowing goods to move and workers to enter the country.
The American Trucking Association shares the Chamber's concern about customs.
"We're on guard in two ways: We're on guard as far as national security is concerned, and we're on guard against any misguided security-related regulations that would hamper the way we do our job," spokesman Mike Russell said.
Mr. Josten said it is only logical for industries to resist a change in who oversees them, even if they weren't entirely pleased with the status quo.
"The devil you know is always better than the devil you don't know," Mr. Josten said. "Because you know how to play the game, you know who the people are, you know where the players are and you know how to work the system and play through."
United Parcel Service spokesman David Bolger said his company is interested in the reorganization's effect on security, cargo hauling and a UPS financial segment that provides business loans.
In addition, a spokesman said the company is leery about being overseen by both the Department of Transportation and the Homeland Security Department.
"We are issue-driven, not necessarily department-driven," Mr. Bolger said.
"Just like water, we will go directly to wherever the issue is discussed."

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