NRA Leaders

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Member Profile

Joe Allbaugh

Board Member, Former President

Biography

Joe Allbaugh, born in 1952, has been active in Republican politics since volunteering for Barry Goldwater’s presidential campaign as a 12-year-old. After spending his early career working for Republican politicians in Texas and Oklahoma, Allbaugh rose to national prominence when he served as campaign manager for George W. Bush’s successful 2000 presidential run. His duties included vetting Dick Cheney for the vice presidency.

In 2004, Cheney, while speaking at the NRA convention, said, “I’m…delighted to see my good friend, former director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, Joe Allbaugh … It’s always good to have a firearm if you get into real trouble, but the next best thing is Joe Allbaugh.” Allbaugh was confirmed as President Bush’s first Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) director in 2001. Allbaugh hired Michael Brown to serve as general counsel and then tapped him as his replacement for FEMA director when he left the agency in 2003 to work as a lobbyist. As of 2011, Allbaugh International Group, LLC was a “George Mason” level donor in NRA’s corporate donor “Ring of Freedom,” meaning that his lobbying firm has given the NRA between $50,000 and $99,999. The firm’s clients have included KBR, a subsidiary of Halliburton, and British Petroleum (BP), who paid the Allbaugh International Group $60,000 in 2007.

Statements (7 total)

  • Republican Party (GOP)
    In a June 2012 email to POLITICO, Allbaugh wrote about President Barack Obama, “Our leader is more pomp than circumstance. Again, no leadership. Hell, I could do better than he is doing. All hat, no cattle.”

    Sources [1]

  • Lobbying Activity

    In 2005, in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, the Shaw Group—represented by Allbaugh’s lobbying firm—was awarded $200 million in no-bid federal government contracts to repair damage done by the hurricane. Allbaugh’s hand-selected replacement as director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), Michael Brown, was leading the agency at the time. When criticized for lobbying and consulting with an agency he used to head, Allbaugh responded, “I don't buy the 'revolving door' argument. This is America. We all have a right to make a living."

    Sources [1] [2]

  • Political Corruption

    In 2005, in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, the Shaw Group—represented by Allbaugh’s lobbying firm—was awarded $200 million in no-bid federal government contracts to repair damage done by the hurricane. Allbaugh’s hand-selected replacement as director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), Michael Brown, was leading the agency at the time. When criticized for lobbying and consulting with an agency he used to head, Allbaugh responded, “I don't buy the 'revolving door' argument. This is America. We all have a right to make a living."

    Sources [1] [2]

  • Lobbying Activity

    Allbaugh lobbied for tax perks for the River Birch Landfill company in the wake of Hurricane Katrina in 2005. In 2010, the FBI raided River Birch’s offices as part of a criminal investigation into allegations of “pay-to-play” politics between River Birch and local government officials in Jefferson Parish.

    Sources [1] [2]

  • Political Corruption

    In 2003, shortly after Allbaugh became FEMA director, FEMA awarded a large emergency water supply contract to Lipsey Mountain Water. The move was unusual because Lipsey had no production capacity and only 15 employees—they had to purchase their water directly from Nestle Waters North America, the former holder of the contract. The Lipsey family is also is also one of the nation’s largest gun wholesalers. Like Allbaugh International Group, Lipsey’s Inc. is an NRA corporate donor.

    Sources [1] [2]

  • Republican Party (GOP)

    In 2003, shortly after Allbaugh became FEMA director, FEMA awarded a large emergency water supply contract to Lipsey Mountain Water. The move was unusual because Lipsey had no production capacity and only 15 employees—they had to purchase their water directly from Nestle Waters North America, the former holder of the contract. The Lipsey family is also is also one of the nation’s largest gun wholesalers. Like Allbaugh International Group, Lipsey’s Inc. is an NRA corporate donor.

    Sources [1] [2]

  • General Statements

    In May 2001, Allbaugh was called to testify before a Senate committee while serving as the director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). “Many are concerned that federal disaster assistance may have evolved into both an oversized entitlement program and a disincentive to effective state and local risk management,” he told the committee. “Expectations of when the federal government should be involved and the degree of involvement may have ballooned beyond what is an appropriate level.” Four years later, FEMA received widespread criticism for their inadequate response to the Hurricane Katrina disaster. At that time, FEMA was headed by the man Allbaugh handpicked to be his replacement: Michael Brown.

    Sources [1] [2]

  • Political Corruption

    In 2001, during Allbaugh’s FEMA director confirmation process, he indicated in a disclosure that he had never been a party to an administrative or civil proceeding. In fact, in 1990, Allbaugh participated in bankruptcy proceedings, listing liabilities of nearly $300,000.

    Sources [1]

  • Political Corruption

    Allbaugh was involved in “Funeralgate,” a controversy in Texas during the late 1990s. Eliza May, director of Texas Funeral Service Commission, was forced out of her job after she launched an investigation into the business practices of Service Corporation International (SCI), the nation’s largest end-of-life services provider. SCI founder Roger Waltrip was a personal friend of the Bush family and made large contributions to Bush’s political campaign and his father’s presidential library. SCI officials met with Allbaugh, then Texas Governor George W. Bush’s chief-of-staff, a number of times prior to May’s dismissal to complain about her investigation. May’s filed a wrongful termination lawsuit against SCI and the State of Texas, eventually settling for over $200,000.

    Sources [1] [2]