For Republicans, hiring lobbyists to handle the day-to-day goings on of Congress seems to have become a normal occurrence these days, so Academi lobbyist Jeff Shockey being named Staff Director of the House Intelligence Committee may not have been particularly surprising if not for one important detail.
Academi, a military defense contractor, has been around since 1997. Before 2011 they were known as Xe Services, but prior to that they went by a much more noticeable name – Blackwater.
The company had its share of controversy in the Blackwater era, but one of the more notable instances was a House Intelligence Committee investigation involving secret contracts that they signed with the Central Intelligence Agency for their participation in covert raids in Iraq and Afghanistan. Shockey’s new job, according to the Republic Report, will partly be to “oversee the agencies that do business with his former employer.”
As Staff Director of the committee, Shockey will also work with other companies who do business with government agencies, with Koch Industries, General Dynamics and Boeing being a notable few.
Roll Call reported that this isn’t the first time Shockey has left his lobbyist job for a House Committee position. For six years he served as the deputy staff director for the House Appropriations Committee, where he “managed the committee’s professional staff and oversaw the twelve annual appropriations bills, supplemental appropriations bills and continuing resolutions.”