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Oracle helps Ashcroft board the terror gravy train

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Former US Attorney General John Ashcroft has hit the ground running in his new lobbying business - mostly thanks to Larry Ellison.

Ellison's Oracle provided $220,000 of the $269,000 banked by The Ashcroft Group, the company reported in a financial statement. Ashcroft started the lobby business last summer with his former chief of staff, David Ayres.

Ellison's interest is pragmatic. The explosion in surveillance and data mining under the PATRIOT act is a potential bonanza for database vendors.

The Oracle founder wasn't deterred by the firm's declared mission.

"The Ashcroft Group will represent big companies with big problems", said a prominent staffer when the lobby firm launched.

But Ashcroft's decision to profit from his inside knowledge has raised a few eyebrows. The company says it's touting for business from foreign governments, raising secrecy issues.

In fact, the godfather of the PATRIOT Act, appears to have a flexible sense of his own patriotic obligations.

Boeing, a major employer in the US, is bidding for a South Korean defense contract, but The Ashcroft Group chose to consult for an Israeli rival. ®

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