Taser lobbyist who targeted Homeland Security lands top immigration enforcement job
By Brian Seay
A former lobbyist for Taser International was quietly appointed to serve as the Chief of Staff for the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency earlier this month, according to a report by The Intercept.
For more than a decade, Thomas Blank served as a corporate lobbyist, helping to secure federal contracts for companies such as Taser, now known as Axon, which sells non-lethal electroshock weapons and body cameras. His efforts netted one lobbying firm at least $100,000 for lobbying efforts aimed at the Department of Homeland Security — the agency under which ICE, his new employer, operates.
According to the Lobbying Disclosure Act Database, Blank’s lobbying efforts in the third quarter of 2008 netted his employer, Wexler and Walker Public Policy Associates, a $50,000 payout. The client in that disclosure is listed as Taser International, and the “specific lobbying issue” dealt with the “use of less lethal technologies/ electronic control devices by Homeland Security agencies.”
A few months later, in the fourth quarter of 2008, another disclosure form names Blank and outlines another $50,000 payout for Wexler and Walker for the same client dealing with the same lobbying issue – also aimed at the Department of Homeland Security. A disclosure from 2007 details