Staubach Takes Game to D.C.

Hall of Famer Teams Up With K St. Heavyweights

Posted November 26, 2003 at 1:26pm

After becoming one of football’s biggest stars in Dallas, Roger Staubach now hopes to become an even bigger player in Washington.

The Hall of Fame NFL quarterback and his real estate firm, the Staubach Co., have hired GOP lobbying shop Barbour, Griffith & Rogers to help them get more business from the government in Washington and elsewhere.

The influential lobbying shop will offer the Staubach Co. insights into new rules, regulations and trends in the real estate market so Staubach can position the firm to land new business from agencies and departments.

“You need people with an ear to the ground to tell you what Capitol Hill and the administration is going to do,” said Gregory O’Brien, head of the Staubach Co.’s Washington office. “You can target a little better if you have people who understand the bills, who can say, ‘Hey, XYZ Organization is going to have something, you should make sure you are talking with them.’”

To be sure, Staubach and his 1,700- employee, Dallas-based firm have been one of the most successful tenant brokerage firms in Washington and nationwide for decades.

The Staubach Co. has helped negotiate leases for clients ranging from the Securities and Exchange Commission and the D.C. government to the National Mining Association and the law firm Covington & Burling.

The Staubach Co. makes its money by negotiating leases for government agencies and private companies when they move into new office buildings. By handling the negotiations, Staubach can save thousands of dollars for its clients.

Last year, the Staubach Co. helped negotiate $13.7 billion worth of leases, making it the fourth-largest tenant brokerage firm in 2002.

Now Staubach eyes a new opportunity for business: As federal and state governments continued to expand, Staubach hopes to help them land new office space.

“All of a sudden, the government is the largest owner of facilities,” Staubach said in an interview. “We’ve started to look at some lobbying help because we want to be making sure that we are doing the right things.”

Staubach tapped Barbour, Griffith & Rogers for the job after helping the firm negotiate a lease for the lobbyists’ Pennsylvania Avenue headquarters.

Over lunch, lobbyist Haley Barbour — now the incoming governor of Mississippi — proposed doing some work for Staubach.

The agreement became official in September, and both sides are still feeling their way through it.

“It’s a relatively new relationship,” said Staubach’s O’Brien. “We’re not looking to actively change legislation. We’re looking to understand what comes out.”

In the interview, Staubach, a Republican who has know President Bush for decades, sought to downplay his ties to the GOP and was wary of appearing to profit from his political connections.

“I have not really talked with him,” Staubach said of Bush.

“We were invited to his Christmas party last year — along with about 400 other people,” he deadpanned. “I stood in line like everyone else.”

The pair met years ago when Staubach was a Dallas Cowboy and Bush was an aspiring Texas politician.

Staubach and Bush worked out at the Cooper Aerobics Center in Dallas where, Staubach says, he played basketball with “G.W.” and his brothers.

Not long after, Staubach got his start in politics by helping Bush’s father, George H.W. Bush, and former President Ronald Reagan run on the Republican presidential ticket in 1980.

Two decades later, when Bush ran for president himself, Staubach was a major fundraiser for the campaign. “I helped on some Pioneer efforts,” he said.

Today, Staubach said he has gotten “a little concerned about the fundraising side” of political campaigns.

He and his wife plan to contribute just the “minimum amount” to the Bush-Cheney reelection campaign and have no plans to become a fundraising Pioneer or Ranger. “Not that we couldn’t afford to do it,” he added.

“I’m really supportive and all,” he said. “We all have our thoughts and views, but you can’t leverage those relationships.”

Staubach’s worries aside, his new relationship with one of the best-connected GOP lobbying shops shouldn’t hurt business as governments turn to firms like the Staubach Co. to cut down on their costs.

“It’s just exciting now that there are more agencies — more parts of government — that are looking at maximizing their real estate,” Staubach said. “There is an enormous amount of saving that the government can achieve. We want to make sure that they are doing the right thing.”