Ex-Pentagon Officials Start a New Consulting Firm in Washington

(Bloomberg) -- Two former top aides to Defense Secretary Jim Mattis are starting a new consulting firm in Washington less than year after leaving the Pentagon.

Sally Donnelly, who was a adviser to Mattis, and Anthony DeMartino, a former deputy chief of staff, have founded Pallas Advisors, a consulting firm with offices in Washington and London that advises clients on “complex national and international security dynamics,” according to the firm’s website.

High-profile consultants connected to President Donald Trump’s administration, such as his former Florida fundraiser Brian Ballard and his former campaign manager Corey Lewandowski, have used their connections to recruit clients seeking to better navigate the White House under Trump’s unconventional leadership style.

Under an executive order Trump issued, his political appointees are prohibited from lobbying other administration officials after leaving so long as he remains in office.

“Because the term ‘lobbying’ can implicate various registration and post-government ethical restrictions, please be assured that the new firm will not be engaging in any lobbying,” Michael Levy, Donnelly’s attorney, said in a statement.

Donnelly announced in February that she was leaving the Defense Department for the private sector after about a year on the job. Before working at the Pentagon, Donnelly was the founder of the Washington consulting firm SBD Advisors, where she also worked with DeMartino.

SBD Advisors helped Amazon.com Inc. craft its messaging and marketing strategies for potential Defense Department cloud-computing contracts, according to Price Floyd, a principal in the firm, which has since been sold and renamed ITC Global Advisors.

Donnelly sold her stake in the firm before starting her job at the Pentagon in January 2017, according to Levy, her lawyer. He said Donnelly didn’t work on the Defense Department’s current $10 billion cloud-computing competition. Competitors have said the winner-take-all contract unfairly favors Amazon, the dominant cloud-services provider.

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