"Agreeing with that assessment is Bechtel, which signed up the Al-Bunnia Trading Company as its first Iraqi subcontractor to work on the reconstruction of Iraq's Al Mat bridge. "Al Bunnia was vetted through the [US-led Coalition Provisional Authority]," Bechtel spokesman Howard Menaker said in an e-mail. "During the background investigation, there was nothing found that indicated we could not work with Al Bunnia. Further, there were additional informal discussions with other individuals and advisors to us but again nothing indicated wrong doing nor that we would be precluded from doing business with Bunnia." Another firm with close ties to the White House that's angling to help clients win Iraq contracts, GOP lobbyist Haley Barbour's New Bridge Strategies, proudly announces on its website that its local partner in a consortium bidding on a contract is "led by the Al-bunnia family who are a leading commercial group in Iraq with over 80 years experience in Iraq." "