With an eye toward winning federal money, the organization charged with designing a memorial on the former site of New York's World Trade Center has contracted with a lobbying firm.
Wexler & Walker filed registration papers this week to lobby on behalf of the non-profit organization, known as the National September 11 Memorial & Museum at the World Trade Center Foundation Inc. The disclosure says that the Washington lobbying shop will push for federal funding for the project in federal fiscal year 2012, which starts next October.
Joel Malina, Wexler & Walker’s executive vice president, said he was struck by the progress made on the project when he visited the site last week. “It’s an incredible thing that they’re putting together. This is going to be a truly national memorial,” he said.
The memorial organization has raised about $700 million for construction costs, he said, with about half coming from private donors and half coming from public sources. It’s hoping that the federal government might pick up some of the costs of operating the memorial and museum. Malina said he doesn’t have a target figure yet, adding, “We think that this is a worthy use of federal dollars.”
The memorial is scheduled to open on Sept. 11, 2011, and the museum is scheduled to open one year later.
The organization has registered with a lobbying firm once before. From 2009 until this year, it worked with Park Strategies, founded by former Sen. Alfonse D’Amato (R-N.Y.), while pushing for the issuance of a commemorative medal. A bill became law in August to strike not more than 2 million silver medals for the 10th anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks.
The registration for Wexler & Walker lists seven of the firm’s lobbyists, including Malina. He said Wexler & Walker is representing the organization at a “heavily discounted” rate. “This is something that we feel very strongly about at our firm,” he said.
Updated at 2:33 p.m. with Malina's comment.