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New York Times on Middle Eastern Lobbying

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As Paul mentioned in today’s “Sunrise,” one of the lead stories in The New York Times looks at the lobbying done by powerful U.S. firms for Arab nations. Writes Eric Lichtblau:

For years, they have been one of the most formidable lobbying forces in town: the elite band of former members of Congress, former diplomats and power brokers who have helped Middle Eastern nations navigate diplomatic waters here on delicate issues like arms deals, terrorism, oil and trade restrictions ....

Now the Washington lobbyists for Arab nations find themselves in a precarious spot, as they try to stay a step ahead of the fast-changing events without being seen as aiding despots and dictators. In Libya, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Yemen, Egypt and other countries in the region, leaders have relied increasingly on Washington’s top lobbyists and lawyers, paying them tens of millions of dollars. Some consultants are tacking toward a more progressive stance in light of pro-democracy protests, while others are dropping their clients altogether because of the tumult.

The article also cites research compiled by the Sunlight Foundation using our Foreign Lobbying Influence Tracker, a searchable database digitized Foreign Agent Registration Act filings. This disclosure data has also supported a lot of our own reporting in recent weeks.

Check out this blog post for an overview of Sunlight’s recent coverage of unrest in the Middle East.