With the military called in to control the demonstrations now underway on the streets of cities in Egypt, here’s a brief look at the country’s attempts to sway Washington more in their favor.
In 2008 and 2009, the country has spent close to $2 million and hired leading DC insiders including former Congressman Bob Livingston, R-La., and democratic lobbyist Tony Podesta to push their military and political agenda. Egypt is also one of the foremost recipients of foreign U.S. foreign aid.
Filings required by the Foreign Agent Registration Act, and digitized and made searchable by Sunlight’s joint project with ProPublica, the Foreign Lobbyist Influence Tracker show thousands of contacts with Congressional staff, members of Congress and executive branch officials and hundreds of contacts made to discuss military issues.
Here’s an excerpt from a 2008 report.
The stakes are not small: Egypt has received more than $50 billion from the United States since 1975.
The United States agreed to large foreign aid payments to Egypt and Israel in 1978 following the historic peace agreement negotiated by Anwar Sadat and Menachem Begin. As the Arab nations economy has eroded, excess American aid has allowed it to put off much-needed changes rather than spur them, critics say.
Lobbyists for Egypt had at least 279 contacts on military issues, the bulk of which occurred when PLM Group accompanied delegations of Egyptian military officers to meet members of Congress, administration officials and representatives from defense contractors including BAE Systems, General Dynamics, General Electric, Raytheon and Lockheed Martin. All five have done business with the Egyptian government, selling tanks, fighter jets, howitzers and radar arrays to its military. At the time of the meeting with the contractors, Podesta Group counted BAE Systems, General Dynamics and Lockheed Martin among its clients, while the Livingston Group represented Raytheon.