Libyan Dictator Moammar Gaddafi was killed today in his hometown of Sirte, a showman to the end, “brandishing a golden pistol.” Lobbying, in many ways, was part of his political arsenal that boosted Gaddafi’s international prowess, helped protect him from additional sanctions and promoted the business interests of the Libyan ruling elite and U.S. business. We’ve covered several of these instances in the past. Here’s a look at a few:
Paul Blumenthal reported, on the Monitor Group, an international firm that contracted with the Libyan dictator, which should have filled under the Foreign Agent Registrant Act. “Monitor was actively engaged in deluding a delusional dictator for profit by promising to influence policy and public opinion, something for which they probably should have registered to do with the Department of Justice.” Here is a list of positive media mentions that the Monitor group helped propagate.
Aside from clandestine lobbying, Muammar Gaddafi, who has been in control after he took over in 1969, hired DC lobby shops Blank Rome, The Livingston Group and White and Case for over $2 million to lobby on their behalf in 2008 and 2009, Foreign Agent Registrant Act (FARA) records show.
U.S businesses have also lobbied to access to Libyan petroleum and markets, including ExxonMobil, BP, ConocoPhillips, Chevron, Marathon Oil, Occidental Petroleum, Shell, and Hess Corporation. The non-energy firms lobbying on Libya include Boeing, Caterpillar, Dow Chemical, Fluor Corporation, Halliburton, Motorola, and Raytheon. These lobbying efforts were bolstered by the creation of The U.S.-Libya Business Association to court U.S. public opinion.
Another way that Gaddafi promoted himself internationally was by whitewashing his image with a charitable organization. The Livingston Group promoted this charity in 2008 and 2009. The UN accepted the Gaddafi Foundation, in part, to diversify the geographical representation of the non-governmental organizations.
The courtship of the U.S. government continued after the fall of Gaddafi. Ambassador Ali Suleiman Aujali, the diplomat who made headlines when he defected from the Gaddafi Government, has started DC outreach and registered with FARA.