This week, more pressure is put on President Donald Trump to disclose his business dealings with Saudi Arabia, Democrats allege the president intervened in the plans for building a new FBI building to protect his Washington D.C. hotel and Ivanka Trump is accused of providing false sales figures for Trump building projects.Continue reading
A Sunlight analysis of international open data surveys concludes that many of the world's top oil-producing nations release very little open data.Continue reading
Obama sits down for formal talks with King Abdullah on Friday. A review of DOJ records show the Gulf kingdom also relies on Washington lobbyists and PR firms to advance its interests stateside.Continue reading
As winter has turned to a democratic spring in the Arab world, the Kingdom of Bahrain has found itself swept... View ArticleContinue reading
If nothing else, Jeffrey Smith's story in the Washington Post proves that Mark Twain's critique of congressional investigations still holds: "One does not blindfold one's self in order to investigate an object." So it is in the matter of PMA Group, the lobbying group that was a top donor to members of the Defense Appropriations Subcommittee who were top earmarkers for PMA Group's clients.
The Committee on Standards of Official Conduct--better known as the House Ethics Committee--looked at the hundreds of thousands of dollars that PMA Group and its clients contributed to lawmakers and the ...
In the mercenary culture of Washington, discretion is often the better part of valor. There wasn't much of the former when Mark Penn, who at the time was the senior strategist for the campaign of Sen. Hillary Clinton and also chief executive of P.R. firm Burson-Marsteller, met with representatives of the government of Colombia. They sought passage of a trade deal that Penn's other boss, Clinton, had opposed on the campaign trail. Penn ended up a former top strategist. Over on Real Time, my colleague Anupama has unearthed a slightly more valorous lobbyist-turned-campaign official. Thomas Loeffler, a former member of Congress, a bundler for President George W. Bush's 2000 and 2004 campaigns, and now co-chair of the McCain campaign, is a registered foreign agent (that is, a lobbyist) for the government of Saudi Arabia. Before joining McCain's campaign, Loeffler and his firm's employees averaged almost ten contacts a month with U.S. government officials (including Sen. McCain) during which they would promote the interests of the Saudi government. Since Loeffler joined McCain's campaign, those contacts have altogether stopped. But the payments from the Saudi government haven't. The Saudis have paid Loeffler's firm $3.5 million, even though it's had just one contact with federal officials since Loeffler joined McCain's campaign. Running for the White House in 2000, Sen. John McCain described an iron triangle of "special interests, campaign finance and lobbying." And also, "money, lobbyists and legislation." William Safire pointed out the two sets of three corners, but note the one in common: lobbyists. Even those like McCain (and more recently Sen. Barack Obama), who decry their influence seem to end up in the middle of the triangle.Continue reading