Ex-federal employees and dubious foreign lobbying clients
The Government Accountability Office issued a report on former federal employees registering as foreign agents when they lobby for other countries. It's mainly about paperwork and compliance, but the appendix offers an interesting snapshot of some of the Washington influence that foreign nations buy at very nice sums from our former public servants.
GAO identified 29 senior government officials who left government between 2000 and 2007 and went on to work as influence peddlers for other nations. The former officials weren't named, and they haven't been accused of wrongdoing. But it's interesting to see some of the clients and the nature of the work. A selection:
A former senior Commerce Department official "provided advice and assistance in connection with maintaining and strengthening Haiti’s relations with the U.S. government."
Here is Haiti's record on human rights, according to the State Department:
Despite some improvements, the government's human rights record remained poor. The following human rights problems were reported: alleged unlawful killings by HNP officers; ineffective measures to address killings by members of gangs and other armed groups; HNP participation in kidnappings; overcrowding and poor sanitation in prisons; arbitrary threats and arrests; prolonged pretrial detention; an inefficient judiciary subject to significant influence by the executive and legislative branches; severe corruption in all branches of government; violence and societal discrimination against women; child abuse, internal trafficking of children, and child domestic labor; and ineffective enforcement of trade union organizing rights.
A former senior Transportation Department official "provided government relations services to the Royal Embassy of Saudi Arabia. The purpose of the government service was to defend and advance the Royal Embassy of Saudi Arabia’s international trade and other interests before the government of the United States."
Here is Saudi Arabia's record on human rights:
During the year, the following significant human rights problems were reported: no right to peacefully change the government; infliction of severe pain by judicially sanctioned corporal punishments; beatings and other abuse; arbitrary arrest and detention, sometimes incommunicado; denial of fair public trials; political prisoners; exemption for the rule of law for some individuals and lack of judicial independence; restrictions on civil liberties such as the freedoms of speech, including the Internet, assembly, association, movement, and religion; corruption and lack of government transparency. Violence against women and discrimination on the basis of gender, religion, sect, and ethnicity were common. Limitations on the rights of foreign workers remained a severe problem.
A former senior official from the U.S.-China Economic and Security Commission "provided advice concerning allegations of misconduct directed at President Sassou-Nguesso by creditors of the Republic of Congo."
According to the Boston Globe, creditors Hemisphere Associates and Kensington International "say the thousands of pages of documents they have compiled reveal hidden identities, multiple sham traders for every deal, and the son of President Sassou-Nguesso overseeing most of the sales as a private businessman. The transactions were designed to 'loot the Congolese national economy,' according to a lawsuit filed by Kensington in New York this past May."
A former senior State Department official "provided advice, expertise, and assistance to aid the State Intelligence Agency of the Republic of Indonesia."
Indonesia's State Intelligence Agency, Badan Intelijen Negara, goes by the acronym BIN. Here is Australia's Sydney Morning Herald:
In September 2004, mounting evidence suggests, BIN orchestrated the murder of the human rights activist Munir Said Thalib on a Garuda flight to Amsterdam.