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Allawi Lobby Contract Just One Among Many

Spencer Ackerman - TPM Muckraker

August 25, 2007

It's not just Barbour Griffith & Rogers, and it's not just Ayad Allawi. Ten different U.S. firms are registered through the Department of Justice's Foreign Agents Registration Act database as having active contracts with various Iraqi factions.

BGR isn't even making most of its Iraq-related money off Allawi: for the six-month period between January 1 and May 31, the Kurdistan Regional Government -- the political entity ruling the three Kurdish provinces of Iraq -- paid the firm $381,487.71 for its various services, which, from its mandatory reporting, includes a lot of phone calls to BRG President Bob Blackwill's old friend at the National Security Council, Meghan O'Sullivan.

A BGR lobbyist described as the point person on the Iraq contract, Loren Monroe, did not return TPMmuckraker's phone calls.

BGR is by a large margin the powerhouse firm representing Iraqi clients. Holding a contract that will be worth $100,000 come September 9 is the much smaller Focus on Advocacy and Advancement of International Relations, run by a certain Muthanna al-Hanooti out of Dearborn and Washington D.C. Since September 13, 2006, Hanooti has represented the Iraqi Islamic Party, the largest constituent part of the larger Sunni parliamentary bloc, known as the Tawafuq. In its filing, the IIP lists its "suggestions for how to make Iraq a success story for democracy" -- which include not arbitrarily detaining Sunnis and negotiating with "the Iraqi Armed Resistance (not foreign fighters)" -- but the IIP is further away from power than ever. Last week, Nouri al-Maliki unveiled a new governing coalition that left the IIP, the rest of the Tawafuq and another Sunni faction in the cold. Attempts to contact Hanooti were unsuccessful.

By far the strangest arrangement is the Tawafuq's. The Tawafuq reached out to an organization in Michigan called Zenith Consulting in Michigan, run by Mohammed Alomary. (The first reporting period for the arrangement has yet to end.) Alomary, reached on his cellphone, said that he "never got a dime for anything," and that he dispensed informal advice on a "volunteer basis" regarding U.S.-Iraqi relations. "But I'm not doing anything actively," he says. "Basically I have to close off the file." Among the hassles: the reporting requirements. Consider the out-of-power Tawafuq a long way from a white-shoe law firm.

The other contracts -- mostly to represent Kurdish interests -- include:

* The energy-consulting firm FWH & Associates, which represents on a "pro bono" basis the former Iraqi foreign minister and Sunni elder statesman Adnan Pachachi

* Cleary, Gottlieb, Steen & Hamilton, recipient of over $2 million in the past six months to advise the Iraqi Finance Ministry on restructuring its debt

* Virginia-based firm Slocum & Boddie, holder of another contract with the Kurdistan Regional Government (we'll get the amount for you in a future post)

* The KRG's Washington liaison office, unsurprisingly, holds a contract to represent the KRG

* The Washington-based American Business Development Group has a KRG advocacy contract as well, but hasn't reached the six-month financial disclosure mark yet

* The Herald Group has been a subcontractor for BGR on the Kurdistan contract from May to September 2006, for which it earned $12,000; it resigned with BGR on August 3


:: Article nr. 35664 sent on 25-aug-2007 15:14 ECT

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