Gaddafi loses support of lobbyists

Elise Young Contributor
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Libyan leader Moammar Gaddafi’s June 9 letter to Congress isn’t the first time he’s sought to have his voice heard on Capitol Hill. 

Until recently, the Gaddafi government has retained powerful lobbying firms to promote Libyan relations with the U.S. government.

Since President Jimmy Carter’s administration, Gaddafi has hired lobbyists to advise him and to gain access to Washington insiders, as well as to promote a certain image of the Libyan government, said Frank Duggan, president of The Victims of Pan-Am Flight 103, Inc., an organization that offers support to families affected by the 1988 bombing incident attributed to Libyan terrorists.

But after two decades of enjoying access to American lobbyists and consultants, Gaddafi appears now to be without a high powered friend on the Hill to do his bidding.

“Today, many of these firms realize what a really bad guy Gaddafi is,” Duggan told The Daily Caller. Duggan also said that the Libyan leader’s new financial situation may be crimping his Washington lobbying activities.

Several firms, including Washington, D.C.-based Fahmy Hudome International, have lobbied for Libya to be removed from the U.S. State Department’s list of state sponsors of terrorism. The country was actually removed from that list in 2006.

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Randa Fahmy Hudome, president of the agency, is a former lawyer who served as Associate Deputy Secretary of Energy under President George W. Bush.

Fahmy Hudome said she worked for the Libyan government from 2004 to 2007 and helped Libyan officials comply with the rules necessary for removal from the list.

She said she considers the lobbying successful.

“Nobody regrets it,” she said. “At the time, Libya had done everything the United States wanted them to.”

According to Bloomberg, C&O Resources, a D.C.-based consulting firm, also advised Libya on working with the U.S. government. The firm’s CEO, Sandra Charles, was not available for comment.

C&O Resources earned almost $400,000 in its first year working with the Libyan government, and Fahmy Hudome was paid $375,000, according to Bloomberg.

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Another lobbying group, The Monitor Group of Cambridge, Mass., advocated for the Libyan government – it was retained by Gaddafi’s government from 2006 to 2008.

“Monitor supported, during a period of genuine promise, the processes of reform and modernization in Libya,” said Stephen Jennings, the group’s managing partner, in a press release. “While we stand by the majority of our work in and for that country, we have been resolute in our determination to find the facts, remedy errors, and ensure that we learn from them.”

But Libya isn’t the only turbulent government that has hired high powered lobbyists to do business on Capitol Hill.

D.C. lobbying firm DCI Group has worked for a faction within the Myanmar government. Nine years ago, the firm worked to help combat the country’s opium trade and the AIDS epidemic, said Doug Goodyear, CEO of the group, in a press release. Those initiatives were important to the United States, as well as to Myanmar, he said.

“Our firm believed there was a historic opportunity to play a role in helping the country and its people reengage on the world stage,” Goodyear said.

“However, eight months into this effort it became clear that engagement between the U.S. government and Myanmar was impossible.”