McAuliffe's Ties to Lobbyists
Terry McAuliffe's ties to lobbyists go beyond the political friendships that prompted a group of supporters to host a fundraiser for him this week in the offices of the BGR Group, a prominent Washington lobbying firm. For nearly 10 years, McAuliffe was the managing partner of a law firm with its own thriving lobbying practice.
The Washington Post reported this morning on Brian Moran's criticism of the fundraiser and effort to tar McAuliffe's long history as a Washington political insider.
That history includes his affiliation with the Washington law firm, McAuliffe Kelly Raffaelli, where he was managing partner until his departure in 1994. Although McAuliffe did not lobby himself, news clips and federal lobbying disclosure forms show that others with the firm represented the nuclear power industry, a chemical company, the telecommunications industry, fast-food chains and the foreign governments of Taiwan, India and Turkey. The company came under fire for some of that work.
The details of McAuliffe Kelly Rafaelli's foreign lobbying are available under the Foreign Agents Registration Act, which requires companies to disclose to the Department of Justice any advocacy they do on behalf of foreign governments. To read the disclosure forms, clink on the links below.
- July 1990
- January 1991
- July 1991
- January 1992
- July 1992
- January 1993
- July 1993
- January 1994
- July 1994
Perhaps most controversial was the company's representation of Turkey at a time when that government was the subject of international scrutiny for alleged human rights abuses. The firm was criticized by name in a report called "The Torturers' Lobby" published in 1992 by the Center for Public Integrity.
The McAuliffe campaign said the company's work for Turkey had to do with a longstanding dispute between Armenia and Turkey over a period of history after World War I when the Ottoman Empire killed, by some estimates, more than 1 million Armenians. Every year, Armenia seeks legislation in Congress characterizing this period as the Armenian Genocide, and every year, the Turkish government opposes the legislation.
Also controversial was the firm's representation of the American Nuclear Energy Council at a time when the organization was trying to build public support for a nuclear waste dump at Yucca Mountain, Nevada. According to published reports at the time (which the McAuliffe campaign doesn't dispute), the lobbyist working the issue, Edward E. Allison, counted Clark County, Nev., as a client at the same time even though the county opposed the nuclear dump.
The company's advocacy of India drew headlines here and in that country not because of controversy but because McAuliffe Kelly was, at the time, a minor lobbying firm -- particularly when it came to foreign clients. The company took on India as a client in 1993, at a time when the country was opening its economy to foreign investors and when other big-name lobbying firms were vying for the contract.
According to the McAuliffe campaign, the law firm was divided into three business units: a legal practice led by Peter Kelly, a business development practice led by McAuliffe, and a lobbying practice led by John D. Raffaelli.
Raffaelli is an Arkansan and former law student of Bill Clinton's. After the McAuliffe firm disbanded, Raffaelli went on to found the Washington Group and, subsequently, Capitol Counsel.
March 26, 2009; 2:32 AM ET
Categories: 2009 Governor's Race , Amy Gardner , Terry McAuliffe
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