Lobbyists like Haley Barbour provide foreigners a way around U.S. campaign finance law.
Former Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour made headlines back on January 30 when the Hattiesburg Patriot reported he had tried to board a plane in Jackson with a loaded .38 revolver in his carry-on bag. Barbour was arrested allowed to post bond and catch his flight according to a statement from the Transportation Safety Administration (TSA) regarding the incident.
However, it turns out that wasn’t the worst news Barbour had to deal with that week. It was revealed on January 24, a week earlier, that BGR Government Affairs, the lobbying firm founded by the former politico, turned lobbyist, turned Governor of Mississippi, turned-lobbyist-again, was caught up in an investigation by the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee for not registering under the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA).
The Foreign Agents Registration Act was passed in 1938 after an American got caught doing PR in the United States for the German Nazis.
Today, Americans who act as so-called “foreign agents” must file papers disclosing their work to the Justice Department.
In a letter to Attorney General Jeff Sessions on November 15, 2017, Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley wrote:
“Today, I write concerning lobbying work done by three lobbying firms – the Podesta Group, BGR Government Affairs, and Kountoupes Denham – on behalf of Uranium One, a Canadian company owned by the Russian government. All firms lobbied both houses of Congress, and the executive branch. None of the firms have registered under FARA for their representation. However, at the time of representation Uranium One was owned by the Russian government-owned company, Rosatom.”
Interestingly, just two-weeks earlier Paul Manafort, a campaign manager for Donald Trump in 2016, and Rick Gates, Manafort’s business partner, were both indicted by a federal grand jury. One of the 12 counts brought against the two men was conspiracy against the United States for being an unregistered agent of a foreign principal under the Foreign Agents Registration Act.
But, as the Sunday investigative report from Full Measure reveals, the practice of registering as a foreign agent has long been a small concern to lobbyists, and has rarely been enforced by the U.S. Justice Department. The Justice Department hasn’t filed a civil injunction against anyone for failure to abide by the Foreign Agents Registration Act since 1991. The criminal charges brought against Trump advisor Paul Manafort was only one of 8 times a case has been criminally pursued in the last 50 years.
If anyone still wants to take on the job of convincing people that The ‘boys of the beltway’ like Barbour, Podesta and others aren’t provided cover to play loose with the rules, while career government agents use those same rules to protect against perceived threats to the power structure sheltering the administrative state — the jig is up, folks!
While foreigners are barred from directly giving money to American politicians and political parties, lobbyists like Haley Barbour provide foreigners and foreign-owned companies a way around campaign finance law, just like it appears he found his own way around FARA requirements.
BGR was paid $13.7 million in 2013 for it’s lobbying work. The three largest clients were all foreign entities. Barbour and BGR were paid huge sums to get foreigners access to U.S. government officials that most Americans will never have.
As the video report below from Full Measure shows, Barbour and BGR Government Affairs is only one of many:
The decision by Chris McDaniel in 2014, and again this year, to directly challenge this corrupted machinery of government opened a window into a world that few ordinary Mississippians knew existed before. Many will, unfortunately, continue to comfort themselves by denying, in some way, what can no longer be doubted.
The corruption in government has spread to dangerous levels, and the corrupted are working harder than ever to keep protecting the corruption. That corruption starts in places like Mississippi where the government and elected officials have become dangerously addicted to federal money and will do whatever they must to keep it flowing. But it doesn’t stop there. Barbour is expanding his political brand of corruption in Washington, and he’s found plenty of clients who will pay for it.