28 January 2009

How lobbyists advise clients about Washington politicians

From a video recording of a July meeting in London between Stephen Payne and Yerzhan Dosmukhamedov. Payne is president of the lobbying firm Worldwide Strategic Partners. Dosmukhamedov, a.k.a. Eric Dos, is a former politician who is currently in exile from Kazakhstan... Dosmukhamedov posed as a representative of a former president of Kyrgyzstan who was ousted from power three years ago…

Stephen Payne: Who does he want to meet in Washington?

Dos: Well, of course, the president, Vice President Cheney…

Payne: Sure, that can be worked out… The family, children, whatever, should probably look at making a contribution to the Bush Library… Not a huge amount but enough to show they’re serious. Maybe a couple hundred thousand dollars… The main thing is that he comes and he’s well received, he meets with high-level people in the administration, and, most important, the administration makes positive statements, like, This guy wasn’t so bad; many people have done worse. Those kinds of statements from people in the administration, maybe Senator Biden on the Democratic side. Is he interested in going back and running for president?

Dos: Yes.

Payne: Okay. See, I understand what he wants. He basically wants vindication from the United States... I’ll come up with the exact budget, but it will be somewhere between $600,000 and $750,000, with about a third of it going directly to the Bush Library

(As far as I know there was no evidence that any American politician asked for money, but this is how the lobbyist told the applicant to proceed. The videorecording from which this text was taken was part of a undercover sting arranged by the Sunday Times of London. After the video was made public, Payne resigned as a member of the advisory council to the Department of Homeland Security. More details at the Harper's Magazine link. )

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