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Thursday, August 23, 2007

Allawi Pays $300k for Anti-Maliki US Campaign

Allawi Pays $300k for Anti-Maliki US Campaign
Bush's Former Envoy to Iraq is Top US Lobbyist for Key Iraqi Critic of Iraqi PM
By CHRISTINA DAVIDSON Posted 4 hr. 33 min. ago

Documents obtained by IraqSlogger show Iraqi Prime Minister Maliki's chief Iraqi opponent, Ayad Allawi, is paying Washington lobbyists with close ties to the White House $300,000 to help with Allawi's efforts in the U.S. to promote himself and undermine Maliki.

The powerhouse Republican firm retained by Allawi is Barbour, Griffith, & Rogers (BGR), and its BGR International unit is headed by President's Bush's one-time White House point man on Iraq, Robert Blackwill, who will lead the lobbying efforts on Allawi's behalf.

Allawi signed the BGR lobbying contract with Blackwill, who served as Presidential Envoy to Iraq in 2004 when Allawi was appointed the country's interim prime minister with the U.S. government's blessing.

Blackwill assumed the position of BGR International president after leaving the Bush administration following the 2004 elections.

Allawi, who called for Maliki's ouster in a Washington Post op-ed August 18, is believed by many Iraq observers to positioning himself to be Maliki's successor.
President Bush and Robert Blackwill in the Oval Office in August 2004.
White House photo
President Bush and Robert Blackwill in the Oval Office in August 2004.
As previously reported exclusively by IraqSlogger, the Republican lobbying firm Barbour, Griffith, & Rogers, LLC, began its work for Allawi August 17 by registering the domain name In recent days, BGR sent hundreds of e-mail messages in Allawi's name from the e-mail address

Those e-mail messages to Congressional staffers and others in Washington included Allawi's Washington Post op-ed and the text of a statement from Democratic Senator Carl Levin calling for Maliki to quit.

Federal regulations allow a 10-day window for lobbyists to register their work on behalf of a foreign principal, and BGR filed papers with the Department of Justice Monday to represent Allawi's interests in Washington. The DOJ has yet to process the registration forms, but IraqSlogger has acquired copies of all the relevant documentation.

Under terms of the contract, signed August 20 but backdated to commence August 1, BGR will be paid $50,000 a month through the end of January 2008 for providing "strategic counsel and representation for and on behalf of Dr. Ayad Allawi before the US government, Congress, media, and others."
Cairo: Ayad Allawi at a March news conference.
Khaled Desouki/AFP/Getty
Cairo: Ayad Allawi at a March news conference.
That's $300,000 over six months, with an option to extend the arrangements longer.

While the BGR contract is with Allawi, who is required to pay the $300,0000, it's unclear whether Allawi himself is funding the lobbying campaign.

Allawi has a full team from BGR assigned to his contract, with four top lobbyists in addition to Blackwill having filed papers to work with him: Edward Rogers, BGR chairman and founder; Andrew Parasiliti, vice president; and Walker Roberts, vice president; and Dan Murphy, principal.

The filings stipulate that Allawi is not supervised by, owned by, directed by, controlled by, financed by, or subsidized by any foreign government, foreign political party, or other foreign principal.

While BGR registers him as an individual, rather than as a political party, they do identify him as head of the Iraq National Accord, and indicate they will not only represent Allawi, but also "his moderate Iraqi colleagues."

BGR is already serving other "moderate Iraqi colleagues" of Allawi, representing the interests of the Kurdistan Regional Government.

The KRG office in DC declined to officially comment on the situation, but another KRG representative indicated displeasure at the latest development.

Phone messages left for all those involved in the Allawi contract at BGR have not been returned.

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