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Saudi Arabia’s ‘oil money’ flocks into Washington’s lobbying industry

Saudi Arabia’s ‘oil money’ flocks into Washington’s lobbying industry

Posted July. 15, 2019 07:40,   

Updated July. 15, 2019 07:40


“Oil money” from Saudi Arabia is flowing back into public relations (PR) and consulting companies and law firms in Washington D.C., according to The Washington Post’s report on Wednesday. Although some lobbyists have kept their distance from the “oil money” since anti-Saudi Arabian government journalist Jamal Khashoggi was killed last October, they seem to give in to the power of capital, according to analysts.

According to the news report, 20 Washington-based lobbying companies work for the Saudi government as of this month, not that different from 25 before Khashoggi’s death. Large-scale PR firm MSL currently provides consulting service to the Saudi government via its subsidiary Qorvis even after expressing concerns following the killing of Khashoggi. The service has brought as much as 19 million dollars, or 22.4 billion won, to the consulting firm since last October.

KARV Communications, run by a former government official under the Bill Clinton administration, signed a PR contract worth 120,000 dollars per month with the Saudi government in February. Famous law firm King & Spalding earned around 950,000 dollars in November last year. The Saudi government lost connection with some lobbyists one time while others working for it on the other side, said Dr. Ben Freeman at Washington-based think tank “Center for International Policy.”

Since the inauguration of U.S. President Donald Trump in January 2017, the relationship between Washington and Riyadh has getting closer, bringing expectations that the lobbying market between the two nations will grow bigger. To the U.S., Saudi Arabia is a core alliance and also an important asset both in the nation’s strategies for the Middle East and countermeasures to the Iranian issue, according to Alfred Mottur, a senior partner at Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck.

Se-Hyung Lee turtle@donga.com