Livingston Group Lobbied for Libya, Qaddafi Charity

The Livingston Group, one of the main lobbying firms working on behalf of Egypt and former President Hosni Mubarak, also was paid $2.5 million in 2008 and 2009 to influence Washington on behalf of the government of Libyan dictator Muammar Qaddafi and a charity run by his son Saif Al Islam Al Qaddafi.

“In 2008, the lobbyists held several meetings with members of Congress and their staff ‘concerning the legislative status of amending a statutory provision against U.S. trade with Libya,’ in an effort to boost foreign investment in the country,” reports the Sunlight Foundation, a non-profit dedicated to government transparency. “Around the same time as the meetings the Senate lifted the sanctions on the nation imposed after U.S declared Libya a terrorist state in the 1980s.”In addition, the Qaddafi International Charity and Development Foundation’s lobbyists at the Livingston Group held four meetings with 68 people from different think tanks and independent organizations, according to the Sunlight report.

The lobbyists listed their Washington contacts on behalf of the charity as “luncheon-briefing, human rights and democracy initiatives in Libya,” according to Foreign Agent Registration records cited by Sunlight. A TPM review of the records found that the Libyan government paid the $2.5 million to represent both itself and the charity.

Lisa Berg and Roy Neel, both former employees of Vice President Al Gore were speakers at an event organized by the Foundation, records show. Invitations to the luncheons were sent to the Phelps Stokes Fund and the Africa Society of the National Summit on Africa, as well as the National Center for Public Policy Research, a conservative think tank which found its activities scrutinized during the Jack Abramoff scandal. Abramoff resigned from its board of directors after the NCPPR determined he had violated the group’s conflict of interest rules.

Correction: The executive director of the NCPPR contacted TPM following publication of this story and stated unequivocally that her group did not participate in any Foundation events. TPM originally incorrectly called her group a participant.