TEL AVIV — The Saudi government has contracted the communications and strategy firm of Tony Podesta, the brother of Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign chairman, John Podesta, paying the group $140,000 per month to work for Saudi interests in the U.S.
On Wednesday, the Washington Post reported:
The Saudi government and its affiliates have spent millions of dollars on U.S. law, lobby and public relations firms to raise the country’s visibility in the United States and before the United Nations at a crucial time.
And some of Washington’s premier law and lobby firms — including Podesta Group, BGR Government Affairs, DLA Piper and Pillsbury Winthrop — have been tasked with the job, according to a review of Justice Department filings.
The Post added some specifics about the Saudi contract with the Podesta Group but failed to report the significant detail that the firm’s owner, who is personally working on the Saudi account, is John Podesta’s brother. The Post only identified Tony Podesta as “a top Democratic lobbyist and major contributor to Hillary Clinton.”
Tony Podesta is a financial bundler for the Democratic Party, including Clinton’s campaigns.
The newspaper reported:
The lobby firm Podesta Group has an ongoing contract with the Center for Studies and Media Affairs at the Saudi Royal Court, a government entity, for $140,000 monthly. Barring any changes to the fee schedule, the year-long work would earn the firm $1.68 million by the end of 2016. The firm’s founder Tony Podesta, a top Democratic lobbyist and major contributor to Hillary Clinton, is working personally on the matter, according to a March filing. Podesta president Kim Fritts, a longtime Republican consultant and adviser to Jeb Bush, is listed on the contract, which the firm would not elaborate on.
John Podesta, meanwhile, is the founder of the Center for American Progress, the highly influential progressive think-tank. Prior to heading Clinton’s 2016 campaign, he served as counselor to the Obama White House.
This reporter previously documented that some of the CAP’s major corporate donors have also been listed as clients to Tony Podesta’s firm.
In 2013, I reported:
SourceWatch documents that Tony Podesta’s website previously listed the firm’s clients, which reportedly included Google.
Google is also a corporate donor to John Podesta’s PAC, it has been revealed.
Besides corporate clients, Tony Podesta has represented foreign governments, including Iraq and Egypt.
The Huffington Post reported that another CAP donor is the Livingston Group. Livingston is not currently listed on CAP’s donor page, but the Huffington Post said it was provided the donor list by CAP itself.
A cached version of the CAP donor page finds Livingston on the list.
Livingston provided a statement to the Hill saying it was the “interlocutor” of the donation, which was actually made by a mining company, Anglo American, a Livingston client.
“We didn’t make the contribution. The contribution was made by a client of ours. We were the interlocutor. That’s all. It was an honest mistake,” said the Livingston Group spokeswoman.
Until 2012, Livingston represented the Egyptian government with Tony Podesta’s firm.
The Washington Free Beacon reported in 2012 that Tony Podesta’s firm was among a group of 50 companies that toured Egypt under the rule of Muslim Brotherhood leader Mohamed Morsi to open business ties with the new government. Numerous firms represented by Tony Podesta visited Egypt.
The Free Beacon reported:
Ten of the 50 companies present on the tour have been clients of lobbying firms separately run by Podesta’s brother and sister-in-law, leaving some observers wondering what role the Democratic insider may have played in determining which companies earned slots on the potentially lucrative junket.
One of the firms, The Podesta Group, is operated by Tony Podesta, who is John’s brother. The other, Heather Podesta + Partners, is run by John’s sister-in-law.
During the several-day jaunt, business leaders from the finance, defense, and aerospace sectors, among others, were exposed to investment opportunities in Egypt’s burgeoning public and private sectors.
Also on that Egypt trip was John Podesta, the Free Beacon reported.