High-profile Dem lawyer flacking for African strongman
Lanny Davis is now Ivory Coast leader Laurent Gbagbo’s man in Washington, as violence engulfs the African country
By Justin Elliott, Salon.com
Tuesday, Dec 21, 2010 10:54 ET
You’re the leader of a small African country facing an international outcry after reversing the results of a presidential election and dispatching your forces to suppress and kill opposition protesters. What do you do to turn the tide and keep your grip on power?
Call Lanny Davis.
The columnist and former special counsel to Bill Clinton specializes in lobbying for controversial corporate and foreign clients, particularly those seeking Democratic representation in Washington. But even for Davis, taking on Ivory Coast leader and flagrant human rights violator Laurent Gbagbo as a client, as he did this week, seems to cross some kind of line.
D.C. law firm to aid Ivory Coast opposition leader
THE INFLUENCE INDUSTRY
By Dan Eggen, Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, January 20, 2011
One of Washington’s top law firms has signed on to represent Alassane Ouattara, an Ivory Coast opposition leader who has been recognized as the winner of a disputed presidential election in that country.
In papers scheduled to be filed with the Justice Department on Thursday, Covington & Burling said it will “provide advice on international legal and policy matters” to Ouattara as he continues to try to take over from the ousted president, Laurent Gbagbo. The work will be done free of charge as part of the firm’s pro bono services, officials said.
The decision follows controversy late last year over former Clinton administration counsel Lanny Davis, who registered to become Gbagbo’s lobbyist in Washington after the disputed election Nov. 28. Davis, whose firm collected $300,000 in fees, said last month that he was severing the agreement with Gbagbo.
Lanny Davis’ African human rights disaster
When Davis was hired by Equatorial Guinea, the lobbyist said things would change there. They haven’t
By Justin Elliott, Salon.com
Wednesday, Jan 5, 2011 11:01 ET
Last April, when Democratic lobbyist Lanny Davis was hired by the government of Equatorial Guinea, he declared himself the “reform counsel” for the longtime dictator of the small, oil-rich African nation. Davis’ fee was $1 million per year plus expenses, and he and his client, President Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo, promised widespread reforms and a new respect for human rights.
But today, human rights advocates who track Equatorial Guinea tell Salon that nothing has changed there and that Davis appears to be engaged in little more than a whitewashing exercise designed to rehabilitate the image of the Obiang regime on the international stage. And despite a direct promise by Davis to a reporter in June that political prisoners in Equatorial Guinea would be released, that has not happened.
Joe Lieberman – The Model Purple Senator
Lanny Davis, The Huffington Post
Posted: January 19, 2011 04:28 PM
In 1970, I was in the bathroom with a towel over my ears. In the living room, surrounded by my parents and friends, there you were — the sandek at the bris — holding my 8-day-old son Seth for the 3,000-year-old Jewish ceremony while the rabbi made the magic cut. I awarded you the title of godfather for doing me (and Seth) that great favor.
In 2000, you stood at the podium as the vice presidential nominee of the Democratic Party, the first Jew to be so honored, and I sat next to your mother, both of us crying, as you began your acceptance speech, in genuine wonder and awe: “Is this a great country, or what?”
In 2006, you lost a Democratic primary in Connecticut because your liberal base wouldn’t forgive you because you genuinely believed a democratic Iraq without Saddam Hussein was worth going to war over. I disagreed with you on that position. But I also knew that you were and always would be a progressive Democrat — that you had voted over 90 percent of the time with your fellow Democratic senators.
On primary night, when you had lost, I stood heartbroken in your hotel suite in Hartford, Conn. My son and your godson, Seth, now 36 years since the magic cut, arrived.
“So sorry, Godfather,” Seth said.
There is something especially sad that you, an important symbol of decency in politics, should pick this week to announce your retirement — the week after the murderous violence in Tucson, Ariz., left so many people in America frightened of the atmosphere of violence and polarization that has become the hallmark of our politics in too many places.
You will be missed, Sen. Lieberman — just at the time where the role of a “bridge-builder” between Democrats and Republicans, between liberals and conservatives, is needed more than ever.
You showed it is possible to be a genuine liberal Democrat on the major issues — but still able to work with Republicans, with conservatives, and be trusted by them. You were the model “purple” politician.