Turkey changes lobbying firm in US Congress

Turkey has parted ways with former House Appropriations Committee Chairman Bob Livingston, whose lobbying firm has represented the country for the past eight years.

Turkey changes lobbying firm in US Congress
Turkey has not renewed its long-standing contract with The Livingston Group, and is instead transferring its main lobbying business to DLA Piper, a multinational law firm that had split the government-relations workload with Livingston over the past year, US congressional newspaper The Hill reported on Monday.

According to The Hill, former House Majority Leader Dick Armey, a senior policy adviser with DLA Piper, will replace Livingston as Turkey's top GOP lobbyist with Congress. Armey, who lobbied alongside Livingston last year, will partner with former House Minority Leader Richard Gephardt, who lobbies Democrats for Turkey at DLA Piper.

It is unclear whether Turkey or Livingston initiated the split, which both sides insisted was amicable. "We have enjoyed a wonderful relationship for eight years, we've had a lot of legislative victories together, and we wish the Turkish people lots of continued success and happiness in the future," Livingston said in a statement to The Hill.

Turkish Ambassador to the US Nabi Şensoy, who said Livingston helped transfer the lobbying business to DLA Piper, released a statement praising the lawmaker as "a gentleman of remarkable capabilities and stature."

Şensoy also noted that Turkey had begun to restructure its lobbying team by hiring DLA Piper last year and described that as part of a transition.

The parting of Turkey and The Livingston Group ends one of the more lucrative Washington lobbying contracts for foreign governments. In April 2006, Turkey renewed its relationship with Livingston through a year-long contract worth $1.8 million. In May 2007, Turkey hired DLA Piper on a $100,000-per-month contract while retaining Livingston. Turkey mounted a massive lobbying campaign last year to defeat a resolution supporting Armenian claims of genocide at the hands of the Ottoman Empire.

Though the resolution passed the House Foreign Affairs Committee, many of its co-sponsors withdrew their support after meeting with Turkey's lobbyists. That, along with pressure from Republicans and the Bush administration, forced House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to postpone a floor vote on the resolution last year.

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Last Mod: 02 Nisan 2008, 12:10
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