The Livingston Group, the lobbying firm founded by former Rep. Bob Livingston (R-La.), has lost one of its signature and most lucrative clients, the government of Turkey. But the firm has signed up a new foreign client, the controversial government of Libya, which has agreed to pay the firm a whopping $2.4 million over the next year.
Livingston represented Turkey since 2000 and has collected about $1.8 million per year from the government, frequently battling back proposals for a Congressional resolution that would recognize as genocide the killings of Armenians by the former Ottoman Empire beginning in 1915.
Livingston could not be reached by phone but released a statement through a firm spokesman saying, “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.”
A spokesman for the Turkish Embassy said the departure of the country from The Livingston Group was not connected to the new client, Libya, and instead was part of a plan to move the government’s lobbying work to the firm DLA Piper, which has been working with Turkey since last year. DLA Piper lobbyists and former Reps. Richard Gephardt (D-Mo.) and Dick Armey (R-Texas) now lead the DLA team.
“We worked with the Livingston Group in the past eight years,” said Turkey’s U.S. ambassador, Nabi Sensoy, in a statement e-mailed through a spokesman. “It was a gratifying experience. Mr. Livingston is a gentleman of remarkable capabilities and stature. Last year, we initiated a restructuring of our counsel and engaged DLA Piper. The Livingston Group stayed on as part of our counsel during a period of transition. As of now we continue to work with DLA Piper, Mr. Gephardt and Mr. Armey.”
Libya — which also has retained lobbyists from Blank Rome, White & Case, and Fahmy Hudome International — inked its contract with The Livingston Group on March 12. According to the contract filed with the Justice Department, The Livingston Group will provide lobbying and government affairs representation, including “contact as necessary with Members of Congress and their staff, executive branch officials and non governmental organizations,” for the controversial North African nation.
Sources familiar with The Livingston Group said some members of the firm were unhappy to see Libya added to the client roster, and to see Turkey go.
The U.S. State Department announced in May 2006 that it planned to restore diplomatic ties with Libya and to take the country off a list of state sponsors of terrorism. Libya, according to the State Department, supported terrorist attacks including the 1988 bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland, as well as a Berlin nightclub bombing and that of a French flight over Niger.
Bob Livingston already represents Libya’s neighbor, Egypt, through a partnership he has with former Rep. Toby Moffett (D-Conn.) and Tony Podesta called the PLM Group, which signed Egypt in October, Moffett said.