But it’s not without its pitfalls, Davis and other K Street consultants warned. Foreign governments are notorious for not paying their bills, and lobbyists must contend with the potentially destructive epitaph “foreign agent.”
“Some people have a real visceral reaction to that,” a downtown GOP source said. “From a perception issue, it depends on what countries you’re representing ... if you’re representing G-20 countries, it’s usually not a big deal.”
Tony Blankley, a public relations consultant who was also a spokesman for former Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.), said he refuses to work on behalf of foreign governments. But the former Washington Times editor, who was born in London, wrote in an e-mail that his opposition is for professional reasons, rather than ideological ones.
“Every person makes their own decisions — and I do not question them. I know many fine, patriotic and honorable people who represent foreign governments in different capacities,” he wrote. “For me, both for personal reasons and because as a writer and commentator who frequently comments on foreign policy (and wrote two books on the subject), I do not want to limit or undermine my commentary by having any professional or economic interest in the well being of any country other than the USA.”
Unlike when he represented Pakistan more than a decade ago, Davis said his legal and consulting clients pay him regular retainers rather than hourly rates these days. He also said that he’s attempting to avoid the “difficulty” of getting foreign governments to pay their bills by demanding cash on the barrel before he starts dispensing advice.
“You need to be paid most of the fee up front — I’m trying to do that with every client,” Davis laughed.
Leaders from military and veterans service organizations joined Sens. Roger Wicker, R-Miss., Kelly Ayotte , R-N.H., and Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., at a press conference to urge the Senate to replace a provision in the budget proposal that cuts retirement benefits for veterans. Wicker, Ayotee, and Graham earlier called for a bipartisan solution to replace the $6.3 billion in cuts to military retiree benefits.
Each year since 1990, CQ Roll Call has reviewed the financial disclosures of all 541 senators, representatives and delegates to determine the 50 richest members of Congress. This year's report, derived from forms covering the calendar year 2012, shows it took a net worth of $6.67 million to crack the exclusive club.