Aug. 20, 2014 SIGN IN | REGISTER

Foreign Interests Lobbied Super Committee Members

"Ambassador Han would like to discuss the status of the pending US-Korea Free Trade Agreement (KORUS FTA), including in the context of the ongoing deficit reduction discussions in which you play a crucial role," Patton Boggs Chairman Thomas Boggs wrote in the Sept. 13 letter. "The Ambassador is anxious to discuss these matters, as well as to update you on KORUS's benefits for the United States, particularly the State of Washington."

The firm's lobbyists ended up meeting with her office Sept. 29, according to a spokesman. Contribution data for that time period is not yet available.

The panel itself is not expected to address the pending deals in its budget reduction proposal, but Murray, who has supported past free-trade deals, could have access to information about how the timing of the debt deliberations could affect passage of the free-trade agreements.

The Patton Boggs lobbyists involved, Scott Thompson and Frank Samolis, declined to comment for this article.

The POGO data also shows that on Feb. 28 and March 1 of 2011, the political action committee run by Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld made two separate $1,000 contributions to Baucus. Two days later, Akin Gump lobbyists representing the UAE emailed Baucus' office about a potential trip to the country. That same day, the firm made a $1,200 payment to LaFave & Associates, a Virginia-based political fundraising firm, in what appears to be an arrangement to host an event benefiting Baucus' campaign committee.

Neither Baucus' office nor lobbyists at the firm responded to Roll Call's request for interviews. A spokesperson for Baucus said the lawmaker did not go to the UAE.

In the past year, Baucus has been contacted by lobbyists representing Brazil, Korea and the UAE at least eight times and has collected just more than $3,000 in campaign contributions from lobbyists working for foreign countries. Clyburn was contacted by lobbyists representing the interests of Turkey, Korea and India at least 18 times, collecting $9,000, according to the POGO data.

The analysis also shows that Sen. Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.) and Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas) were the only super committee members who did not take money from lobbyists representing foreign interests in the past year.

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