The government of Hungary hired a powerhouse K Street firm just before the country’s controversial and authoritarian prime minister, Viktor Orbán, had a meeting last week with President Donald Trump in the White House.
Lobbying and law firm Greenberg Traurig signed on to represent the Embassy of Hungary for $100,000 for six months of work, new Justice Department documents show. The disclosures included a contract for work dated April 26, just on the cusp of the meeting that took place May 13.
The disclosure says the firm will provide “advice and counsel related to foreign relations issues, as well as educating government and opinion leaders regarding the same. The signed contract was received by Greenberg Traurig on May 8, 2019 via Email.”
Trump’s meeting with Orbán, who is known as a right-wing nationalist and populist, drew widespread criticism including from lawmakers such as House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer of Maryland.
“I was disturbed that President Trump hosted at the White House a leader who has subverted democracy in his country and suppressed freedom of the press and civil institutions,” Hoyer said in a statement last week. “If Prime Minister Orbán wanted an invitation to sit down with the President of the United States in the Oval Office, he should have earned it by espousing the principles of democracy, freedom, and human rights.”
The team from Greenberg Traurig includes former Rep. Albert Wynn, D-Md., and Laurence A. Levy, who served as chief counsel to the Rudy Giuliani Presidential Committee. Giuliani is a lawyer for Trump. Steve Barringer, a partner at Greenberg, is also registered to represent Hungary, according to Justice Department documents.
“As you can see from our FARA filing we weren’t engaged until May 10, 2019,” said Levy in an email to CQ Roll Call. “We had no involvement in the recent visit by Prime Minister Orbán to President Trump.”
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