Meet 70 Americans Working for Saudi Arabia Against 9/11 Justice

Update: See our subsequent story that details how much money Saudi Arabia ended up paying to these and other Qorvis-affiliated firms and individuals. In many cases, the amounts are far higher than indicated below. The newer story also identifies more of the people listed below. 

How much would Saudi lobbyists have to pay you to help undermine a new law that enables 9/11 families and survivors to present evidence against the kingdom for its alleged assistance to the 9/11 hijackers?

According to filings with the Department of Justice mandated by the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA), some of your fellow citizens have done so for as little as $5,000; others are cashing in on a much bigger scale. They’ll say they’re doing it for different, baseless reasons, but there’s no doubting the aim of their faraway masters.

The September enactment of the Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act (JASTA) was a resounding defeat for Saudi Arabia and its lobbyists in Washington. Undaunted, the kingdom and its fellow travelers in and out of the United States government immediately launched a coordinated assault on the new law.

Senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham—who have urged colleagues to amend JASTA—represent only the legislative tip of the Saudi spear. Far less conspicuous is a formidable array of U.S. lobbying firms assembled by the kingdom.

McClatchyDC’s James Rosen reported last week that the armada now spans at least 17 firms—including heavy-hitters Qorvis MSLGROUP, Brownstein Hyatt and Squire Patton Boggs—collectively billing the kingdom more than $1 million every month. Many of these firms, in turn, hire additional companies and influential individuals to help carry out the kingdom’s wishes.

October Buying Spree

Two weeks after JASTA’s passage—in a stark illustration of Saudi Arabia’s determination to kill the nascent JASTA in its infancy—Qorvis went on an influence acquisition spree. In little over a month, the firm engaged approximately 70 third-party individuals to work on behalf of Saudi Arabia. By contrast, there were only five comparable registrations in all of 2015.

28Pages.org has scoured these registrations; in the spirit of transparency that inspired the law that mandates them, we present something of a who’s who among Americans aiding the kingdom in its effort to keep 9/11 families and survivors at bay.

Cataloguing scores of lobbyists, public relations professionals and other individuals engaged throughout the United States, this directory gives just a hint of the full breadth of Saudi Arabia’s anti-JASTA effort. Qorvis is, after all, just one of 17 firms employed by the kingdom.

Top Observations

  • Some of the agents with the lowest profiles on the internet have received some of the biggest payouts: For example, who are you, Mr/Ms Jody Tedford of Seattle, and what are you doing to earn $36,000?
  • Three firms appear to be playing a particularly large subsidiary role in working against JASTA: LS2group of Des Moines, Duane Morris Government Strategies in Pittsburgh, and Vectre Corporation in Richmond.
  • It’s no surprise to see former government officials in the mix—but there’s even a current one—in the Nevada state assembly. The state chair of the South Dakota GOP also signed on.

User Guide

  • Names link to agents’ FARA registration forms, which must be filed within 10 days of agreeing to work on behalf of a foreign government.
  • Agents connected to the breaking scandal involving the use of military veterans to lobby against JASTA—without telling them who’s behind the effort—appear in red.
  • If disclosed on the FARA form, we share their compensation for Saudi work.
  • We list business associations where we could identify them; keep in mind those businesses may not be involved in the Saudi undertaking.
  • Send corrections or additional information to info@28pages.org.

District of Columbia

Mike Gibson, President of Advocacy Group, Inc.
Mike Gibson

Michael Gibson, Advocacy Group Inc. President. This firm is a key player in the veterans lobbying scandal, arranging travel and coordinating support for the veterans while in Washington.

Sara Raak, Advocacy Group, Inc.

Christiana GibsonThe Herald Group.

Nicole Y. WilliamsIR+Media; former congressional staffer. Compensation: $12,000.

Kathleen Summers-Grice, Washington, DC; Manchester, Maine; Boston. Acadia LLC. Public affairs and political consultant; former George W. Bush appointee to the U.S. Department of Labor.

On October 9, Summers-Grice signed her FARA form, notifying the DoJ that she would be working on behalf of a kingdom known for arbitrary arrests of dissidentsflogging of journalists, systematic discrimination against religious minorities, maltreatment of women, public beheadings, and a merciless war on Yemen that features the use of banned munitions, a wanton disregard for civilian life and a blockade inflicting a humanitarian disaster.

Nineteen days later, via Twitter, Summers-Grice made a noble proclamation of her values.  

summers-grice-tweet

Alaska

Frank Bickford, Anchorage. Lobbyist. Compensation: $12,000.

Arizona

Cylee L. Gutting, Scottsdale. Kyle Moyer & Company. Compensation: $12,000.

California

Eric Eisenhammer
Eric Eisenhammer

Eric Eisenhammer, Roseville. Dauntless Communications. Daily Caller reported that Eisenhammer’s firm set up a booth at a Reno gun show in January that was used to recruit veterans and others to oppose JASTA, to include asking about their willingness to travel to Washington.

Cory Black, Templeton. Public Policy Solutions. Compensation: $12,000.

 

Colorado

Shelbi Lewark, Denver. Per her Twitter account, vice-chair of the Denver GOP. Emails obtained by 28Pages.org, indicate that Lewark has helped Jason Johns (see Wisconsin) organize veterans lobbying trips.

Terry Snyder, Denver. Integrated Legislative Solutions. According to a 28Pages.org interview with Lewark, her involvement in the veterans’ lobbying effort was done under Snyder’s supervision.

Florida

Timothy P. Buckley, Orlando. Sloane Mackenzie Public Affairs.

Roy Lenardson, Ave Maria, Florida and Portland, Maine. Strategic Advocacy.

James Miller, Sarasota. Identity unknown. Compensation: $12,000.

Illinois

Jeffrey Dixon, Chicago. Identity unknown.

Indiana

Pat Terrell, Indianapolis. The Winston/Terrell Group.

Iowa

Daniel Lederman, South Dakota and Des Moines. Newly-elected chair of South Dakota GOP and former South Dakota state senator. LS2group. Compensation: $8,500.

Charles Larson, Jr.

Charles W. Larson, Jr, Des Moines. LS2group. Former ambassador to Latvia in the George W. Bush administration, former state senator and representative. Army Reserve veteran. His father was director of law enforcement for Saudi Arabia’s “highway patrol project.”

Tyler Gregory Campbell, Des Moines. LS2group. Campbell helped coordinate the participation of veteran Tim Cord in lobbying on Capitol Hill for changes to JASTA without knowledge of Saudi sponsorship of his travel. See our exclusive report.

Bruceanne Phillips, Des Moines. LS2group. Compensation: $8,500

Ashley Mae Hunt, Des Moines. LS2group. Employer orders Huffington Post blogger on women’s issues to advance agenda of misogynistic monarchs.

Jay Harter, Wichita and Des Moines. LS2group.

Kim D. Schmett, Clive, Iowa. Schmett & Associates. Compensation: $25,000.

Connie L. Schmett, Clive, Iowa. Schmett & Associates. Compensation: $25,000.

Kansas

Jay Harter, Wichita and Des Moines. LS2group.

Kevin G. Yowell, Overland Park. Identity unknown. Compensation: $12,000.

Kentucky

Kevin E. Borland, Louisville. Government affairs pro, Peritus Public Relations.

Louisiana

Thomas Bradley Keith, Prairieville. Gulf South Strategies and Solutions. Compensation: $18,000.

Randal L. Hayden, Baton Rouge. Creative Communications.

Maine

Roy Lenardson, Ave Maria, Florida and Portland, Maine. President, Strategic Advocacy.

Kathleen Summers-Grice,  see District of Columbia.

Maryland

Richard Abbruzzese, Baltimore. KOFA Public Affairs.

Yocheved “Chevy” Weiss, Baltimore. Political consultant. Compensation: “$5,000 maximum.”

David H. Carroll, Jr, Annapolis. Lobbyist with Capitol Strategies, LLC.

Massachusetts

Holly Robichaud
Holly Robichaud: $12,000

Holly Robichaud, Scituate. Boston Herald blogger and owner of political consulting firm Tuesday Associates. Compensation: $12,000.

Kathleen Summers-Grice,  see District of Columbia.

Michigan

Matthew Resch, Lansing. RWC Advocacy, Resch Strategies.

Minnesota

Andrew Michael Zabel, Saint Paul. Identity unknown.

Kirsten Kukowski

Kirsten Kukowski, Stillwater. KK & Co. Former national press secretary for the Republican National Committee, communications director for John McCain and Scott Walker presidential campaigns.

Kristen Sheehan, Stillwater. KK & Co.

Patrick Connolly, St Paul. Connolly Kuhl Group.

Mississippi

Stacie O. Sharp, Jackson. Identity unknown.

Missouri

Lynne Schlosser, Saint Louis. Government relations consultant. Compensation: $12,000.

Nevada

Nevada State Assemblywoman Shannon Bilbray-Axelrod
Shannon Bilbray-Axelrod

Shannon Bilbray-Axelrod, Las Vegas. Bilbray-Axelrod signed her FARA form on October 14, just 25 days before being elected to the Nevada state assembly. She is associated with consulting firm Organized Karma. UPDATE: After the Las Vegas Review-Journal followed our reporting, Bilbray-Axelrod resigned from Organized Karma. Assemblyman Jim Wheeler initially said he was considering filing a formal ethics complaint, but then announced he would not “at this time.” 

Charity Stevens, Las Vegas. Alchemy Associates, Organized Karma. Former assistant to the chief of staff for Rep. Allen Boyd.

Ronni Council, Las Vegas. Organized Karma.

Aida Blankenship, Las Vegas. Organized Karma.

New Hampshire

Paul Young, Portsmouth. Novus Public Affairs. GOP strategist, former advisor to Lindsey Graham campaign.

Brennon M. Ward, Manchester. Novus Public Affairs.

New Jersey

Jon R. Bombardieri, Titusville. CLB Partners.

North Carolina

David Miner
David Miner: $30,000

David Miner, Cary. Former representative in the North Carolina legislature. Compensation: $30,000.

J. Ballard Everett, Raleigh. Ballard Everett & Associates. Compensation: $12,000.

North Dakota

Darrin Lee: $50,000
Darrin Lee: $50,000

Tamara Ibach, Bismarck.Senior Advisor, North Dakota at Des Moines-based LS2 Group.

Darrin Lee, Bismarck, North Dakota. President, Great Plains Group. Compensation: $50,000.

Ohio

John Farno, Minster, Ohio. Identity unknown.

Oregon

Timothy F. Lussier, Portland. Public relations.

Chris Edmonds, Portland. Hubbell Communications.

Pennsylvania

screen-shot-2017-03-02-at-5-03-23-pmMichael Pehur, Pittsburgh. Duane Morris Government Strategies.

Kathleen Deland, Pittsburgh. Duane Morris Government Strategies.

Ashley Henry Shook, Pittsburgh. Duane Morris Government Strategies.

Amy Kaminski, Pittsburgh. Duane Morris Government Strategies.

Joseph Kuklis, Pittsburgh. Wellington Strategies. Compensation:$6,000/month max fee.”

South Carolina

D. Hollis Felkel II, Greenville. Felkel Group.

Andrew S. Holt, Greenville. Sherlock Strategy Group.

South Dakota

South Dakota GOP Chair Daniel Lederman
South Dakota GOP Chair Daniel Lederman: $8,500

Daniel Lederman, Dakota Dunes and Des Moines, IA.  Newly-elected chair of South Dakota GOP and former South Dakota state senator. LS2group. Compensation: $8,500.

Tennessee

Paul Stanley, Collierville, Tennessee. Former Tennessee state senator; career ended by controversy. Compensation:$12,000.

Texas

William D. Horton, Austin. Identity unknown.

Utah

Andrew Stephenson, Draper. Stephenson Consulting. Compensation: $12,000.

Virginia

h-benson-dendy
H. Benson Dendy III, President of Vectre Corp

H. Benson Dendy III, Richmond. Vectre Corporation.

Christopher J. Whyte, Richmond. Vectre Corporation.

Philip F. Abraham, Richmond. Vectre Corporation.

Lauren R. Abraham, Richmond. Vectre Corporation.

M. David Skiles, Richmond. Vectre Corporation.

Christopher West, Alexandria. Identity unknown. Compensation: $30,000

Washington

silhouette-graphic
Jody Tedford: $36,000

Jody Tedford, Seattle. Identity unknown. Compensation: $36,000.

Charla Neuman, Sumner. Neuman Navigations. Compensation: $12,000.

Wisconsin

Jason Johns, Madison. National Senior Vice Commander, Military Order of the Purple Heart and proprietor of NMLB Veterans Advocacy Group in Madison, Wisconsin.  Fee: $100,000.

Johns is at the heart of a scheme by which large groups of veterans—motivated by a false description of JASTA—are flown to Washington to lobby against the law; veterans who have participated told 28Pages.org that Saudi Arabia’s role is not being disclosed.

Names in red are linked to the veterans lobbying scandal.

28Pages.org is dedicated to accuracy—if you find an error or wish to provide additional information, contact us: info@28pages.org.

Brian McGlinchey is the founder and director of 28Pages.org. 

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