Kim and Connie Schmett’s Saudi Scandal Prompts New Iowa Laws

State officials banned from working for foreign governments

By Brian P. McGlinchey

Connie Schmett

In the wake of reporting by 28Pages.org and Associated Press that two Iowa officials worked for Saudi Arabia against a law that enabled 9/11 victims to proceed with a civil suit against the kingdom, the state has enacted legislation barring state officials from working for foreign governments.

Connie Schmett and her husband Kim Schmett are gubernatorial appointees to three state panels. Connie sits on the Health Facilities Council and the Cultural Trust Board of Trustees, and Kim chairs the Employment Appeal Board. Continue reading

In Blow to Kingdom, Judge Rejects Saudi Effort to Escape 9/11 Suit

Discovery phase will focus on two Saudis in southern California accused of aiding hijackers who attacked Pentagon

By Brian P. McGlinchey

Flight 77 Hijacker Nawaf al-Hazmi

U.S. District Judge George Daniels has rejected Saudi Arabia’s motion to be removed as a defendant in a civil suit in which thousands of 9/11 family members, survivors and insurers allege Saudi government officials and agents supported the al Qaeda plot that killed 2,996 people, injured more than 6,000 others and caused billions of dollars in damage to businesses and property.

From a Saudi public relations perspective, the timing of the decision is particularly inopportune: Crown prince Mohammed bin Salman is in the midst of an aggressive two-week tour of the United States aimed at rehabilitating the kingdom’s image. Continue reading

Iowa Governor Seeks Review of Officials Who Worked for Saudis

Ethics board to investigate Kim and Connie Schmett’s work for Saudi Arabia while they served in Iowa government

By Brian P. McGlinchey

Governor Kim Reynolds

Iowa governor Kim Reynolds yesterday announced that her office has asked the Iowa Ethics and Campaign Disclosure Board to review the case of two current state officials who did political work for Saudi Arabia at the same time they held important government positions.

Connie Schmett and her husband Kim Schmett earned $101,500 working for Saudi Arabia against a federal law that cleared the way for 9/11 victims to sue the kingdom for its alleged support of the September 11 plot. Continue reading

Document Exposes Inconsistent Disclosure of Saudi Hand in Campaign Against JASTA

Flyer filed with DOJ included required disclosure of Saudi sponsorship; version presented to military veterans did not

By Brian P. McGlinchey

28Pages.org has uncovered a striking example of lobbyists’ selective disclosure of Saudi Arabia’s sponsorship of their work against a law that enables 9/11 victims to sue the kingdom for its alleged support of the al Qaeda hijackers.

Specifically, lobbyists used two versions of a flyer that criticized the Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act (JASTA): An early version filed with the Department of Justice included a required disclosure of Saudi Arabia’s sponsorship; a version later presented to military veterans did not. Continue reading

Senate Campaign Faces Scrutiny of Strategist’s Work for Saudis

Boston Herald spotlights Holly Robichaud’s engagement in Saudi effort to amend Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act

On defensive, Robichaud advances misleading argument about JASTA, makes false claim about VFW, American Legion stances

By Brian P. McGlinchey 

Holly Robichaud

A U.S. Senate campaign faces controversy after the Boston Herald published a story on a key strategist’s participation in a Saudi lobbying campaign against the Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act (JASTA).

Massachusetts state representative Geoffrey Diehl, who is running for the 2018 Republican nomination to oppose incumbent senator Elizabeth Warren, hired Holly Robichaud to serve as a campaign strategist. 28Pages.org previously reported that Robichaud, a political consultant and columnist for the Boston Herald, registered in October 2016 as an agent of the Saudi government. Continue reading