Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Ridge and Albania

Former head of Fatherland Security and current national co-chair of the McQueeg campaign either doesn't know the laws about registering as a lobbyist of a foreign nation or he doesn't think it applies to him. From Roll Call (registration required) via War and Piece:

For almost two years former Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge failed to register a nearly half-million-dollar lobbying contract that he had with the government of Albania.
Ridge filed a registration statement on behalf of the country earlier this month after being contacted by the Department of Justice.

"It was brought to my attention after the contract expired and my lawyer said under the circumstances I probably should have filed," said Ridge, who is a national co-chairman of Sen. John McCain's (R-Ariz.) presidential campaign and has been mentioned as a potential vice presidential running mate. "I didn't think it was [necessary] to register."

The Foreign Agents Registration Act requires agents to register with the DOJ within 10 days of signing a contract with a foreign government and before performing any duties for the client.

Additionally, "foreign agents" must file biannual reports detailing any agreements, income received and expenditures on behalf of foreign countries or corporations owned by countries.

Ridge, the former Pennsylvania governor, represented Albania from October 2006 through the end of August 2007 on issues ranging from homeland security to NATO membership.

On May 7, 2007, Ridge and Albanian Prime Minister Sali Berisha met with Sens. Joe Lieberman (ID-Conn.) and Chuck Hagel (R-Neb.) to discuss "various reforms undertaken by the government of Albania to comply with NATO and EU requirements," according to the FARA supplemental statement. Ridge and Berisha met with Rep. Jim Costa (D-Calif.) to discuss the same issues on May 8.

The time stamp on Ridge's registration statement with the Justice Department is dated June 12, 2008. ...

Ridge's registration was spurred by a DOJ inquiry after press accounts surfaced noting Ridge's connection to the country. ...

After a meeting with Justice and his counsel at Blank Rome, Ridge decided to file his FARA registration.

"Once we were made aware of certain contacts by Gov. Ridge, we advised him to register, which he did," said Topper Ray, a spokesman for Blank Rome. ...

I love that last bit. Ridge can't even claim that he got bad legal advice because he didn't tell his lawyers. Once they knew, then they told him to go register.

No comments: