Clients Don't Come Much Hotter

By Judy Sarasohn
Thursday, August 3, 2006

One of Barbour Griffith & Rogers' foreign clients has gotten a lot more interesting lately with the fighting that's broken out between Hezbollah in Lebanon and Israel.

The client is the National Dialogue Party of Lebanon and its chairman, Fouad Makhzoumi. The Republican shop registered to lobby for the Lebanese party in mid-June, with an effective start date of April 15. This was well before the Hezbollah Shiite militia on July 12 captured two Israeli soldiers in a cross-border raid and the subsequent attacks and counterattacks.

The Barbour Griffith effort, according to its foreign agent filing with the Justice Department, is to "include facilitating communications with executive branch and legislative branch officials and advising the principal with regard to the formulation of U.S. foreign policy." Now, it also involves getting Makhzoumi's message of support for a cease-fire and a diplomatic solution to policymakers in Washington.

Andrew Parasiliti , vice president of the lobby shop's foreign policy arm, Barbour Griffith & Rogers International , said Makhzoumi "has been a leader in promoting a secular, democratic, pro-reform agenda in Lebanese politics."

"Mr. Makhzoumi supports an immediate cease-fire between Israel and Hezbollah and a diplomatic solution to the current conflict, including direct discussions between the United States and Syria," said Parasiliti, a former foreign policy adviser to Sen. Chuck Hagel (R-Neb.).

Makhzoumi is also chairman of Future Pipe Industries, which has facilities in Gulfport, Miss., and around the world.

His political party, which is not aligned with any religious group, has a contract through Oct. 14, paying Barbour Griffith $50,000 a month for a total of $300,000. If it is extended, the fee goes to $60,000 a month.

Also on the Barbour Griffith team is Robert Blackwill , former U.S. ambassador to India and deputy national security adviser in the Bush administration; Ed Rogers , a veteran of the Reagan and Bush I administrations; and Stephen J. Yates , former deputy assistant for national security affairs to Vice President Cheney. Blackwill is president of Barbour Griffith & Rogers International.

Blackwill, Parasiliti and Dan Murphy , who was chief of staff to then-HUD secretary and now Sen. Mel Martinez (R-Fla.), were also registered to "provide guidance and counsel" on foreign policy to the embassy of Eritrea. That contract, which paid $65,000 a month for six months, or a total of $390,000, expired last month.

From Priorities to Rights

Henry Griggs is leaving the D.C.-based Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, where he's been communications director for the past four years, to join New York-based Human Rights First in October, where he'll also be communications director. Human Rights First is an international group formerly known as the Lawyers Committee for Human Rights.

It has been pushing to ensure that civil liberties and human rights are "not unnecessarily compromised" in the wake of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, as well as fighting for rules against torture and degrading treatment, and for refugee protections in Africa. "Henry joins us at a critical time in the public debate over how our country defines human rights," HRF Executive Director Maureen Byrnes said in a statement.

Here and There

Also on the move . . . Martin Frost , a former House Democrat from Texas, has joined Polsinelli Shalton Welte Suelthaus , a Midwest-based law firm. Frost has been a public policy scholar at the Woodrow Wilson International Center and a commentator for Fox News.

Gail Amidzich has moved from the International Association of Fire Fighters to the National Treasury Employees Union, where she is the new assistant director of legislation. She previously served as deputy director of legislative affairs for the Clinton White House drug-policy office and legislative director to then-Rep. Tony Hall (D-Ohio).

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