Following a Justice Department review, Republican lobbyists Barbour, Griffith, and Rogers have amended their filings to represent former Iraqi interim Prime Minister Ayad Allawi, registering to represent his party instead. Meanwhile, Allawi ramped up his rhetoric on Wednesday, calling for the resignation of Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki for the first time.
In papers submitted to the DoJ just before close of business Tuesday (see below), BGR filed an amendment that named the Iraqi National Accord as the "foreign principal" the firm would represent.
The Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA) requires persons representing foreign individuals or organizations in a political or quasi-political capacity to publicly disclose their relationship, as well as activities, receipts and disbursements in support of activities on behalf of the foreign principal.
In filing papers with the Department of Justice, required for compliance with FARA, BGR's Dan Murphy originally registered Allawi as the sole foreign principal the firm would be representing, checking of the appropriate box to confirm that he was not being “financed by a foreign government, foreign political party, or other foreign principal.”
A few days later, Allawi appeared on CNN's Late Edition, telling Wolf Blitzer that his BGR campaign was being underwritten by a supporter, contradicting BGR filings, and putting the firm in a tight spot with the DoJ.
While an individual has to reveal outside sources of funding, foreign organizations, political parties, or governments do not. With its revised filing, BGR has managed to pull an easy sidestep in order to maintain the anonymity of Allawi's backer.
The latest developments in the backstory to Allawi's new campaign is happening just as the former Iraqi leader has for the first time called for the current prime minister's resignation.
In an interview with CNN, Allawi said, "If I were in his shoes, I would resign, I would not stay for a single second in office," said Allawi -- the first mainstream Iraqi politician to call for al-Maliki's resignation.
According to Allawi, Maliki has ignored calls to rid the government of sectarian agendas and tolerance for Iranian influence.
Allawi also challenged an assertion in the GAO report that concluded Iraq is ensuring the rights of minority political parties--one of only three benchmarks the GAO marked as "met."
"The Sunnis are being harassed and intimidated, and they've pulled out of the government," Allawi said. "And the rest, the liberal forces like us, are being faced with pressure, extreme pressure. So this is really not a healthy democratic system we have."
Barbour, Griffith, and Rogers latest DoJ filings bgrjusticefile.pdf