Liberian president Ellen Johnson Sirleaf is denying reports that her African nation spent more than $200M in U.S. lobbying fees and invites a Congressional probe into Liberia’s promotional spending.
"I have written to our friends in Congress," she said during an interview with New Dawn, "and I am quite sure they will evaluate this thing.” She called it “preposterous” that an impoverished nation with an annual budget of less than $600M would shell out for such a big PR campaign.
The U.S. Agency for International Development’s budget for Liberia falls in the $125M range.
Sirleaf, who has established close ties with U.S., said her Administration is well equipped to handle the D.C. scene. “We are our own effective lobbyists. I can do better lobbying for Liberia than any PR firm can do. I don't need any PR firm to do it for me. I don't need it,” the president told ND.
Sirlead admitted to using KRL International for “supplemental” PR representation. KRL received $40K from Liberia during the year ended Jan. 31 for Congressional and White House outreach.
U.S. citizens founded Liberia in the early 1800s as a country for African-American slaves.
Sirleaf, who won the president’s election in 2005 and was re-elected in 2011, was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2011 in recognitions of her efforts on behalf of women’s rights.
A Liberian official said some might have confused the country’s PR budget with what it spends to lobbying the maritime sector of using flag-of-convenience registry.
Sirleaf though doesn’t know the lobbying budget of the Liberian Shipping and Corporate Registry.