Sen. Elizabeth Warren wrote letters to the heads of 23 PR/lobbying firms to determine the extent of their current and past business with Saudi Arabia in the aftermath of the Oct. 2 torture, murder and dismemberment of dissident and Washington Post contributor Jamal Khashoggi.
The Massachusetts Democrat noted that "lobbying for the Saudi government has been a profitable industry," and quoted a Bloomberg estimate that DC lobbyists "raked in $76.9M" over the past decade for Saudi Arabia advocacy work.
"This ongoing status as a representative of Saudi government interests raises questions about whether your firm prioritizes profit over basic human rights, and whether it is ethically and morally defensible for American lobbyists to be providing services to a repressive regime that does not share America's values," wrote Warren in her Nov. 28 letter.
Warren's letters went to Hill+Knowlton's Jack Martin, FleishmanHillard's John Saunders and MSLGroup Americas' Ron Guirguis, who stepped down from the helm last month.
They ask for full and unredacted contracts with the Saudis from Jan. 20, 2017 (Trump's inauguration day) to the present, list of specific issues, potential involvement with Trump administration officials and whether the firm expects to continue Saudi representation.
The Senator also penned missives to the heads of five firms, (Gladstone Place Partners' Steve Lipin, BGR's Lanny Griffith, Glover Park Group's Michael Feldman, Harbour Group's Richard Mintz and Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher's Ken Doran) commending them for their decision to ax Saudi Arabia from their client roster..
"It is a positive step toward reducing the corrosive influence of foreign governments and other special interests on our democracy," she wrote.. "But while your firm has dropped Saudi Arabia as a client, it remains in the public interest for your firm to provide a full, transparent accounting of its previous business ties to the Saudi government."
Warren wants the requested information by Dec. 5.