Richard Smotkin, the lobbyist whose work for former Environmental Protection Agency chief Scott Pruitt made headlines last year, has signed a pact with the Republic of Kazakhstan’s Ministry of Culture and Sports, the executive body that oversees culture, inter-ethnic stability, language development, religious activities, physical culture and sports, as well as gambling within the central Asian country.

Richard Smotkin
Richard Smotkin

Working through his lobbying outfit ThirdCircle, Inc., Smotkin will facilitate meetings between Kazakhstan’s Ministry of Culture and Sports and representatives within the U.S. film and media industry, according to Foreign Agents Registration Act documents filed in April.

The meetings are intended to improve bilateral relations between Kazakhstan and the U.S as well as advance cultural exchange opportunities between the two nations.

Smotkin, who was formerly senior vice president of government affairs at Comcast, was the center of controversy last year when it was discovered he’d received a $40,000-a-month contract to lobby on behalf of the Moroccan government, mere months after he’d organized a $100,000 trip for longtime friend—and then EPA head—Scott Pruitt to visit Morocco, ostensibly for the purpose of promoting U.S. liquefied natural gas exports.

That December 2017 trip prompted an investigation from the EPA inspector general. Pruitt resigned from the EPA administrator post in July.

TC takes a fixed monthly fee of $30,000 for the Kazakhstan pact, with all travel and accommodations to be reimbursed.