Now America is cheering Ukraine on, but let’s not forget the damage that it did.
Outside View: Washington consultants and
opaque Ukrainian government tenders
Published: March. 28, 2013
TARAS KUZIO || UPI Outside View Commentator
WASHINGTON, March 28 (UPI) —
Foreign Agent Registration Act (Department of Justice) reporting shows that authoritarian Ukrainian Presidents Leonid Kuchma and Viktor Yanukovych have poured far more millions of U.S. dollars into Washington political consultants, lobbyists and lawyers than pro-Western opposition and ruling “orange” forces.
In addition to the on-going contract with Davis Manafort International since 2005, the Yanukovych administration and Party of Regions, Arnall Golden Gregory LLP and Tauzin Consultants LLC provide consultancy services to Party of Regions parliamentary deputy Petro Shpenov for the sum of $40,000 per month.
In 2010, the government of Ukrainian Prime Minister Nikolai Azarov paid $3 million for an international audit of the 2007-10 Tymoshenko government. The contract was given to Trout Cacheris, a law and lobbying firm, Akim Gump Strauss Hauer and Feld, an international law firm whose client list includes Ukrainian oligarch Rinat Akhmetov, and Kroll investigative agency. None of the three companies is professional auditors.
Vin Weber was awarded the endowment’s Democracy Service Medal in recognition of his service as National Endowment for Democracy chairman (2001-09). Weber, one of U.S. presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s top foreign-policy advisers, is a registered lobbyist for the European Centre for a Modern Ukraine.This represents a clear contradiction, Weber, after promoting democracy for the first decade of this century, became a lobbyist for a government that is dismantling the democratic achievements of the Orange Revolution.
Weber is a partner at Mercury/Clark and Weinstock, a company formed through a merger of the New York law firm Clark and Weinstock with Mercury Communications.
The ECFMU has additionally hired the Podesta Group to lobby in Washington. Tony Podesta, like Weber, is among the top lobbyists in the United States and is close to the Democratic Party and his brother, John Podesta, is a former member of President Bill Clinton’s administration, is an advisor to President Barack Obama.
The ECFMU’s U.S. Allies Project “seeks to inform the American government, opinion leaders, political decision makers and civil society, focusing on reforms being undertaken by Ukraine as part of its commitment to becoming a fully Western-facing democracy.”
In 2012, U.S. law firm Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher and Flom LLP prepared a lengthy legal investigation of the Tymoshenko trial for $1.25 million in a contract given without a tender. Skadden have been awarded a second contract by the Ukrainian government to report on expected European Court of Human Rights rulings on
imprisoned Yulia Tymoshenko. The Skadden office in Washington, including head of the office Clifford (Mike) M. Naeve, was asked for comments on their Ukrainian contracts but they never returned the requests.
U.S. State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland responded to journalists’ questions about the Skadden report by saying, “our concern is that Skadden Arps lawyers were obviously not going to find political motivation if they weren’t looking for it.”
The report also fails to consider the selective nature of the trials, those who were chosen for trials against Tymoshenko and her — and former members of her government.