Washington lobbyists and Egypt part ways

The PLM Group and the Egyptian government have parted ways.

In a statement, the PLM Group — made up of Podesta Group, the Livingston Group and the Moffett Group — said the firm and Egypt were immediately ending their relationship after four years of representation in Washington. 

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The leaders of the three lobby firms said they hope Egypt will continue to be a strong U.S. ally.

“We hope that Egyptians continue to enjoy the deepening of democracy in their country, and that Egypt remains a strong, stable and vital ally of the United States,” said former Rep. Toby Moffett (D-Conn.), former Rep. Bob Livingston (R-La.) and Tony Podesta.

The lobbying firm has attracted controversy recently since Egyptian authorities raided civil-society groups, including the National Democratic Institute (NDI) and the International Republican Institute (IRI), which both have close ties to Washington. Several Americans, including the son of Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, have been barred from leaving Egypt.

Lawmakers have called on Egypt to let Sam LaHood, who is the director of the IRI’s Egyptian program, and the other workers leave the country.

“We came to the end of the road,” Moffett told The Hill. “In my view, there was no basis for going forward.”

The ex-congressman said he loved working with the Egyptian embassy, especially with Ambassador Sameh Shoukry and Major General Mohamed Elkeshky, the defense attaché, but the government back home was not helping the situation.

“We loved working with them but they are getting nothing from Cairo,” Moffett said.

Moffett noted that the Obama administration has pressured Egypt since the raids took place. In a Jan. 20 phone call to Field Marshall Mohammed Hussein Tantawi, head of Egypt’s military, President Obama “emphasized the important role that civil society, including non-governmental organizations, have in a democratic society” and “underscored that non-governmental organizations should be able to operate freely,” according to a White House readout.

“They know this little episode with NDI and IRI may signal a bigger transformation,” Moffett said. Overall, the lobbyist said he was unhappy that the contract had to come to an end.

“I'm really sad about this. I threw myself into this,” Moffett said. “It became inoperable.”

Messages left with the other lobby firms were not immediately returned.