Hastert contracted to lobby for Turkey

The Turkish government has signed another prominent former congressional leader to join its K Street team.

Former House Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.) and others at his firm, Dickstein Shapiro, are working on a $35,000-per-month contract for Turkey, according to records on file with the Justice Department.

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Hastert was the longest-serving Republican House Speaker until he retired from his seat after the 2006 midterm elections. He joined Dickstein in June 2008.

The agreement is a subcontract between Hastert’s firm and the Gephardt Group, founded by Richard Gephardt, the ex-Missouri congressman who was the Democratic House leader for several years. Gephardt and others at DLA Piper replaced the Livingston Group, longtime lobbyists for Turkey, as its Washington representatives last year.

In a Feb. 27 letter to Thomas O’Donnell, Gephardt’s former chief of staff and executive vice president at his firm, Dickstein partner Robert Mangas says he and Hastert “will be principally involved in the representation” of Turkey. Mangas says in the letter that the firm will serve as Turkey’s counsel, “in connection with the extension and strengthening of the Turkish-American relationship” in several areas, such as trade, energy security and counterterrorism efforts.

Also working with Hastert and Mangas on the contract at Dickstein are Allison Shulman, a legislative specialist at the firm, and former Sen. Tim Hutchinson (R-Ark.), according to Justice Department records.

One issue Hastert and others lobbying for Turkey will have to deal with this year is a congressional resolution that defines the killing of an estimated 1.5 million Armenians by Ottoman Turks in the early 1900s as genocide. The Turkish government opposes the resolution and has lobbied against it every time it has been introduced in Congress.

On the campaign trail last year, Barack ObamaBarack ObamaOvernight Tech: FCC chief gives states more control over internet subsidies | Dems urge Trump to veto bill blocking online privacy rules | House boosts its mobile security Overnight Defense: Pentagon considers more troops for Afghanistan | McCain, Graham won't back short-term funding | GOP defends Trump rules of engagement Paul Ryan sells out conservatives with healthcare surrender MORE explicitly said the killing was genocide. But on a recent trip to Turkey, President Obama only said he stood by those prior statements. He did not use the word “genocide,” angering some Armenian-American activists.

This Congress, the resolution to recognize the massacre as genocide was introduced by Rep. Adam SchiffAdam SchiffSchiff: I don't think White House wants to see Yates testify How Obama's White House weaponized media against Trump Intel Dem: 'What's the holdup' on Yates testimony? MORE (D-Calif.). So far, the bill has attracted 93 co-sponsors.

In October 2007, the same resolution was passed out of the House Foreign Affairs Committee in a contentious vote. But House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) did not end up allowing the bill to come to a vote as Turkish officials repeatedly said passing the resolution would threaten the nation's alliance with the United States.

Hastert has also been involved in the debate over the genocide resolution. In 2000, the Illinois Republican, then House Speaker, took the measure off the voting schedule after being asked by President Bill ClintonBill ClintonChelsea Clinton dismisses rumors she'll run for public office: report Trump seeks to stop lawsuit from ‘Apprentice’ contestant Trump asks why Clintons' ties to Russia aren't under investigation MORE to do so.