Lobbyists labor for U.S. World Cup bid

While the United States may be out of this World Cup, they are very much in the game for future ones as potential hosts.

And Washington lobbyists are helping to consolidate support for that bid among lawmakers on Capitol Hill.

{mosads}The Glover Park Group has been lobbying for the U.S. World Cup bid committee since November 2009, earning $60,000 in lobbying fees so far, according to Senate records. As one of 10 bids to host either the 2018 or 2022 World Cups, the United States is now wooing FIFA.

Heading up the K Street effort for the bid committee is Brett O’Brien, a managing director at the lobby firm. O’Brien is a former defense and foreign policy adviser to ex-House Democratic Leader Richard Gephardt (Mo.) as well as to former Senate Majority Leader George Mitchell (D-Maine).

Along with the lobbying help, the bid committee already packs some serious political firepower.

Its honorary chairman is former President Bill Clinton, last seen in South Africa at Team USA’s World Cup loss to Ghana. Other national politicians serving on the committee include former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) and New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg (R).

And lawmakers are beginning to get behind the country’s bid too. A draft letter to FIFA President Sepp Blatter in support of the United States’s World Cup bid is being circulated among senators by Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.).

“We can think of no better way to show America’s enthusiasm for the sport than to again play gracious host to the world’s athletes and spectators in the coming years. With memories of the successful World Cup in 1994, we hope to be given the opportunity to provide the coming generation with an event that is greater in scale and grandeur than any before,” the letter states.

Several senators have begun to sign onto the letter, including Sen. Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), the chairman of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee.

The United States submitted its bid to FIFA in May. Those competing against the United States to be World Cup hosts include Australia, England, Qatar and Russia.

Before making a final decision, FIFA’s executive committee will visit each potential host country this fall to further judge their bids. The U.S. bid committee and others will then make their final presentations to FIFA in December when FIFA’s executive committee will vote on who will host the 2018 and 2022 World Cups.

Tags Bill Clinton Bob Menendez Kirsten Gillibrand
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