Qaddafi PR firm CEO to resign and admits wrongdoing
The founder and CEO of the American PR agency that represented Libyan strongman Col. Mummar Qaddafi has announced that he is resigning. The company also has admitted wrongdoing in failing to file as a Libyan registered foreign agent as required by U.S. law.
The firm, called the Monitor Group, however, still remains silent on its failure to register as lobbyists on behalf of the Libyan dictator. The Lobbying Disclosure Act of 1995 requires organizations and individuals to file with the U.S. Congress when they communicate with Members of Congress or their staff. Pajamas Media has reviewed LDA filings with the Clerk of the House of Representatives and has found no registration or filing by the Monitor Group. A company spokesman was contacted and has not replied to our inquiries.
In an admission of guilt, today the Monitor Group has announced that it will retroactively comply with Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA), which required the company to register as a agent of Tripoli with the U.S. Department of Justice. Pajamas Media originally reported the story about the Cambridge, Mass. company earlier this year here and here.
From 2006 to 2008 the Monitor Group received at least $3 million to wage a PR campaign on behalf of Qaddafi. It also represented Qaddafi's son, son Saif al Islam al-Qaddafi and his "charity," the Qaddafi International Charity and Development Foundation. The firm reportedly sponsored many meetings with Saif in Washington D.C. with human rights groups, think tanks and congressional staff.
Saif al Islam is not the son who recently was killed in a NATO bombing. Still alive, Saif al Islam is the most vocal of Qaddafi's six sons. He has repeatedly appeared on Libyan TV supporting his embattled father.
The Monitor Group, based in Cambridge, Mass was founded by seven Harvard faculty members. The multi-billion company recruited a wide range of intellectuals throughout the United States to vouch for the Qaddafi regime. Documents found by Libyan rebels disclosed the firm signed a PR contract with Al-Sanusi, Qaddafi's reputed Libyan intelligence chief.
Mark Fuller, one of the original seven Harvard founders and the lead representative of the Qaddafi PR account announced he will be stepping down and will be stripped of all "executive, managerial and governance roles" at the firm. It was Fuller who authored the infamous July 2006 memothat envisioned an agressive pro-democracy PR campaign on behalf of the dictator. Fuller will stay with the firm, however, to work on "developing elements of Monitor’s next generation of intellectual property."
The announcements were made this week in the wake of an internal investigation by a prestigious Washington law firm of Covington and Burling. U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder was a partner with Covington and Burling immediately before joining the Obama administration.
In a statement released by Monitor Managing Partner Stephen M. Jennings, he said “We made some mistakes along the way."