Governments across the Caribbean have been paying law firms in Washington DC “big money” to lobby the US government on their behalf, according to an investigation.
St Kitts and Nevis, the Dominican Republic, and Antigua and Barbuda are all included, reports News Americas Now.
The conclusions are based on the US Attorney General’s latest Foreign Agents Registration Act report, which is sent to Congress.
“There’s nothing wrong with this… to a point,” a source told WIC News.
“All the persons in the Caribbean have their interests. You just got to wonder how what goes on. I want the people to see the full picture.”
The Bahamas and the Dominica Republic were the biggest spenders in the six-month period ending 29 February 2016, spending US$1,490,126.30 and US$1,393,239.58, respectively.
At the other end of the scale, Barbados is reported to have paid US$3,548, while the government of Antigua and Barbuda shelled out US$15,147.37 with an application made to the National Committee on Foreign Medical Education and Accreditation to “have the US Secretary of Education determine that the foreign principal’s medical programme accreditation standards are comparable to those used in the United States.
Broad Range of Interests
The law firms hired by Caribbean administrations are some of the world’s highest earners.
Hogan Lovells, hired by Antigua-Barbuda and The Bahamas, has more than 40 offices around the world and in 2013 was the 11th biggest law firm in the world with earnings of almost US$2 billion.
Washington DC-based Patton Boggs, which earns almost $1 billion each year, was used by The Dominica Republic to give “advice to the foreign principal with respect to the development and implementation of public diplomacy programmes.”
However, some of the islands used “boutique firms”.
St Kitts and Nevis paid Lanny J Davis and Associates US$52,752.30 to “address the concerns of the US Treasury Department and the Canadian government” regarding “enhanced due diligence and background vetting related to the Citizenship by Investment Programme”.
Despite the company being one of the smaller featured in the investigation, Lanny J Davis was the former special counsel to US President Bill Clinton.