ROMNEY SURROUNDED BY PRO-U.N. LOBBYISTS
By Cliff Kincaid
Insisting that he is a Washington outsider, Mitt Romney has been captured on tape arguing with a reporter about whether a Washington lobbyist named Ron Kaufman runs or just advises his campaign for president. The more important issue is what Kaufman lobbies for. It turns out that Kaufman’s firm, as well as another Romney adviser, Vin Weber, have worked to put more American taxpayer dollars into the coffers of the corrupt United Nations and other international agencies.
Kaufman’s firm, Dutko Worldwide, represents and works directly with an organization chaired by Bill Clinton, the Global Fairness Initiative (GFI), whose board includes AFL-CIO President John Sweeney and is dedicated to promoting “a more equitable and sustainable world for all people.” A press release describes the substantial connections between Dutko and GFI, with a Dutko official being quoted as saying, “Dutko Global Advisors is proud to support the work and mission” of GFI “because its work is fundamentally about nurturing the virtuous cycle of free and fair trade, the creation of economic opportunities, and harmonious relations worldwide.” The group appears to be mostly devoted to pursuing international agreements or arrangements protecting labor rights and the environment in “fair trade” deals. This is, of course, a major demand of liberal and union groups.
Dutko also says it represented or has “worked with” various “multilateral organizations,” including the U.N.’s International Labor Organization and World Health Organization, and endeavors to “educate” the Congress and others about the “globally respected” work of the U.N. and its agencies. “Many multi-lateral organizations receive dues allocations from US government, as well as funds ear-marked for projects and programs important to public policies pursued by the US government,” Dutko says. The implication is that Dutko can keep the taxpayer dollars flowing to such causes.
But that’s not all. Romney adviser and lobbyist Vin Weber, a former Congressman and member of the board of the Council on Foreign Relations, worked for an organization promoting a U.S. taxpayer financial bailout of the United Nations. This group, the so-called Emergency Coalition for Financial Support of the U.N, included the pro-world government World Federalist Association, National Council of Churches, Catholics for a Free Choice, Americans for Democratic Action, and the United Nations Association.
The purpose of the Emergency Coalition for Financial Support of the U.N. was to get the U.S. Congress to pay a financial “debt” to the world organization. But the “debt” was phony because the world body never gave the U.S. credit for certain contributions to U.N. peacekeeping operations that amounted to billions of dollars above what the U.S. supposedly owed the world body. I wrote about this issue extensively during the late 1990s. You can read my Cato Institute report on the subject here.
Eventually, Senator Jesse Helms, the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and Senator Joseph Biden, ranking Democrat on the committee, agreed to payment of the so-called “debt” in exchange for certain U.N. “reforms,” such as a prohibition on the world body advocating global taxes on the American people.
A representative of the Romney campaign defended Weber’s work on the issue, saying his purpose was to work with Helms to make sure the money was paid to the U.N. But most of the U.N. “reforms” were not carried out and, in making the deal, Helms himself had noted that the U.S. was not getting credit or reimbursement for billions of dollars of extra contributions to the world organization. Indeed, Rep. Roscoe Bartlett had introduced the “U.N. Erroneous Debt Act” demanding proper credit for past peacekeeping assistance. Most of the extra assistance had been illegally diverted by the Clinton Administration from the Defense Department in support of U.N. military activities.
Weber, who backed Senator John McCain for president in 2000, was announced as Romney’s “policy chairman” in January of 2007 and was described as overseeing “all policy development.”
Romney was one of the last GOP presidential candidates to come out against the U.N.’s Law of the Sea Treaty, now pending before the U.S. Senate. He did so through a statement from a spokesman, Kevin Madden, who said that, “Governor Romney has concerns with the Law of the Sea Treaty. He believes giving unaccountable international institutions more power is a serious problem." The Romney statement was considered mild compared to those of other candidates.
Weber is chief executive officer and partner of the lobbying firm, Clark & Weinstock, which says that it has “represented a blue-chip roster of Fortune 500 Companies and some of the most influential organizations in the world” but its website has no details. The section of its website on clients “is under development and will be completed Fall 2007,” which of course was last year.
Romney adviser Kaufman, a former aide to President Reagan, has impressive Republican credentials. He is a member of the Republican National Committee and still serves as an adviser to the former President Bush. But his involvement in the firm’s international operations, known as Dutko Global Advisors, has put him into direct contact with and representation of prominent Democrats and their causes.
By its own admission, the Dutko Global Advisors represents “sovereign governments,” non-governmental organizations, and “foreign entities.” Its “experts” are said to be good at forging “unique relationships with governments and multilateral institutions through the creation of public private partnerships.”
One of those foreign entities, according to published reports, is Citgo, the U.S. subsidiary of the oil firm run by Venezuela’s anti-American ruler Hugo Chavez.
Karen A. Tramantano, the “principal” of Dutko Global Advisers, is listed on the website of the Global Fairness Initiative as president of the GFI board and a senior adviser to the International Labor Organization Director General. She was a chief of staff to John Sweeney, when he ran the Service Employees International Union, and from 1997 to 2000 was an Assistant to President Clinton.
Nancy A. Donaldson, one of several advisors to GFI, is identified as a Vice President with Dutko Worldwide and someone who worked on “the release of the frozen U.S. payments to the UN.” This is another reference to the phony U.N. “debt” issue.
Sally Painter, the Treasurer/Secretary of the GFI, is the Managing Director of Dutko Global Advisors and served as Executive Director of the Business Coalition for US-China Trade, “where she helped secure passage of Permanent Normal Trade Relations with China,” her bio states.
Under the heading of “international development finance,” Dutko says that it advises corporate clients on “economic investment and project financing” in other countries “without tapping their corporate assets or expending significant capital.” It goes on to say, “Our development finance international team has a proven track record of providing clients with access to capital and project financing, both short and long term, that does not risk corporate assets and with terms that are economical. To achieve these goals, Dutko identifies resources within international financial institutions that lower the cost of financing and reduce corporate economic and political risks.”
These international financial institutions are, of course, heavily financed by U.S. taxpayers. They include the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank.
The “links” page of the GFI website, based on affiliations through the GFI board of directors, directs people to such organizations as the Clinton Global Initiative, the Clinton Presidential Center, the AFL-CIO and the Dutko firm.
Romney’s confrontation with Glen Johnson of Association Press over lobbyists involved with his presidential campaign was sparked by Romney’s statement that, “I don’t have lobbyists running my campaign. I don’t have lobbyists that are tied to my…” Johnson interrupted by citing Kaufman. Romney countered by suggesting that Kaufman was a minor figure in the campaign, even though he is seen traveling with the former Massachusetts Governor and has participated in sessions designed to prepare Romney for presidential debates.
Kaufman has also appeared on various television programs on behalf of Romney, identified as “the senior adviser” to the campaign.
The AP’s Johnson is being attacked by some conservative bloggers as an obnoxious left-wing journalist. It would be easy to take a shot at the media under these circumstances. But real conservatives concerned about policies and issues should not throw the questions aside. They are legitimate. The credibility of Romney is just as important as the manners of the press.
Contact Romney for President and ask that the candidate terminate his ties to the pro-U.N. lobby.
for President, Inc.
2008 Cliff Kincaid - All Rights Reserved
E-Mails are used strictly for NWVs alerts, not for sale
Cliff Kincaid, a veteran journalist and media critic, Cliff concentrated in journalism and communications at the University of Toledo, where he graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree.
Cliff has written or co-authored nine books on media and cultural affairs and foreign policy issues.
Cliff has appeared on Hannity & Colmes, The O’Reilly Factor, Crossfire and has been published in the Washington Post, Washington Times, Chronicles, Human Events and Insight.
Insisting that he is a Washington outsider, Mitt Romney has been captured on tape arguing with a reporter about whether a Washington lobbyist named Ron Kaufman runs or just advises his campaign for president.