The Libyan Presidency: Does the Road to Tripoli go through Washington, DC?

 

 

Unfortunately, it seems that a few Libyan politicians believe it does, as perplexing as it may seem.  This is the second time the issue materialized due to a Libyan politician making the rounds in Washington.

Controversially,  one could argue that these two Libyan politicians have paid to market themselves to the American media, as well as ‘to CQ Roll Call, a professor at George Washington University, the Middle East Institute, the US Institute of Peace, the US-Libya Business Association, staffers at the Department of Defense and members of Congress.’    The irony in both cases is that the interviewing American media noted that BEFORE campaigning to the Americans, either candidate ‘doesn’t appear to have much of a constituency in Libya’.    That is, little name recognition among the Libyans.

Government of Libya: Office of Prime Minister

Government of Libya: Office of Prime Minister.  (We were unable to find a seal for the Presidency.  One can assume it is in the making.)

Currently, while Libya is in political transition, interim Prime Minister is the top contested position.   However, after the Constitution is ratified, the Libyan Presidency will become the contestable post.   This is why the latest Libyan candidate announced while in Washington, his intent to seek that coveted position.

 

Questions of a ‘Foreign’ Entity

Set aside the marketing issue, a recent document has revealed that this candidate  may have serious issues about a ‘Foreign’ entity that may have ‘Supervised’, ‘Directed’, ‘Controlled’, ‘Financed’ and ‘Subsidized’ his candidacy.

So we paused our next article to examine the issue of another document filed with the US government on behalf a future Libyan presidential candidate.   We first start with the part of his document describing paid lobbying activities that are used in the US  by Bashir Musa Mohamed al-Faqehi.    See PDF:Dr. Bashir Musa PDF- FARA 6238

 

These are the ‘activities’ for Mr. al-Faqehi that are executed by the Washington DC lobbyist.

Dr. Bashir Musa's FARA 6238 List of 'political activities' provided by the lobbyist

An excerpt fromDr. Bashir Musa’s FARA 6238 List of ‘political activities’ provided by the lobbyist.  HERE

(The Lobbyist)’…will engage in campaign management and candidate representation including reputation building among U.S. Officials, Staff and U.S. Media…’

‘Campaign management’.   ‘Reputation building among U.S. Officials…’     One could described this as a future Libyan presidential candidate CAMPAIGNING to Americans.  

 

Basit Igtet set the Lobbying Precedent

Basit Igtet was the first Libyan candidate to seek the position of Prime Minister by first campaigning to Americans.   In December 2013 Forbes’ Carrie Sheffield noting his candidacy said that Mr. Igtet:

‘recently enlisted the law firm of foreign policy heavyweight former Sen. Joe Lieberman in a deal likely to broker him meetings with Obama administration officials and members of Congress.’

'Basit Igtet with Senator Joe Lieberman' Flickr Congressional Tour

‘Basit Igtet with Senator Joe Lieberman’ Flickr – ‘The Congressional Tour’  HERE

‘Likely to broker him to meetings with Obama administration officials and members of Congress’,  Mr. Igtet hired the correct New York law firm to lobby on his behalf.   Mr. Lieberman was a Senator for 24 years and was a former US vice-presidential candidate in 2000.   As POLITICO, the Washington Intelligence & Lobbying Magazine stated on 27 November 2013:

‘Lieberman’s firm Kasowitz Benson Torres & Friedman has signed a contract with Igtet that includes “government relations services, communication of information to the principal and as well as [communication of] information about the principal to interested persons in the public sector…’

POLITICO noted that Mr. Igtet’s FARA contract as: http://1.usa.gov/1eA9KaZ.   We note that Mr. Igtet’s team published the fruits of their investment on Flickr as Mr. Igtet’s “Congressional Tour” with a series of 5 pictures.   Finally, in April 2014, Mr. Igtet announced in his NGO INLIFO, his intent ‘to run for President of Libya’ when it becomes contestable.    See the tweet:

 

Bashir Musa Mohamed al-Faqehi or Dr. Bashir Musa

FARA Quick Search Dr. Bashir Musa

FARA Quick Search: Dr. Bashir Musa.  Click: Quick Search. Click: Active Foreign Principals. Type: Libya HERE

Like his predecessor Mr. Igtet, an US Government FARA document was filed on the 4 August 2014 for Bashir Musa Mohamed al-Faqehi by the Washington DC lobbyist hired to represent him.   According to Al Monitor, in Libya, Mr. al-Faqehi was one of 7 candidates seeking to be the new interim prime minister.  In the 186th Session of the General National Congress, the vote was on April 29, 2014.    Mr. al-Faqehi received 5 votes.  See PDF: Dr. Bashir Musa PDF- FARA 6238

 

A FARA Registration Statement

A division of the US Justice Department, the FARA Registration Unit’s site describes the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA) and its disclosure statement:

‘FARA is a disclosure statute that requires persons acting as agents of foreign principals in a political or quasi-political capacity to make periodic public disclosure of their relationship with the foreign principal, as well as activities, receipts and disbursements in support of those activities.’

In other words, it is a regulation that makes a public accounting of lobbying activities for foreign nationals in the United States.   It is filed by the lobbyist as it details his relationship with the foreign national.   James P. Creaghan of AUX Initiatives, LLC, a Washington DC Lobbying firm was required by law to file this statement outlining the services AUX Initiatives would provide to Dr. Musa.   The services are detailed in the FARA #6238 document Exhibit B, question 9:

‘REGISTRANT, (AUX Initiatives, LLC.), WILL ENGAGE IN CAMPAIGN MANAGEMENT AND CANDIDATE REPRESENTATION, INCLUDING REPUTATION BUILDING AMONG U.S. OFFICIALS, STAFF, AND U.S. MEDIA. PLEASE SEE ATTACHED CONTRACT; ACTIVITIES MAY INCLUDE ARRANGING/ATTENDING MEETINGS WITH FEDERAL GOVERNMENT OFFICIALS AND ARRANGING INTERVIEWS WITH U.S. MEDIA.’

 

The Lobbyist’s Remuneration

Dr. Musa FARA 6238 attached contract with Compensation

An excerpt from Dr. Musa FARA 6238 attached contract with Compensation HERE

The FARA document also details the remuneration paid to Aux Initiatives for Dr. Musa’s lobbying services.   Although Dr. Musa stated he paid USD $350,000, the ENTIRE amount paid was USD $700,000.   It was paid in two payments; the first ‘has been previously received’ and the final $350,000 being paid ‘prior to travel the United States, August 2014.’    Dr. Musa was in Washington DC with the African Summit in August.    From-attached contract FARA #6238: 

‘For services rendered, the Client agrees to pay compensation to the AUX Initiatives LLC as follows:

Fees: For services, we will charge the Client a fee of seven hundred thousand U.S. dollars ($700,000). The first half of this amount has been previously received. Client shall sign this agreement and verify initiated wire transfer of balance owed (USD$350,000) prior to travel to the United States, August 2014.’

 

The Problem with Dr. Musa’s FARA Statement

There is a significant problem with the Dr. Musa’s FARA statement.   The problem pertains to Exhibit A, question 8.B.    So serious are the allegations made in the statement that we believe that a clarification by Dr. Musa is required.    Question 8.B is a series of ‘YES’ OR ‘NO’ questions examining international political and financial relationships of ‘the Foreign Principal’.   The ‘Foreign Principal’ is Dr. Musa.

b) Is this foreign principal:

  • Supervised by a foreign government, foreign political party, or other foreign principal
  • Owned by a foreign government, foreign political party, or other foreign principal
  • Directed by a foreign government, foreign political party, or other foreign principal
  • Controlled by a foreign government, foreign political party, or other foreign principal
  • Financed by a foreign government, foreign political party, or other foreign principal
  • Subsidized in part by a foreign government, foreign political party, or other foreign principal
Bashir Musa FARA Exhibit A 8a-b & 9

THE excerpt from Bashir Musa FARA #6238 Exhibit A, 8a-b & 9

Mr. Creaghan answered ‘YES’ to all these questions except #2  ‘Owned.’   (see chart)

The significance of ‘YES’ to all these questions is that Mr. Creaghan, as Dr. Musa’s registrant, DECLARED that Dr. Musa is being Supervised, Directed, Controlled, Financed and Subsidized by a Foreign Government, or a Foreign Political Party or other Foreign Principal (Person).

The FARA statement as is indicates that Dr. Musa is being handled by external actors.

 

Question 9 – A required explanation for 8.b

Further, we note in question 9 (above), Mr. Creaghan FAILS to explain, although required, WHO is the foreign government, political party or other foreign principal.   Rather, Mr. Creaghan while NOT giving the names of those affiliated with Dr. Musa, inaccurately answers the question by defining HIS relationship to Dr. Musa.  From question 9:

9.  Explain fully all items answered “Yes” in Item 8(b). (If additional space is needed, a full insert page must be Used.)

FOREIGN PRINCIPAL IS A FOREIGN INDIVIDUAL FINANCING, SUPERVISING, DIRECTING AND CONTROLLING WORK OF REGISTRANT.

This is an evasive, non-answer to the question.   The question seeks clarification; is it a foreign government, OR a foreign political party OR other foreign principal?

As this statement is filed by an established Washington DC Lobbying firm, AUX Initiatives, making such errors is highly unlikely.   However, it should be noted that this US Government statement was filed by James P. Creaghan which in 2009 according to The Times-Picaynne, Greater New Orleans paper, Mr. James P. Creaghan testified against former U.S. Rep. William Jefferson, D-New Orleans ‘as a part of a deal with the government to avoid prosecution.’   The paper elaborates: 

‘ALEXANDRIA, VA – James Creaghan, a Baton Rouge lobbyist who has testified that he was involved in bribe schemes with former U.S. Rep. William Jefferson…’

A Comparison

We added a copy of Basit Igtet’s FARA inactive statement to compare.    Note in Exhibit A, Question 8.B, Mr. Igtet’s statement answered ‘NO’ to all the same questions.   See PDF:  Basit Igtet PDF- FARA 6197

Basit Igtet 8a-b, 9 FARA 6197

Basit Igtet 8a-b, 9 FARA 6197

Therefore, as serious allegations arise from his statement, a clarification from Dr. Musa should be given to the Libyan people.   The statement should clarify why his statement indicates that he has been supervised, directed, controlled, financed and subsidized in his political campaign.

 

 

Dr. Bashir Musa Photo Al-Monitor

Dr. Bashir Musa Photo Al-Monitor

Who is Bashir Musa Mohamed al-Faqehi or Dr. Bashir Musa?

Barbara Slavin, a Washington correspondent for Al-Monitor and a senior fellow at the Atlantic Council interviewed Dr. Musa for Al-Monitor in August 2014 while he was in Washington DC:

 

‘Bashir Musa, a Libyan businessman, has been making the rounds in Washington this week, laying the ground, he told Al-Monitor, to run for president of Libya…’

Musa said he supported the revolution against the late Libyan strongman Moammar Gadhafi and provided money for medicine and other aid to Musa’s hometown of Bani Walid, south of Tripoli. When asked for specifics, however, he said he did not remember the name of the organization that provided the assistance.

Musa seems to be unknown among Libya experts at Washington think tanks and doesn’t appear to have much of a constituency in Libya. He came in fourth — with only five votes — among seven candidates for interim prime minister a few months ago but said the showing was the result of the fact that the parliament at the time was controlled by Islamists.’

 

Headway UniversityDr. Musa’s Doctorate.   Finally, significantly less important but worthy of mention, is the fact the online university where Dr. Musa’s received his doctorate has a serious accreditation problem.  Ms. Slavin noted that Dr. ‘Musa, who holds a doctorate in business administration from Headway University’.

There are as many serious credibility allegations against the online university.  On the issue of Headway University’s accreditation, we can report that:

  • The Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board declared  Headway University is one of the Institutions Whose Degrees are Illegal to Use in Texas.’
  • The Better Business Bureau of counties of Los Angeles, Santa Clara, San Benito, Santa Cruz and Monterey state ‘that this business is not BBB accredited.’

 

A Conclusion

Does the road to the Libyan Presidency go through Washington?   Unfortunately, it seems some Libyan politicians believe it does.   Is it a trend?   It seems too early to know.

As for Dr. Musa, Ms Slavin noted he ‘doesn’t appear to have much of a constituency in Libya.’    This is why we find it perplexing that a Libyan presidential candidate like Dr. Musa and Basit Igtet, decide to campaign to American officials BEFORE building a base among their own Libyan constituents.    It seems that not only does Dr. Musa need to clear up a few issues with his Libyan constituency, but he needs to spend time with his Libyan constituency.

 

 

Parts of the article is reproduced in accordance with Section 107 of title 17 of the Copyright Law of the United States relating to fair-use and is for the purposes of criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, and research.

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