South Sudan, accused of killing thousands in a civil war and starving more because it claims to be broke, doled out nearly $2 million to Washington, D.C. public relations and lobbying firms with ties to Hillary Clinton to keep the spigot of taxpayer aid open at full blast, according to a new report.
The Center for Public Integrity on Thursday said that some of the money went to a firm owned by the brother of Clinton Campaign Chairman John Podesta and a former top State Department aid. Other money went to a firm tied to Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid that created the "What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas" campaign.
And to cover its bases, the murderous government hired a Washington firm headed by a former top House GOP leadership official.
All of it was aimed at spinning a positive story about the war-torn nation and its killer regime and convincing the administration and the State Department Clinton once headed to continue giving it money.
Noting reports of murder, rape, bloodshed and famine, CPI said, "while the South Sudan government largely claims it doesn't have enough money to fix these problems, the struggling government was able to spend $2.1 million on Washington, D.C., lobbying and public relations firms from 2014 through the end of 2015 —$2.1 million to buff up its image, keep U.S. aid flowing and stave off harsher U.S.‐backed sanctions in response to its atrocities."
The full report can be seen here.
The key findings:
— The U.S. has spent $1.6 billion since the war began in December 2013 on humanitarian aid for the South Sudanese.
— R&R Partners received $900,000 for PR help. It developed the Vegas motto and helps Reid's public relations. It is still owed another $900,000.
— $480,000 went to the "super-connected" Podesta Group, headed by Clinton fundraiser Tony Podesta, the brother of Clinton Campaign Chairman John Podesta. Working on the South Sudan contract was David Adams who served as assistant secretary of state for legislative affairs and chief legislative adviser to Clinton.
— A firm owned by former House Republican Rep. J.C. Watts received $120,000 for "government‐to‐government advocacy and business development advisory services."
Mayom Bol Achuk, a Sudanese refugee, called the PR and lobbying payments "blood money." He told CPI: "You are benefiting, you are a beneficiary of a war situation," he said. "This is blood money.'"
Paul Bedard, the Washington Examiner's "Washington Secrets" columnist, can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org