BuzzFeed News

Reporting To You


Fundraisers For Bush, Clinton Registered To Lobby For Middle Eastern Governments

The men, who work for DLA Piper, have lobbied on behalf of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

Last updated on July 16, 2015, at 1:42 p.m. ET

Posted on July 16, 2015, at 1:42 p.m. ET

Bundlers for the campaigns of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush are registered to lobby for foreign governments.

Ignacio Sanchez, a former trade official and Treasury official for President George W. Bush, works for the law firm DLA Piper. Foreign Agent Registration Act registration filings from March of this year show him registered to lobby for the Embassy of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

"The registrant will assist the Royal Embassy of Saudi Arabia in strengthening the ability of the United States and Saudi Arabia to advance mutual national security interests," the FARA papers read.

Sanchez has raised $32,400 for Bush, according to reports filed by the campaign. Sanchez's papers also note he donated $5,000 to Bush's Right to Rise PAC. He also donated $2,700 to Bush's presidential campaign himself.

A Bush spokeswoman told BuzzFeed News that "Gov. Bush is focused on his own agenda and isn't influenced by special interests."

Two of Clinton's bundlers, Matthew Bernstein who bundled more than $45,000 and John Merrigan, who bundled more than $24,000, also work for DLA Piper and are registered to lobby for foreign interests.

Bernstein's FARA registration lists him as having lobbied for the United Arab Emirates and German State of Rheinland-Pfalz.

Merrigan's FARA registration lists him as having lobbied for the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia.

Both Merrigan and Bernstein were identified in a 2008 Center for Investigative Reporting and story as having bundled for Clinton, and arranged a meeting with her and other senators while lobbying for Dubai.

From the 2008 investigation:

Two of Clinton's top moneymen, John Merrigan and Matthew "Mac" Bernstein, are part of a lobbying team hired by the rulers of Dubai to defend against a U.S.-based lawsuit alleging that the rulers had enslaved young boys to race camels. The lobbyists' firm, DLA Piper, arranged a meeting with Clinton and three other senators last year on behalf of Dubai, according to filings. Dubai paid the firm $3.7 million for a year's work.

Merrigan and Bernstein also signed, on behalf of the firm, a $100,000-per-month contract with the Turkish government last March to prevent "the introduction, debate and passage of legislation and other U.S. government action that harms Turkey's interests or image." The lobbying effort opposed a resolution, co-sponsored by Clinton, that would call the World War I era massacre of Armenians by Ottoman Turks a genocide.

The firm scored dozens of meetings with members of Congress and their staffs over the course of six months, including an August conference with Clinton's Senate staff regarding "U.S.-Turkey relations," according to filings. Two months later, Clinton acknowledged to the Boston Globe editorial board that she had concerns about the resolution, saying "the adamant expression of real dismay and outrage by this Turkish government has to be factored into this."

The Clinton campaign declined to comment. Merrigan and Bernstein did not immediately return a request for comment.