Journalism in the Public Interest

Taiwan Drops Lobbying Firm in Wake of Congressional Ethics Probe

Former senator Al D’Amato’s Park Strategies loses contract representing Taiwan


Former Republican Sen. Al D'Amato, founder of Park Strategies

Taiwan has terminated its with contract a lobbying firm whose role organizing a trip to the country for a Democratic congressman prompted an ongoing House ethics investigation. House rules ban most trips organized by lobbyists.

Park Strategies, which was founded by former Republican Sen. Al D’Amato, represented Taiwan on Capitol Hill for four years beginning in 2009. Last year, it was paid $20,000 per month plus expenses on the contract.

The House ethics committee is still looking into the trip Park Strategies organized for Rep. Bill Owens, D-N.Y., and his wife to Taiwan in late 2011. After we reported details of the trip last year, Owens reimbursed the $22,000 cost of travel. The trip, which included stays at luxury hotels, later became the subject of attack ads against Owens in his successful campaign for reelection in upstate New York.

Taiwan opted not to renew Park Strategies' lobbying contract this year, according to documents filed with the Justice Department last month.

Neither Taiwan’s representative nor Park Strategies would comment on whether the Owens matter prompted the termination of the contract.

“The decision was made based on the common practice of reviewing existing contracts as they relate to the current needs of the employer,” said Thalia Lin, spokesperson for Taiwan’s representative in Washington.

Lin noted that Taiwan retains the services of several other public relations firms, and that two other contracts were not renewed this year.

Just as Park Strategies’ contract expired, Taiwan hired another Republican firm, the Nickles Group, to represent it on Capitol Hill. That firm, which like Park will be paid $20,000 per month, is run by another former Republican senator, Don Nickles of Oklahoma.

Park Strategies opened an office in Taipei in 2010 and, besides its work for the Taiwanese government, has been cited in news reports as working for casino operators in the region.

“Our commitment to our Taiwan office and the Taiwan market remains as strong as ever,” said Park Strategies spokeswoman Dana Sanneman.

$20,000 per month, that’s $240,000 per year for what? Taiwan has a lobby in DC?
Do you think because of this work as a lobby might of assisted the Taiwanese in getting any business that we call offshore production. This to me a kind of “TREASON” I mean our boy Joe is retired and still gets his paycheck and gets his health coverage and we the citizens will still pay for his kids college education if he had any at that age. I hate the fact that many people have gone thru hard times but this man can screw the hand that use to feed him. He is a democrat and we see and hear so much about how republicans are jerks well see it can go on both sides. As___hole

Does anybody else find it at least somewhat embarrassing that Taiwan had the be the party to decide that there were ethical problems…?

John embarrassing is kind, this is flat out in you face “F” you, by Damato. The whole country is on some form of anti this anti that and people cannot put 2 plus 2 together, so what can we expect?

I recall when I worked abroad a situation arose where I had to pay someone to get what I wanted into the country. I went to my council, we looked at the scenario and it was ok since I was not employed by any US company. It was a bribe but we called it incentive. Fast forward 40 years. If I am in gov service and I give incentive to you or bribe you I will go to jail unless I am registered as a lobbyist. These predator lobbyist wait for the new freshman to enter the coliseum and then they pounce. Everyone inside the beltway has been bought hook line and sinker. I have suggested that if that is the way it’s gonna be can we at least know who you sold out to or who bought you. That’s done by wearing a badge on your suit much like NASCAR drivers do.  That would at least let me know who I am dealing with

Both parties are corrupt. We need a major change.

I think we should get more states to embrace run-off voting. I also think we should try and get one   statetotry the following:

If you, an average citizen, want to be a representative for your district, you need to get signatures from 25 people in your district swearing that you are of sound mind and possessing integrity. This would allow you to enter your name into a random drawing for House seats. Everything else would stay the same.

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