News / USA

Bill Restricting US Lobbying for Foreign Governments Has Support

Congressman Frank Wolf (VOA file photo)Congressman Frank Wolf (VOA file photo)
x
Congressman Frank Wolf (VOA file photo)
Congressman Frank Wolf (VOA file photo)
TEXT SIZE - +
VOA News
U.S. Congressman Frank Wolf has expressed confidence that an amendment restricting former U.S. government officials from lobbying on behalf of certain foreign nations will soon become law.

Wolf said Friday that countries like China, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, and Iran, among others, need to be reminded that their government policies, or illegal human rights abuses, are not acceptable to American people.  He said there have been cases where former members of Congress, former CIA station chiefs and other former U.S. officials have lobbied for these countries after they leave office.  

"If you are given the opportunity and the honor to serve in Congress, it is a great honor, you then should not trade on that and represent the government that is cracking down its own people," Wolf said.

As a particularly egregious example to show why the ban is necessary, Wolf cited a case of a former CIA station chief in Burma who left government service several years ago and went to work for a D.C. firm that took on the Burmese military junta as a client.  Newspaper reports had said he made about $5,000 a month trying to persuade U.S. officials to adopt a more friendly policy toward Burma's repressive former regime.

Wolf said the law would prevent such practices and it would apply to governments that have especially bad human rights record, like Sudan.   

"If you want to become an ambassador, it is a great honor to be an ambassador, but then leave and go out to represent a nation - a government that persecutes its own people, the Sudanese people, the Sudan government bombing its own people, the Sudan government starving its own people in Darfur. So why should somebody who had been an ambassador or CIA station chiefs then go out and work for that country? They have all top secret of information from all the security briefings and they can take that and turn it against the people," Wolf said.

Wolf said the law would apply to countries of special concern (CPC) listed by the State Department.   China is listed because it suppresses human rights and religious freedoms.

"They are prosecuting the Catholic churches.  A number of protestant pastors are in jail. If you haven't seen the pictures of people, people who have set themselves in flame in Tibet, you might want to take a look at those pictures. I think people in China ought to see what Chinese government’s policy has done to drive people in Tibet, and Tibetans to set themselves to flame. So because of that policy, it’s not appropriate for former members of Congress and ambassadors to lobby for these countries," Wolf said.

Wolf, a Republican from Virginia, says Saudi Arabia is included because its official textbooks are filled with messages of hatred against other religious minorities, such as Jews and Christians and the country's radical form of Islam is taught in some mosques and religious schools.

He said, in addition to foreign governments, the ban could affect foreign state-sponsored businesses.

Wolf's amendment has been approved by the House Appropriations Committee and he says he has heard no objections yet to it being passed into law next year.

You May Like

Multimedia Anti-Keystone XL Protests Continue

Demonstrators are worried about pipeline's effect on climate change, their traditional way of life, health and safety More

Thailand's Political Power Struggle Continues

Court gave Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra until May 2 to prepare her defense over abuse of power charges but uncertainty remains over election timing More

Malaysia Plane Search Tests Limits of Ocean Mapping Technology

Expert tells VOA existing equipment’s maximum operating depth is around 6 kilometers as operation continues on ocean bed for any trace of MH370 More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Messagei
X
Penelope Poulou
April 22, 2014 5:53 PM
Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Message

Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pro-Russian Separatists Plan 'Federalization Referendum' in Eastern Ukraine

Pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine say they plan to move forward next month with a referendum vote for greater autonomy, despite the Geneva agreement reached with Russia, the U.S. and Ukraine to end the political conflict. VOA's Brian Padden reports from the city of Donetsk in Eastern Ukraine.
Video

Video Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Church

On April 27, two popes - John the XXIII and John Paul II - will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky says the dual canonization is part of the current pope’s program to reconcile liberals and conservatives in the Roman Catholic Church.
Video

Video In Capturing Nature's Majesty, Film Makes Case for Its Survival

French filmmaker Luc Jacquet won worldwide acclaim for his 2005 Academy Award-winning documentary "March of the Penguins". Now Jacquet is back with a new film that takes movie-goers deep into the heart of a tropical rainforest - not only to celebrate its grandeur, but to make the case for its survival. VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Boston Marathon Bittersweet for Many Runners

Monday's running of the Boston Marathon was bittersweet for many of the 36,000 participants as they finished the run that was interrupted by a double bombing last year. Many gathered along the route paid respect to the four people killed as a result of two bombings near the finish line. VOA's Carolyn Presutti returned to Boston this year to follow two runners, forever changed because of the crimes.
Video

Video International Students Learn Film Production in World's Movie Capital

Hollywood - which is part of Los Angeles - is the movie capital of the world, and many aspiring filmmakers go there in hopes of breaking into the movie business. Mike O'Sullivan reports that regional universities are also a magnet for students who hope to become producers or directors.
Video

Video Pacific Rim Trade Deal Proves Elusive

With the U.S.-led war in Iraq ended and American military involvement in Afghanistan winding down, President Barack Obama has sought to pivot the country's foreign policy focus towards Asia. One aspect of that pivot is the negotiation of a free-trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations. But as Obama leaves this week on a trip to four Asian countries he has found it very difficult to complete the trade pact. VOA's Ken Bredemeier has more from Washington.
Video

Video Autistic Adults Face Housing, Job Challenges

Many parents of children with disabilities fear for the future of their adult child. It can be difficult to find services to help adults with disabilities - physical, mental or emotional - find work or live on their own. The mother of an autistic boy set up a foundation to advocate for the estimated 1.2 million American adults with autism, a developmental disorder that causes communication difficulties and often social difficulties. VOA's Faiza Elmasry reports.
AppleAndroid