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)
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

Video In Ukraine's Nikishino, No House Untouched by Fighting

Ninety percent of homes in one small village were damaged or destroyed as government forces failed to stop a rebel advance More

Pakistan’s 'Last Self-Declared Jew' Attacked, Detained

Argument about the rights of non-Muslims in Pakistan allegedly results in mob beating well-known Jewish Pakistani More

Turkey Cracks Down on Political Dissent — Again

People daring to engage in political dissent ahead of upcoming general elections could find themselves in jail More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
In Their Own Words: Citizens of Kobanii
X
Mahmoud Bali
March 06, 2015 8:43 PM
Civilians are slowly returning to Kobani, after Kurdish fighters backed by coalition airstrikes fought off a four-month siege of the northern Syrian town by Islamic State militants. VOA Kurdish Service reporter Mahmoud Bali talked to some of those who have returned. We hear about the devastation of Kobani through their own words.
Video

Video In Their Own Words: Citizens of Kobani

Civilians are slowly returning to Kobani, after Kurdish fighters backed by coalition airstrikes fought off a four-month siege of the northern Syrian town by Islamic State militants. VOA Kurdish Service reporter Mahmoud Bali talked to some of those who have returned. We hear about the devastation of Kobani through their own words.
Video

Video In Ukraine's Nikishino, No House Untouched by Fighting

In the village of Nikishino, in eastern Ukraine, recent fighting has brought utter devastation. Ninety percent of the houses are damaged or destroyed after government forces tried and failed to stop rebels advancing on the strategically important town of Debaltseve nearby. Patrick Wells reports for VOA from Nikishino.
Video

Video Crime Scenes Re-Created in 3-D Visualization

Police and prosecutors sometimes resort to re-creations of crime scenes in order to better understand the interaction of all participants in complicated cases. A Swiss institute says advanced virtual reality technology can be used for quality re-creations of events at the moment of the crime. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Sierra Leone Ebola Orphans Face Another Crisis

There's growing concern about the future of an orphanage run by a British charity in Sierra Leone, after a staff member and his wife died this week from Ebola. The Saint George Foundation Orphanage in Freetown is now in quarantine, with more than 20 children and seven staff in lock-down. The BBC has agreed to share Ebola-related material with Voice of America because of the difficulties faced by media organizations reporting the crisis. Clive Myrie reports from Sierra Leone.
Video

Video Growing Concerns Over Whether Myanmar’s Next Elections Will Be Fair

Myanmar has scheduled national elections for November that are also expected to include a landmark referendum on the country's constitution. But there are growing concerns over whether the government is taking the necessary steps to prepare for a free and fair vote. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman was recently in Myanmar and files this report from our Southeast Asia bureau in Bangkok.
Video

Video Nigeria’s Ogonis Divided Over Resuming Oil Production

More than two decades ago, Nigeria’s Ogoni people forced Shell oil company to cease drilling on their land, saying it was polluting the environment. Now, some Ogonis say it’s time for the oil to flow once again. Chris Stein reports from Kegbara Dere, Nigeria.
Video

Video Fuel Shortages in Nigeria Threaten Election Campaigns

Nigeria is suffering a gas shortage as the falling oil price has affected the country’s ability to import and distribute refined fuels. Coming just weeks before scheduled March 28 elections, the shortage could have a big impact on the campaign, as Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA.
Video

Video Report: Human Rights in Annexed Crimea Deteriorating

A new report by Freedom House and the Atlantic Council of the United States says the human rights situation in Crimea has deteriorated since the peninsula was annexed by Russia in March of last year. The report says the new authorities in Crimea are discriminating against minorities, suppressing freedom of expression, and forcing residents to assume Russian citizenship or leave. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video 50 Years Later African-Americans See New Voting Rights Battles Ahead

Thousands of people will gather to mark the 50th anniversary of a historic civil rights march on March 7th in Selma, Alabama. In 1965, dozens of people were seriously injured during the event known as “Bloody Sunday,” after police attacked African-American demonstrators demanding voting rights. VOA’s Chris Simkins introduces us to some civil rights pioneers who are still fighting for voting rights in Alabama more than 50 years later.
Video

Video Craft Brewers Taking Hold in US Beer Market

Since the 1950’s, the U.S. beer industry has been dominated by a handful of huge breweries. But in recent years, the rapid rise of small craft breweries has changed the American market and, arguably, the way people drink beer. VOA’s Jeff Custer reports.
Video

Video Video Claims to Show Shia Forces in Iraq Executing Sunni Boy

A graphic mobile phone video is spreading on the Internet, claiming to show Iraqi forces or Shia militia executing a handcuffed Sunni boy. Experts have yet to verify the video, but already Islamic State followers are publicizing it across social media, playing on deep-rooted sectarian fears. VOA’s Jeff Seldin reports.
Video

Video Ukrainian Authorities Struggle to Secure a Divided Mariupol

Since last month's cease-fire went into effect, shelling around the port city of Mariupol has decreased, but it is thought pro-Russian separatists remain poised to attack. For the city’s authorities, a major challenge is gaining the trust of residents, while at the same time rooting out informants who are passing sensitive information to the rebels. Patrick Wells reports for VOA.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More