Candidate for Governor of Virginia, A Turkish Lobbyist, Should be Defeated

By Harut Sassounian

The Washington Free Beacon online newspaper published on Aug. 20, 2021
an article by Chuck Ross, titled: “Turkey Paid McAuliffe’s Firm to
Lobby US Against Recognition of Armenian Genocide.”

Terry McAuliffe is the Democratic Party candidate for governor of the
State of Virginia. He won the Democratic Primary election on June 8,
2021 and will face Republican Party nominee Glenn Youngkin in the
state’s general election in November. The polls indicate that it is a
very close race. McAuliffe previously served as Virginia governor from
2014 to 2018.

Armenian-Americans should help defeat McAuliffe to send a signal that
they will not tolerate anyone who lies about the Armenian Genocide and
gets paid for it!

The government of Turkey paid McAuliffe’s consulting firm cofounded by
him, McAuliffe, Kelly, & Raffaelli, nearly $1.3 million from 1990 to
1994 to do “a variety of lobbying and public relations services,”
including hindering the U.S. Congress from acknowledging the Armenian
Genocide, The Washington Free Beacon reported.

McAuliffe was the chairman of the Democratic National Committee and a
longtime friend of Pres. Bill Clinton and his wife Hillary. Even
though McAuliffe has said that he did not engage in day-to-day
lobbying activities of his firm, his former partner Richard Spees told
Politico Magazine that “he was the glue that held the place together.”
According to Foreign Agent Registration Act (FARA) disclosures that I
have reviewed, McAuliffe’s lobbying company contributed tens of
thousands of dollars in campaign donations to dozens of House and
Senate members, arranged private meetings for the Turkish Ambassador
in Washington with members of Congress, and regularly met with
multiple members of Congress and high-level White House officials in
the course of its lobbying activities.

According to FARA disclosures, “McAuliffe’s firm received $1,287,500
from the Turkish government to arrange meetings with American
policymakers for Turkey’s ambassador and diplomats. Turkey’s contract
called on the firm to lobby Congress on bilateral trade and to
‘counter any efforts detrimental to the Turkish-U.S. relationship,’”
which included blocking congressional efforts to acknowledge the
Armenian Genocide, according to The Washington Free Beacon.

In an article published on March 26, 2009, the Washington Post noted:
“Perhaps most controversial was the company’s [McAuliffe, Kelly, &
Raffaelli] representation of Turkey at a time when that government was
the subject of international scrutiny for alleged human rights abuses.
The firm was criticized by name in a report called ‘The Torturers’
Lobby’ published in 1992 by the Center for Public Integrity. The
McAuliffe campaign [during his failed bid for Governor in 2009] said
the company’s work for Turkey had to do with a longstanding dispute
between Armenia and Turkey over a period of history after World War I
when the Ottoman Empire killed, by some estimates, more than 1 million
Armenians. Every year, Armenia [more correctly, Armenian-Americans]
seeks legislation in Congress characterizing this period as the
Armenian Genocide, and every year, the Turkish government opposes the

“McAuliffe was implicated in the 1996 Democratic National Committee
campaign finance scandal, in which he arranged overnight stays at the
White House for Democratic Party donors. Before his first stint as
governor of Virginia, McAuliffe directly lobbied the Obama
administration to help his electric car company, GreenTech Automotive,
gain access to a federal visa program for potential Chinese investors.
The Justice Department also investigated whether McAuliffe took
illegal donations from a Chinese billionaire during his 2013
gubernatorial campaign,” revealed The Washington Free Beacon.

“McAuliffe’s [current] campaign did not respond to a request for
comment about his firm’s contract with Turkey or his position on the
2019 recognition of the Armenian genocide,” The Washington Free Beacon

Many years have passed since McAuliffe firm’s lobbying activities on
behalf of Turkey. In 2019, the House overwhelmingly, the Senate
unanimously, and in 2021, Pres. Joe Biden acknowledged the Armenian
Genocide. However, Armenian-Americans should never forget the names of
those who sold their souls for the almighty dollar. This is a disgrace
that such lobbyists should carry to their graves. Furthermore,
McAuliffe has never apologized for his firm’s deceitful actions and
has not asked for forgiveness. This is more of a reason why no
Armenian should ever consider forgetting his despicable action. It
does not matter at all what political party such denialists belong to.

This is a timely matter since Pres. Biden recently nominated former
Senator Jeff Flake (Republican of Arizona) to serve as U.S. Ambassador
to Turkey. As a House of Representatives member, he voted in 2005,
2007, and 2010 against the Armenian Genocide resolution in the
International Relations Committee. In 2014, Flake was also one of only
five US Senators to oppose the Armenian Genocide resolution in the
Committee on Foreign Relations.

Flake has not apologized for the series of shameful votes he cast in
the House and Senate denying the truth of the Armenian Genocide. It
remains to be seen how he will explain his negative votes on the
Armenian Genocide to the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations that
will consider his nomination.

The last thing Armenian-Americans need is having a denialist U.S.
Ambassador in Ankara who will reinforce the Turkish government’s lies
on the Armenian Genocide. Senators should ask some tough questions to
Sen. Flake, and if not satisfied with his answers, they should block
his nomination.

Leave a Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.