De Facto government in Honduras pays Washington lobbyists $300,000 to sway U.S. opinion

Source: by Sabrina Shankman, Pro Publica
Posted on: 6th October 2009

The government of Honduras – referred to these days as “de facto,” “interim” or “illegitimate” – is dealing with its public perception problem just like any tarnished ruling party would: by launching a PR campaign.

The interim government, installed after President Manuel Zelaya was ousted in a coup in June, has hired the Washington lobbyists Chlopak Leonard Schechter and Associates to sway policy makers’ opinions, The Hill reported last week. The nearly $300,000 contract was signed on Sept. 18. The lobbying firm – which has represented the governments of Brazil, Colombia, Nicaragua, Georgia and Serbia, among others – is tasked with advancing “the level of communication, awareness and media/policy maker attention about the political situation in Honduras.”

The main issues to remember, according to Joy Olson of the Washington Office of Latin America, a policy advocacy group, are that the de facto government has conceded nothing and has refused to recognize that Zelaya is still the elected president.

“Those are the fundamentals,” she says, “and you don’t change those fundamentals through better PR.” Zelaya’s ouster was endorsed by Honduras’ Supreme Court and Congress, but has been met with widespread and increasing criticism abroad. On Saturday, the Organization of American States voted unanimously to suspend Honduras from the group.

Chlopak Leonard Schechter and Associates hasn’t yet returned our calls. We’ll add the firm’s comments when someone there rings us.

We thought it’d be helpful to post the lobbying contract, which you can browse in our handy document viewer.

And for information about other countries that have lobbied to influence U.S. policy, visit the Foreign Lobbyist Influence Tracker, a joint project by ProPublica and the Sunlight Foundation that built a searchable database from forms filed under the Foreign Agents Registration Act in 2008.

Topics: , , , , , , , , , , ,

Print This Article in Plain Text Print This Article in Plain Text


Receive the Gov Monitor Newsletter

Latest Headlines

In The News

Wales Rugby Team Gets A “pob lwc” Before Taking On England thumbnail

Wales Rugby Team Gets A “pob lwc” Before Taking On England

First Minister Carwyn Jones and Sports
Florida Honors Role College’s Play In Training Future Workforce thumbnail

Florida Honors Role College’s Play In Training Future Workforce

Honors presidents and trustees for their
White House Highlights National Export Initiative To Create Jobs thumbnail

White House Highlights National Export Initiative To Create Jobs

Today, I am at the National
Texas Makes $3.5 Million TETF Investment At University Of Houston thumbnail

Texas Makes $3.5 Million TETF Investment At University Of Houston

Governor Rick Perry today announced that
States Ease Enrollment For Childrens Health Insurance Program thumbnail

States Ease Enrollment For Childrens Health Insurance Program

Given new flexibility under CHIPRA, states