WASHINGTON — A top Washington lobbyist emailed a senior Hillary Clinton aide in 2011 on behalf of a foreign client despite not herself being registered to lobby for the client. Additionally, the contact between the lobbyist and official was not reported in the firm's required Justice Department forms.
Susan Brophy, managing director of the Glover Park Group, emailed top Clinton aide Cheryl Mills on Oct. 4, 2011, telling her that a planned speech before a joint session of Congress by the Korean president was running into some hurdles. Brophy suggested that the State Department could move things along in Congress.
"I don't know if you recall, but GPG represents the Embassy of Korea," Brophy wrote. "And I don't know how closely you're involved in planning for the South Korean President's visit next week, but I know there's a bit of a to-do right now over his giving a speech before a joint session of Congress."
Brophy then told Mills that Speaker of the House John Boehner would not agree to the speech unless "the Senate demonstrates movement on the FTAs" (foreign trade agreement). She then advised that State contacting then-Sen. Max Baucus, as well as possibly Sen. Harry Reid, to speed along a markup on the agreement, would be "timely."
Though Glover Park Group did represent the Embassy of Korea at the time, Brophy herself has only one "short-form" registration noting her work on behalf of the main principal for a foreign country in the Foreign Agent Registration Act database, and that is for Egypt. According to its FARA filing, Glover Park Group began representing South Korea in September 2010, and the contract was terminated on December 31, 2011.
Foreign agents are required to record their contacts on behalf of a client, and Glover Park Group noted a dozen contacts on behalf of South Korea for the six-month period covering that October. But the email from Brophy to Mills — which Mills then forwarded to Clinton — was not included in their document that lists these.
Brophy is a former Clinton White House official, and has raised money for Ready for Hillary, a pro-Clinton super PAC that shut down when the former secretary of state announced her presidential campaign. The Clintons attended her wedding to lawyer and diplomat Gerald McGowan in 1998.
The speech by then-president Lee Myung-bak did proceed and took place on Oct. 13, 2011.
Joel Johnson, a managing director for Glover Park Group, told BuzzFeed News that Brophy had in fact been on the team working on the South Korean account and that she should have been listed as doing so in their FARA documents.
"She absolutely was working on the account and had been throughout, and the fact that she had somehow not been listed directly as the principal working on the account was an administrative error," Johnson said.
Johnson also said that Brophy "should have reported that that contact had been made to the State Department and for whatever reason that was not included in our list of activities and it should have been, and I’ll go back and make sure we do whatever is appropriate to amend that."
"We take these reporting requirements seriously and we are as diligent as we ever can be, but in that case there’s no question that the email she sent to [Mills] have been included" in the list of contacts Glover Park Group had made on behalf of South Korea, he said.
A spokesperson for the State Department declined to comment. A spokesperson for the Clinton campaign did not return a request for comment.
Rosie Gray is a reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in Washington, D.C. Gray reports on politics and foreign policy.
Contact Rosie Gray at email@example.com.
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