The Year of Lobbying Dangerously

"Indonesia's national intelligence agency used a former Indonesian president's charitable foundation to hire a Washington lobbying firm ... to press the U.S. government for a full resumption of controversial military training programs," reports the Center for Public Integrity's International Consortium of Investigative Journalists. The firm, Collins & Co., was retained by the Gus Dur Foundation in May 2005, for $30,000 a month, to "remove legislative and policy restrictions on security cooperation with Indonesia." From June to October 2005, "Collins & Co. lobbyists, sometimes accompanied by [Indonesian intelligence] officials, met with several key members of Congress and their staffs," including Senators Leahy, Hagel and Murkowski, an aide to Senator Obama, and Representative Jesse Jackson Jr. In late 2005, the State Department "fully reinstated military cooperation and aid to Indonesia." The Gus Dur Foundation's mission is to build orphanages, libraries and schools. The man who signed the lobbying contract on the foundation's behalf said former Indonesian president Wahid "didn't know" about it.