TPMmuckraker August 23, 2007 9:36 AM: - August 23, 2007,
"Barbour Griffith & Rogers has long been a powerhouse GOP lobbying firm. Now, apparently, American politics are just too small-time. BGR, according to a report by IraqSlogger's Christina Davidson, is trying to influence Iraqi politics as well. BGR, the firm started by Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour, has been promoting Ayad Allawi, the one-time Iraqi interim prime minister who over the weekend published an op-ed in the Washington Post calling for the parliamentary overthrow of current PM Nouri al-Maliki. The piece amounted to a trial balloon for American support for a second Allawi-led government, promising non-sectarianism and stability. Allawi has decades-old ties to the CIA, making him a known quantity to U.S. officials during a time of extreme frustration with Maliki. But frustration alone doesn't get governments to fall. That's where BGR comes in. On August 17, the firm purchased the domain name Allawi-For-Iraq.com (the site's not yet live). Following publication of the op-ed, Sen. Carl Levin (D-MI) called on the Iraqi parliament to hold a no-confidence vote on Maliki. BGR circulated Levin's comments around Washington -- and particularly to Congressional staffers -- using the e-mail address DrAyadAllawi@Allawi-for-Iraq.com. Yet BGR hasn't registered any affiliation with the ex-premier:"