Sunday, May 30, 2021

"Atlantic Council [!] Scholars Made Millions Lobbying for Putin-Backed Pipeline"

 So I guess "Russia, Russia, Russia" is over?

This piece is from the Washington Free Beacon, owned by Elliot Management co-CEO Paul Singer so you don't know what sort of hedge fund motives might be attached to the story but be that as it may be, the fact you have the freakin' Atlantic Council guys lobbying for a very contentious Russian pipeline is pretty damn amazing.

Conflicts of interest abound at historically hawkish think tank

Two scholars at the Atlantic Council, the prominent foreign policy think tank that claims to staunchly oppose Russian influence, have raked in nearly $3 million lobbying in favor of a Russian pipeline that American officials worry will allow Vladimir Putin to increase his influence in Europe.

Since 2017, Richard Burt, an Atlantic Council board member, and Frances Burwell, a distinguished fellow, have lobbied for five European companies financing the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, which will transport gas from Russia to Germany. In addition to their perches at the Atlantic Council, Burt and Burwell are partners at McLarty Inbound, a consulting group that lobbies for foreign companies.

Burt and Burwell have used their positions at the Atlantic Council to further their work at McLarty. Burt has defended the pipeline at public Atlantic Council events and reportedly pitched it in private discussions with colleagues at the think tank. Burwell defended Nord Stream in at least one major media interview where she was introduced as an Atlantic Council fellow, though not as a McLarty lobbyist.

The conflict of interest highlights the complexity of competing interests at the Atlantic Council, which gives its experts and board members wide berth and which employs several former ambassadors vigorously opposed to the pipeline. It raises the question of whether the Atlantic Council, founded in 1961 to strengthen NATO and the Atlantic alliance, promotes a set of core beliefs any longer or has devolved into a free-for-all of competing views....


 For more details of the lobbying efforts in the U.S. the indispensable Open Secrets has the scoopage:

Lobbying fuels push for Russian pipeline as Biden weighs in

And among the folks lobbying Berlin:

...As the kids say: Find someone to look at you the way Putin looks at Gerhard Schröder.

They also hug a lot.
 A lot.

Herr Schröder was Germany's Chancellor before Mutti came in.
Gazprom has paid him a lot of money. A lot. 

And who knows who got to Steinmeier that he's blurting out:
"We owe Russia the Nord Stream pipeline over Nazi atrocities, says German president"