BGR Group (previously Barbour, Griffith & Rogers) is a lobbying and communications firm based in Washington, D.C., with offices in London, Beijing and Austin, Texas.[1] Founded in 1991 by former White House aides Ed Rogers and Haley Barbour, the firm was joined by Lanny Griffith to form Barbour Griffith & Rogers (BGR Group).[2] In 2019, BGR was recognized by both The Hill and Bloomberg as a "Top Performing Lobbying Firm".[3][4]

History[edit]

The firm was founded in 1991 by Haley Barbour and Ed Rogers, who had worked with each other in the administration of Ronald Reagan. Lanny Griffith joined the following year, and the firm was named Barbour Griffith & Rogers.[5][6]

The firm had close ties to the Republican political establishment[5] and by 1998 had been named by Fortune Magazine as one of the most influential lobbying firms in Washington.[7]

Barbour publicly stated that he had divested himself of his stake in the company after his election as governor of Mississippi in 2004. The New Republic, however, received a copy of the blind trust he set up, which revealed shares in the parent company that owned BGR at the time. TNR reporters stated they observed Barbour entering the DC offices of BGR in June 2007.[8] Bloomberg reported that Barbour was set to receive $300,000 per year from the trust.[9] Several of the firms involved in cleanup of Hurricane Katrina in Mississippi were also clients of BGR.[9] Barbour still retained the trust, which regulatory filings revealed had grown to a market value of $3.3 million by 2008/2009.[10] He returned to the firm full time in 2012.[11]

The firm rebranded from Barbour, Griffith & Rogers to BGR Group in the early years of the Barack Obama administration because it wanted to portray itself as bipartisan.[11] According to Rogers, the firm's revenue had declined after Obama's election as clients perceived it would lose influence.[11]

The firm employs various former political figures including Ambassador Kurt Volker, Jeffrey Birnbaum, and Gov. Haley Barbour.[12] In 2019, Republican politician Sean Duffy started to work for the firm.[13]

Notable clients[edit]

In 2001, BGR represented Microsoft in its antitrust battle with the U.S. Department of Justice and Fortune Magazine ranked it Washington's most-influential lobbying firm.[14]

In 2013 the firm was paid $13.7 million for lobbying and its three largest clients were the Republic of India, Ukraine, Chevron Corp., and the State of Kazakhstan.[15] In 2014, BGR supported Republican senator Thad Cochran, while he fought a tight primary election race against Tea Party candidate, Chris McDaniel.[16] In April 2015, the Government of South Korea retained BGR for public relations and image building.[17][18] Since 2015, BGR has worked for American Ethane.[19][20][21]

BGR has worked for numerous Russian firms to the Vladimir Putin regime and Russian oligarchs. In 2016, BGR worked for Alfa-Bank and hired Mandiant to support Alfa-Bank.[22][23][24] In 2021, BGR Group received $600,000 from LetterOne, an investment company associated with the Vladimir Putin regime in Russia.[25]

BGR has lobbied on behalf of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. In 2016, BGR Group signed a contract worth $500,000 to provide "public relations and media management services for The Center [for Studies and Media Affairs at The Saudi Royal Court], which includes both traditional and social media forums".[26] BGR dropped Saudi Arabia as a client following the assassination of Jamal Khashoggi in 2018. BGR was being paid $80,000 monthly for “public relations and media management services”.[27] Chairman Ed Rogers had been notified by The Washington Post (Khashoggi's employer) that if BGR continued to do business with Saudi Arabia, the paper would no longer run his column.[28]

References[edit]

  1. ^ BGR About page, https://bgrdc.com/about-bgr/
  2. ^ "About BGR | BGR Group". 2020-04-16. Retrieved 2020-10-22.
  3. ^ Perks, Ashley (2019-12-12). "The Hill's Top Lobbyists 2019". TheHill. Retrieved 2020-10-22.
  4. ^ "Lead and Succeed: 2019 Top Performing Lobbying Firms". Bloomberg Government. Retrieved 2020-10-22.
  5. ^ a b Zeleny, Jeff (26 April 2011). "Governor of Mississippi Won't Run for President". The New York Times. Retrieved 10 April 2022.
  6. ^ "BGR History". BGR Group. Retrieved 10 April 2022.
  7. ^ Birnbaum, Jeffrey H.; Maroney, Tyler; Smith, Dustin (7 December 1998). "The Influence Merchants Lobbyists are a permanent establishment in Washington, and FORTUNE's Power 25 ranking is its undisputed "A" list. New to this year's survey: the best of the hired guns". CNN Money. Retrieved 10 April 2022.
  8. ^ Scheiber, Noam (24 September 2007). "Barbourism". The New Republic. Retrieved 12 March 2022.
  9. ^ a b Sullivan, Andrew (29 August 2007). "Impeach. . . Haley Barbour". The Atlantic. Retrieved 22 June 2022.
  10. ^ Smith, Ben (25 January 2011). "Barbour's blind trust". POLITICO. Retrieved 22 June 2022.
  11. ^ a b c Grim, Ryan (3 May 2012). "Obama's Perception As 'Dictator' Cost GOP Lobby Shop Cash, Says Founder". HuffPost. Retrieved 10 April 2022.
  12. ^ "BGR Group About". BGR Group. BGR. Archived from the original on 2014-06-05. Retrieved 2014-06-04.
  13. ^ Hananoki, Eric. "CNN's Sean Duffy joins leading lobbying firm, creating untold conflicts of interest for the network". Media Matters for America. Retrieved 2020-02-25.
  14. ^ "Fat & Happy in D.C. Republicans are busting out all over, not just in Congress and the White House but also on FORTUNE's latest list of the capital's most powerful lobbyists. - May 28, 2001". archive.fortune.com. Retrieved 2020-10-22.
  15. ^ "BGR Group". Barbour Griffith & Rogers. OpenSecrets.
  16. ^ Blumenthal, Paul (18 Jun 2014). "Washington Lobbyists Pour Money Into Mississippi Senate Race To Fend Off Tea Party". Huffington Post.
  17. ^ Pace, Richard (21 Apr 2015). "BGR Public Relations Firm Hired By South Korea". everything-pr.com. EverythingPR.
  18. ^ Gale, Alistair (21 Apr 2015). "South Korea Hires PR Agency Ahead of Abe Speech". Wall Street Journal.
  19. ^ "Луизианская сага Абрамовича, Волошина, Николаева и Юрьева" [Louisiana saga of Abramovich, Voloshin, Nikolayev and Yuriev]. RosPress (in Russian). August 6, 2018. Archived from the original on November 29, 2018. Retrieved November 19, 2018.
  20. ^ Добровольская, Лили (Центр «ТИ — Р»); Хаммер, Дэвид (WWLTV Channel 4) (August 2, 2018). "Как лоббировали газовый бизнес Александра Волошина в Луизиане и Техасе" [How did the lobbying occur for the gas business of Alexander Voloshin in Louisiana and Texas]. Transparency International - Russia: Russians in America (in Russian). Retrieved November 19, 2018.
  21. ^ "Lobbying Registration for American Ethane". Lobbying Disclosure Act of 1995 (Section 4). April 15, 2014. Retrieved November 19, 2018.
  22. ^ Filkins, Dexter (8 October 2018). "Was There a Connection Between a Russian Bank and the Trump Campaign? A team of computer scientists sifted through records of unusual Web traffic in search of answers". The New Yorker. Retrieved 12 October 2018.
  23. ^ Foer, Franklin (31 October 2016). "Was a Trump Server Communicating With Russia?". Slate. Retrieved 23 June 2021.
  24. ^ Bertrand, Natasha (10 March 2017). "The FBI is reportedly examining why a Russian bank with ties to Putin wanted to reach the Trump Organization during the campaign". Business Insider. Retrieved 23 June 2021.
  25. ^ "Business groups quickly take down their Russian oligarch ties". POLITICO. Retrieved 2022-03-15.
  26. ^ FARA registration, US Department of Justice
  27. ^ Lippman, Daniel; Meyer, Theodoric; Levine, Marianne (15 October 2018). "Glover Park Group and BGR Group drop Saudi Arabia". POLITICO. Retrieved 10 March 2022.
  28. ^ Meyer, Theodoric (16 October 2018). "Washington Post told lobbyist: Quit working for Saudis or stop writing for us". POLITICO. Retrieved 10 March 2022.

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