by Zero Hedge Thu, 11/26/2020 – 16:15
A shadowy consulting firm which openly brags about its ability to connect clients to the White House is set to prominently feature in the Biden administration, according to Politico.
Founded in 2017 by Tony Blinken – Joe Biden’s pick for Secretary of State – WestExec Advisersadvertises itself as “quite literally, the road to the Situation Room,” adding “and it is the road everyone associated with WestExec Advisors has crossed many times en route to meetings of the highest national security consequences.”
Another WestExec executive, Michèle Flournoy, is a top contender for Secretary of Defense, while former WestExec principal, Avril Haines, is Biden’s pick for director of national intelligence.
Meanwhile, WestExec’s client list is just as secretive.
Because its staffers aren’t lobbyists, they are not required to disclose who they work for. They also aren’t bound by the Biden transition’s restrictions on hiring people who have lobbied in the past year.
Such high-powered Washington consulting firms are “the unintended consequence” of greater disclosure requirements for registered lobbyists, said Mandy Smithberger, director of the Center for Defense Information at the Project on Government Oversight.
By not directly advocating for federal dollars on behalf of their clients, they don’t have to publicly divulge who is paying them and for what activities, such as the connections they make with government agencies, she said. But it is also impossible to assess the influence they have on federal expenditures. –Politico
“They avoid becoming registered lobbyists or foreign agents and are instead becoming strategic consultants,” said Smithberger.
What’s more, WestExec employs a ton of former Democratic national security and foreign policy officials who have been involved in fundraising for Biden’s campaign, have joined his transition team, or have acted as unofficial advisers. In fact, 21 of the 38 WestExec employees listed on the firm’s website donated to the Biden campaign – with Flournoy raising over $100,000 alone.