Lobbyist for Azerbaijan Hired by Speaker Hastert

* Nancy Dorn to serve as House Republican Leadership’s top foreign policy adviser

FALLS CHURCH–Va.–Armenian-American concerns over the House Republican leaderships stonewalling of the Armenian Genocide resolution (H.Res.398) escalated dramatically this week with the revelation in the Washington Post that House Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.) has named as his senior foreign policy adviser a Washington lobbyist who until this week represented the Government of Azerbaijan.

A coalition of leading Armenian American organizations seeking passage of the Armenian Genocide resolution (H.Res.398) has been blocked by the refusal of Hastert and the House Republican leadership to schedule the measure for a vote.

The July 15 edition of the Washington Post reported that the lobbyist–former Reagan and Bush administration official Nancy P. Dorn–has also represented the Government of Pakistan and a controversial Hong Kong company closely tied to Beijing. Washington Post staff writers John Mintz and Juliet Eilperin revealed in their story–"Questions Raised On Hastert Adviser," that "until this week [she] was a lobbyist for foreign and oil interests–and is in the kitchen cabinet of Majority Whip Tom DeLay (R-Texas)."

"The hiring of a high-priced Azerbaijani Government lobbyist as its senior foreign policy adviser is only the House Republican leadership’s most recent affront to the Armenian American community," said Raffi Asatoorian–AADLC’s Community Outreach Coordinator. "From the Livingston-inspired hysteria against Section 907 to the their stonewalling of the Armenian Genocide resolution–the House Republican leadership has shown itself–time and time again–to be consistently indifferent and often directly opposed the values and priorities of Armenian Americans."

According to the article–Dorn was "at her desk in the speaker’s office yesterday even as congressional staff members critical of the Pakistani regime and of US policy in China privately raised questions about her selection." The Post also noted that "Congressional staffers said yesterday that Dorn’s background is not widely known on Capitol Hill but predicted concern would mount among lawmakers as they learn more details." For information on Dorn–visit: www.hqda.army.mil/asacw/dornbio.htm

Dorn’s work for the Government of Azerbaijan is documented by the US Department of Justice. Along with former Congressman Charlie Wilson–also an ardent advocate of Azerbaijan–Dorn is listed as having worked on the Azerbaijan account for the firm of Hooper–Owen–Gould & Winburn–which is a registered foreign agent for the Embassy of Azerbaijan. According to the firm’s filings with the Justice Department–they "researched and analyzed issues related to Azerbaijan. The registrant also worked with the staff of the House Appropriations Committee to soften anti-Azeri language in the Foreign Operations’ Appropriations bill."

The Washington Post article quoted Armenian Assembly of America executive director Ross Vartian’s response to Dorn’s appointment: "We’d be concerned about the lingering effect of her doing work for governmen’s like Azerbaijan. . . How does she intend to distance herself from those regimes?"

In sharp contrast to the Republican Congressional leadership’s growing opposition to Armenian issues–the Democratic leadership has continued to broaden its outreach to Armenia and the Armenian American community. Last month–at the request of Adam Schiff–the Democratic Congressional candidate for California 27th District–Democratic Leader Dick Gephardt (Mo.)and Democratic Whip David Bonior (Mich.) were joined by the rest of the House Democratic Leadership in meeting with Armenian President Robert Kocharian during his visit to Washington. Also taking part in the hour-long meeting were Congressmen Martin Frost (Texas)–Bob Menendez (NJ)–Patrick Kennedy (RI)–Frank Pallone (NJ)–and Joe Hoeffel (Pa.).

The House Republican leadership–according to sources on Capitol Hill–refused repeated requests to schedule a meeting with the visiting Armenian President. International Relations Committee Chairman Ben Gilman did take part in a group meeting with President Kocharian organized by the Armenian Caucus–but did not explain why he has decided against scheduling a Committee vote on the Armenian Genocide resolution (H.Res.398).

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