Turkish Lobbyist Attacks Armenian Americans

WASHINGTON–DC–Turkey’s top Washington–DC lobbyist–former Louisiana Congressman Bob Livingston–in perhaps his most strident attack to date–has accused Armenian Americans of seeking to impose a "tyranny of the minority" by urging Congress to adopt human rights legislation concerning the Armenian genocide–according to documen’s obtained this week by the Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA).

"It’s truly the height of hypocrisy for a paid foreign agent for Turkey–a government that violates the rights of its citizens on a wholesale basis–to try to diminish the role that American citizens play in the formulation of our nation’s foreign policy," said ANCA Executive Director Aram Hamparian. "But–apparently–in the ?Alice in Wonderland’ world of Bob Livingston–other nations dictate US policy–genocides remain unpunished–and foreign lobbyists get to silence American voters. He would do well to spend more time encouraging his Turkish clients to learn about democracy–and less time seeking to abridge the democratic rights of Americans here at home."

In letters sent to Congressional offices last September–prior to the House International Relations Committee’s consideration of Armenian genocide legislation–Livingston escalated his rhetoric to unprecedented levels–arguing–in his capacity as a paid agent of a foreign government–that he believed the measure "cater[s] to a small minority of citizens promoting the narrow goals of the minority at the expense of America’s broader interest." He went on–in an example of overstatement rare even by Washington–DC standards–to contend that Armenian genocide legislation "is the truest expression of the tyranny of the minority." The panel rejected Livingston’s attack–voting 40 to 7 to approve the legislation.

In July of last year–CongressWatch–a division of Public Citizen–released a 49-page report highlighting ethical concerns about the Livingston Group’s lobbying efforts for the Turkish Government.

The report details the efforts by Livingston–to secure a "$1 billion supplemental appropriation for Turkey… despite that country’s refusal to allow US troops to use its soil as a staging area for the Iraq invasion. He also helped kill an amendment that would have formally recognized the Armenian genocide that occurred between 1915 and 1923." The Livingston Group has received over $10 million in paymen’s from Turkey. To read this entire report–visit: www.lobbyinginfo.org/documen’s/RevolveDoor.pdf.

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