GOP Rep. Mike Gallagher takes money from ex-lawmakers registered as foreign agents
The Wisconsin Republican has previously spoken out against former members of Congress who ‘shop their connections’ to foreign countries.
Wisconsin Republican Rep. Mike Gallagher has been one of Congress’ most outspoken critics of former U.S. government officials who go on to become paid lobbyists on behalf of foreign countries. But despite authoring a bill to ban the practice, he is still taking campaign cash from multiple former lawmakers who are registered lobbyists for foreign countries.
In March 2019, Gallagher and Democratic Maine Rep. Jared Golden introduced legislation to ban foreign lobbying by anyone who had “served as a Member of Congress, a senior political appointee, or a general or flag officer of the Armed Forces.”
The duo reintroduced their bill in May 2021. In a press release announcing the reintroduction, Gallagher said:
There is a growing problem in Washington: too many U.S. government officials are willing to shop their connections and expertise to foreign adversaries. If you have the privilege of serving in the highest levels of the federal government, you should not be able to sell out the country and undermine our national security. This bipartisan bill holds government officials to a higher standard and ensures those trusted with faithfully executing the Constitution don’t stop once they’ve left government.
Despite his opposition to former members of Congress becoming foreign agents, Gallagher has continued to take campaign cash from at least three such people.
Republican Phil English represented Pennsylvania in the House for seven terms, from 1995 to 2009. After losing a reelection campaign, he became a senior government relations adviser at the lobbying firm ArentFox Schiff. In 2021, English registered with the U.S. Department of Justice as a foreign agent for the Ukrainian Federation of Employers of the Oil and Gas Industry and the Kurdistan Regional Government in northern Iraq. English donated $500 to Gallagher in June 2022.
Florida Republican Ileana Ros-Lehtinen served 14 full terms in the House, from August 1989 to 2019, rising to become chair of the Foreign Affairs Committee. Upon retirement, she became a senior adviser at the firm Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP and registered as an agent for the Embassy of Japan, the Republic of the Marshall Islands, the Embassy of the Kingdom of Morocco, the Republic of Palau, the Embassy of the United Arab Emirates, and the Ministry of Investments and Foreign Trade of Uzbekistan. Ros-Lehtinen gave Gallagher $500 in January.
Texas Republican Lamar Smith served 16 terms in the House, from 1987 to 2019. After retiring, he became a senior consultant at Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP, where he is registered to lobby for the Embassy of Japan, the Embassy of the United Arab Emirates, and the Hong Kong Trade Development Council. Smith donated $1,500 to Gallagher in January.
Gallagher has also criticized the Chinese-owned social media platform TikTok and its parent company ByteDance while taking thousands of dollars in individual and PAC donations from the company’s lobbyists.
A Gallagher spokesperson did not respond to an American Independent Foundation inquiry about the donations.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.
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