Report: Chairman Of South Dakota Republican Party Is A Lobbyist For Saudi Arabia
The chairman of the South Dakota Republican Party, Dan Lederman, is being paid $10,000 a month to lobby on behalf of Saudi Arabian interests, The Rapid City Journal reported in December.
Although Lederman declined to discuss his work on behalf of the Saudi Arabian embassy, he replied with a two-sentence statement by email.
The statement referenced LS2group, which is short for the Larson Shannahan Slifka Group, of Des Moines, Iowa. The company has an agreement with the Saudi Arabian embassy, and Lederman, a senior adviser for LS2group, was assigned to work on the embassy’s behalf.
“LS2group will provide strategic and government affairs counsel, public relations, and communications services to the Embassy of Saudi Arabia,” the statement said. “LS2group meets and files all disclosures as required by law and takes that responsibility seriously.”
Federal law mandates people acting on behalf of foreign governments to register; the disclosures from LS2group include a copy of its agreement with the Saudi Arabian embassy and was effective Nov. 1 and continues through Oct. 31, 2020.
LS2group receives a retainer of $126,500 per month, which totals $1.518 million over the 12 months of the agreement, according to the disclosures.
Lederman’s registration statement said he was receiving $10,000 per month to work part-time as a consultant.
Lederman previously worked on behalf of Saudi Arabia at least once before, from October 2016 to March 2017, when he worked as a consultant with MSL GROUP Americas Inc. (aka Qorvis MSLG) to oppose the Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act (JASTA).
JASTA was passed by Congress in 2016 and prevents countries involved in terrorist attacks from invoking sovereign legal immunity. It specifically allowed families and victims of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks to continue a class-action lawsuit against Saudi Arabia for its alleged support of the al Qaeda terrorist group.
Lederman’s registration statement in 2016 said he would conduct “outreach to media, influencers, and state and federal elected officials regarding the Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act” by “describing the unintended consequences that JASTA poses to US interests, including potentional legal liabilities for US military, intelligence, and diplomatic personnel.”