Craig's clients at times at odds with U.S.
KENNETH P. VOGEL | 11/22/08 7:05 AM EST
As a top Washington lawyer, newly named White House counsel Greg Craig has represented high-profile clients, from Bill Clinton to John Hinckley to Alexander Solzhenitsyn to Elian Gonzalez’s father.
But less well known is Craig’s work in the 1990s for at least four foreign governments or leaders facing a variety of tricky situations in Washington.
Craig represented Argentina, Bolivia, Panama and the prime minister of Haiti as a “foreign agent,” basically a lobbyist for foreign governments and businesses with issues before the federal government. But those governments, which paid hundreds of thousands of dollars to Craig’s power law firm Williams & Connolly, got more than just traditional lobbying from him.
When the U.S. government in 1990 unfroze bank accounts belonging to deposed Panamanian leader Manuel Noriega so he could pay to defend himself against drug charges, Craig went to federal court to try to seize Noriega’s cash for Panama.
Soon after Bolivia elected as its new president in 1989 a former revolutionary leftist who ran as a Social Democrat, Craig oversaw the planning of meetings between him and a cadre of influential members of Congress then, including Sens. George Mitchell (D-Maine); Bob Dole (R-Kan.); Edward M. Kennedy (D-Mass.), a former Craig boss; Joe Biden (D-Del.), whose position as vice president-elect makes him a current Craig boss; and Reps. Porter Goss (R-Fla.) and Peter Kostmayer (D-Pa.).
Now who is he, exactly? According to The Politico, he is a longtime aide to Teddy Kennedy. And here’s some more:
Craig, who had been friends with Bill Clinton and Hillary Rodham at Yale Law School, was recruited for the impeachment job by John Podesta, then deputy White House chief of staff and now a leader of Obama’s transition. A Washington Post profile in 1998 by Lloyd Grove and John Harris reported: “Craig brought along his best bedside manner when Clinton summoned him to the White House residence on the night of Sept. 10 — the day after independent counsel Kenneth Starr’s lurid report to Congress was published on the World Wide Web. On a balcony overlooking the South Lawn, Clinton and Craig sat talking for two hours.”
OK, so his biggest claim to fame is that he helped our ethically challenged former president beat the impeachment rap. Is that the hallmark of a new broom in D.C.?
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