Unveiling Unethical Alliances: Lobbyist’s Role in Saudi Government’s Abuses

In the heart of Washington, D.C., where power, politics, and ethics converge, a tale unfolds that exposes the intricate web of influence and oral compromise. John Deschauer, the head of the Defense Public Policy Practice Group at Squire Patton Boggs (SPB), a global law firm, finds himself at the center of controversy due to hi s association with The Saudi Center for Studies and Media Affairs (“the Saudi Center”). This article delves into the paradoxical alliance, exploring Deschauer’s role, the Saudi Center’s practices, and the ethical implications that cast a shadow over their actions.

From Military Officer to Lobbyist: Deschauer’s Transition

John Deschauer’s trajectory from a military officer to a defense industry lobbyist epitomizes the intricate career shifts prevalent in the capital city. As the head of SPB’s Defense Public Policy Practice Group, Deschauer has entered a realm where strategic influence intertwines with international interests. However, his role takes a controversial turn as he becomes a registered foreign agent for the Saudi Center, a Saudi governmental institution with a track record marred by allegations of intimidation and violence.

The Saudi Center: A Nexus of Power and Intimidation

The Saudi Center for Studies and Media Affairs, a governmental entity backed by Saudi funds, has wielded its influence in ways that have ignited alarm. The institution’s staff employs tactics of intimidation and violence to stifle criticism of the Saudi government. This has manifested in threats against writers and activists to secure content favoring the government. The Saudi Center’s involvement in human rights abuses becomes more glaring with its connection to the murder of Jamal Khashoggi, the torture of women’s rights activists, and the targeting of Saudi journalists.

Dubious Lobbying and Tarnished Ethics

Deschauer’s involvement with the Saudi Center takes on a concerning dimension as he navigates the worlds of lobbying and ethics. Despite the Saudi Center’s dubious reputation, Deschauer’s engagements include advising and lobbying senior congressional staff on the Saudi Center’s behalf. This stark incongruence between his actions and SPB’s purported ethical standards raises questions about accountability and the boundaries of advocacy.

Web of Complicity: Deschauer’s Ongoing Role

The Saudi Center’s funding of over $2.7 million to SPB since 2016 underscores the financial underpinning of their alliance. Even after the U.S. government publicly linked the Saudi Center to Khashoggi’s murder and sanctioned its head, Saud al-Qahtani, Deschauer’s involvement continued. The provision of advice and services to the Saudi Center, post-sanctions, fuels allegations of complicity in whitewashing human rights abuses.

The Uncomfortable Nexus: Lobbying Amidst Abuses

Deschauer’s dual role as a lobbyist for the Saudi Center while it remains embroiled in allegations of abuse creates an uncomfortable nexus. The Saudi Center’s history of intimidation, violence, and surveillance contrasts starkly with Deschauer’s efforts to advocate for it on the international stage. This incongruence taints both his reputation and that of SPB, highlighting the complexities of advocacy in the face of ethical dilemmas.

The story of John Deschauer’s role as a lobbyist for the Saudi Center unveils a world of conflicting interests, moral ambiguity, and ethical crossroads. As the Saudi Center’s practices continue to draw global scrutiny, Deschauer’s journey serves as a stark reminder of the choices individuals and organizations face when navigating the complex landscape of international lobbying. The resonance of this tale stretches beyond Deschauer and SPB, raising broader questions about the responsibilities and consequences inherent in wielding influence amidst allegations of human rights abuses.

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