Richard Olson, a former U.S. ambassador to Pakistan and the United Arab Emirates (“UAE”) during the Obama administration, has been criminally charged for failing to disclose his role in a lobbying campaign for the Qatari government. According to court documents, Olson plans to plead guilty.
The Department of Justice (“DOJ”) charged Olson with making false statements in ethics paperwork and violating laws restricting foreign lobbying by ex-federal officials, both misdemeanors. Federal law prohibits senior U.S. officials from participating in any lobbying or public relations efforts on behalf of foreign governments within a year of leaving office.
Olson allegedly worked with a Pakistani American contact and high-level Qatari government officials to advance Qatar’s interests in Washington, receiving $20,000 in monthly payments from the Pakistani American lobbyist for the work. According to the indictment, Olson worked to persuade American officials to establish a U.S. Customs and Border Protection preclearance facility in the main airport in Doha, Qatar. Additionally, when Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain, and Egypt cut diplomatic ties with Qatar in 2017 and blockaded flights and ships from Qatar, citing financial support for terrorism, Olson lobbied U.S. government officials to encourage the U.S. government to help get the blockade lifted and repair diplomatic relations among the Persian Gulf nations.
While Olson never registered as a foreign agent of Qatar, he is not charged with violating the Foreign Agents Registration Act.
For more information regarding FARA, please contact us using our online form.
An Informational Resource in a New Era of Foreign Agents Registration Act Enforcement.
Recent Blog Posts
- DOJ Sends Letter to Congress in Support of Proposed FARA Legislation, Repeal of LDA Exemption
- Trump Ally Acquitted of Violating FARA
- Federal Court Grants Casino Mogul Steve Wynn Dismissal of DOJ FARA Suit
- DOJ Sues Casino Mogul Steve Wynn to Compel FARA Registration
- Former US Ambassador to Plead Guilty to Violating Post-Employment Ethics Law in Qatar Representation
- Chinese National Charged with Acting as an Illegal Agent of the Chinese Government in the United States
- House Judiciary Committee Holds First FARA Hearing In 30 Years
- Dual Russia-U.S. Citizen Charged With FARA Violations, Remains At-Large
- DOJ Unseals Indictment Charging U.S. Resident With Acting As An Agent Of Egypt Government
- DOJ Solicits Public Input on Potential Changes to FARA
- December 2022
- November 2022
- October 2022
- May 2022
- April 2022
- March 2022
- January 2022
- December 2021
- October 2021
- July 2021
- March 2021
- February 2021
- December 2020
- November 2020
- September 2020
- June 2020
- May 2020
- February 2020
- October 2019
- September 2019
- August 2019
- July 2019
- June 2019
- May 2019
- April 2019
- March 2019
- February 2019
- January 2019