CLEVELAND (TDB) -- Pakistani strongman Gen. Pervez Musharraf suspended the Constitution and declared martial law in a desperate effort to hang onto power in an increasingly unstable Muslim nation that has a small stockpile of atomic weapons. Those events are unfolding a long way from Ohio. But the general's military government does have something in common with several important institutions in this state --it uses the same D.C. lobbying firm, Van Scoyoc Associates Inc. Van Scoyoc registered as a foreign agent for Pakistan and was paid $310,000 for the first six months of 2006, federal records show.
There is another interesting tie between Van Scoyoc and Ohio: U.S. Rep. Steve LaTourette's spouse, Jennifer, is a lobbyist with the company that represented Pakistan. Her name turns up on the company's list of employees here.
The Northeast Ohio Republican, R-14, could find himself in an awkward political spot if the U.S. government cuts off Musharraf, an ally in the war on terror whose declaration of martial law Sunday defied the Bush administration. Washington has sent Pakistan about $10 billion in military aid since 2001, and had been urging Musharraf to move towards democracy. Instead, the general went the other way and began jailing political opponents.
The lobbying firm's Ohio clients are blue chip as this list shows. It includes Bowling Green State University, the Cleveland Clinic Foundation Inc., Cleveland Museum of Art, Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority, Hiram College, the University of Akron and the University of Toledo.
Musharraf's government hired Van Scoyoc for legal and other services. The firm reported that it "monitored, advised and evaluated legislative issues and arranged meetings with U.S. Government officials to discuss issues affecting the Government of Pakistan."