Democrat Dirty Laundry: Rahall’s Lobbyist Sister Uses Rahall’s “Power and Influence” in Threat to Firm that Fired Her

October 7, 2010

Rahall’s Lobbyist Sister Uses Rahall’s “Power and Influence” in Threat to Firm that Fired Her
Cozy Relationship with Her Brother’s Office Raises Serious Questions;
Tanya Rahall, a Registered Lobbyist, Even Receives Mail in Rahall’s Office

SPIN CYCLE: Speaker Pelosi Vowed that Democrats Would Lead the “Most Honest, Most Open, and Most Ethical Congress in History”:

“Our goal is to restore accountability, honesty and openness at all levels of government. To do so, we will create and enforce rules that demand the highest ethics from every public servant, sever unethical ties between lawmakers and lobbyists, and establish clear standards that prevent the trading of official business for gifts,” (Nancy Pelosi’s “A New Direction for America,” Page 21).

RINSE CYCLE: Rahall’s Lobbyist Sister Made Threat that Nick Rahall “Would Exercise His Power and Influence on Capitol Hill” to Harm the Firm that Fired Her:

Tanya Rahall, sister of Rep. Nick Rahall, allegedly threatened to make sure the “doors on Capitol Hill will be closed” to a lobbying firm that fired her, according to a civil lawsuit filed against her and another lobbyist.

Tanya Rahall “made threats that her brother, Congressman Nick Rahall of West Virginia, would exercise his power and influence on Capitol Hill to harm the businesses and reputations of RJI and its personnel,” according to a lawsuit filed by RJI Government Strategies, a D.C.-based lobbying firm where Tanya Rahall worked for nine months from 2008 to 2009.

The lawsuit once again raises questions about the close relationships that exist between members of Congress and their family members who are involved in lobbying. Nick Rahall, a 33-year veteran of the House, is chairman of the Natural Resources Committee.

RJI is suing Tanya Rahall and Hilliard Zola, a partner in the lobbying firm Dierman, Worley, Zola & Associates. RJI asserts that Tanya Rahall and Zola “conspired” to steal at least one of its clients and inappropriately took “confidential information” from RJI’s computer files for their own use. (John Bresnahan, “Suit: Rahall Sis Made Payback Threat,” Politico, 10/07/10)

Lobbyist Sister Receives Mail in His Office

But Tanya Rahall has had numerous interactions with Nick Rahall and his staff in the past on lobbying activities, including when she represented the Qatari government earlier this decade, according to reports that she filed with the Justice Department.

And she also appears to have had an inbox in her brother’s congressional office where she received correspondence and personal mail, said sources familiar with the situation. (John Bresnahan, “Suit: Rahall Sis Made Payback Threat,” Politico, 10/07/10)

Tanya Rahall Lobbied Her Brother and Got Results

She later served as a public relations consultant for the Ministry of Culture and Information of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and Restaurant Holdings, an international real estate development company.

In December 2002, Tanya Rahall registered as a foreign agent on behalf of the Qatari Embassy in the United States. She reported receiving $15,000 per month for her services, according to disclosure reports she filed with the Foreign Agent Registration Act office at the Justice Department.

In April 2003, Nick Rahall traveled to Doha, Qatar, to speak at a conference on “Democracy and Free Trade.” At least four other House members took part in that trip, according to congressional travel records.

The following month, Nick Rahall introduced a resolution thanking the Qatari government for its support for the American invasion of Iraq and welcoming Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani, the emir of Qatar, to the United States.

Nick Rahall later co-sponsored other pro-Qatar resolutions.

Tanya Rahall disclosed in FARA reports that she met or spoke with her brother and his chief of staff, Kent Keyser, on Qatari government-related activities more than a half-dozen times from 2003 to 2004.

During that period, Tanya Rahall helped start the Congressional Caucus on Qatari-American Economic Strategic Defense, Cultural and Educational Partnership. Nick Rahall is co-chairman of that organization and hosted a Capitol Hill gathering for Al-Thani during his Washington visit. (John Bresnahan, “Suit: Rahall Sis Made Payback Threat,” Politico, 10/07/10)

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