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July 5, 2011 6:58 PM

Libyan Rebels Hire Patton Boggs

Posted by Brian Baxter

Patton Boggs has been retained by the Interim Transitional National Council of Libya (TNC) to advise rebels fighting for U.S. support in their effort to topple longtime leader Muammar Qaddafi, according to The Hill.

The Am Law 100 lobbying powerhouse seeks to have the U.S. government recognize the TNC as Libya's "legitimate government" in order to access billions in frozen funds accumulated by the Qaddafi regime overseas. Several European nations have already formally recognized the Libyan rebels claim to be the sole international representative for the North African country.

According to documents filed by Patton Boggs under the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA), the firm has agreed not to bill the TNC more than $50,000 per month. Public policy and lobbying partner Thomas Hale Boggs, Jr., chairman of Patton Boggs's executive committee and the son of late firm cofounder Thomas Hale Boggs, is leading a team from the firm advising the TNC, along with managing partner Edward Newberry.

Many lobbying firms that had been representing Qaddafi's government quickly severed ties earlier this year after its crackdown on protestors. The country's nascent political opposition has publicly criticized the Qaddafi regime's ties to U.S. business interests, most of which are energy and oil companies. Rebels have denied negotiating with the Libyan government, and instead are claiming to be preparing plans for an advance on the capital Tripoli.

The New York Times reported in March that White & Case and Blank Rome were two firms that had done work in the past for the Libyan government in Tripoli. (Click here and here for lobbying records from those two firms filed under FARA.)

As for Patton Boggs, the firm's lobby machine churns on. The Record of Bergen County, N.J., reported on Tuesday that Patton Boggs had been paid at least $130,000 by New Jersey Transit this year to lobby Congress on behalf of the agency. As previously reported by The Am Law Daily, Patton Boggs has been representing the Garden State in a dispute with the federal government over a canceled $271 million tunnel project, which has already cost New Jersey more than $1 million in legal fees.

Earlier this year, Patton Boggs found itself in the middle of events surrounding public opposition--and the eventual ousting of--former Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak. A foreign affairs adviser at the firm, former U.S. ambassador to Egypt Frank Wisner, was appointed by President Barack Obama to serve as a special envoy to the strategically important country. Patton Boggs disputed allegations that Wisner had a conflict over his previous dealings with Mubarak.

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