BGR Group

Profile: BGR Group

1- Name of NGO:

BGR Group

2- Brief & Mission:

BGR Group, a lobbying and communication company headquartered in Washington, D.C. and with branches in London, Beijing, and Austin, Texas, was established in 1991 by ex-White House aides Ed Rogers and Haley Barbour. Lanny Griffith later joined the firm, leading to its transformation into Barbour Griffith & Rogers.

Recent disclosures indicate that The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is expanding its team of American lobbyists by enlisting the services of BGR Government Affairs. This firm was founded by Haley Barbour, a former chair of the Republican National Committee, as per the filings.

3- Bias, Agenda & Motivation:

While the majority of Washington lobbying firms engaged with the Saudi government communicated through their embassy, Squire Patton Boggs, in conjunction with three other entities – the Republican-leaning BGR Group, the Democratic-affiliated Podesta Group, and SGR – entered agreements in 2016 with Qahtani’s center. This period coincided with MBS’s competition for authority within the government. Consequently, the firms that were accountable to Qahtani played a more direct role in supporting the crown prince’s endeavors to establish his image in Washington

This situation highlights that the BGR Group operated on behalf of the Saudi government, essentially functioning as a tool employed by KSA to advance its interests within the United States.

4- Links to Governments/Political Agenda:

The BGR was engaged by the Saudi government to achieve political objectives in Washington, underscoring a clear link between the Saudi monarchy and the said firm.

5- Sources of Funding:

The agreement with Saudi Arabia granted BGR an annual payment of $500,000 to support U.S. media outreach on behalf of the Center for Studies and Media Affairs at the Saudi Royal Court, which is a government entity.

6- Activities:

According to recently revealed filings, The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is expanding its roster of American lobbyists by enlisting BGR Government Affairs, a firm established by former Republican National Committee chair Haley Barbour. The contract stipulates an annual payment of $500,000 to BGR, designated for aiding U.S. media outreach for the Center for Studies and Media Affairs at the Saudi Royal Court, which functions as a governmental entity. This retainer encompasses the expertise of Jeffrey Birnbaum, a former Washington Post journalist previously focused on the lobbying sector and currently engaged as a lobbyist, alongside Ed Rogers, a former Reagan administration official who presently engages in lobbying activities and authors a column titled “PostPartisan” for the Post. This contract marks the latest development in an ongoing expansion process that has taken place over the past two years.

7- NGO Leadership:

Frank Ahrens holds the position of Principal in the field of Public Relations, while Keaghan Ames serves as the Vice President for Financial Services.

8- Controversy:

BGR is among the few firms that ended their connections with Saudi Arabia following the killing of Khashoggi. This decision reportedly followed actions by the Washington Post, where Khashoggi had been a contributing columnist. It’s considered a breach of ethical standards to work for a nation or government implicated in the killing of a journalist and involved in human rights violations.

9- Contact Details:

  • Website: https://bgrdc.com
  • Address: USA
  • Email: dmurphy@bgrdc.com

10- Classification/Blacklist:

By engaging in lobbying efforts on behalf of governments, entities linked to governments, state-backed investment funds, or individuals connected to the Saudi Arabian administration responsible for grave offenses like war crimes, torture, arbitrary detentions, and extrajudicial executions, BGR is playing a part in perpetuating these wrongful actions. As a result, the company’s associations with the Saudi government have led to its identification as a worrisome entity and its inclusion on a watchlist.

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