Larson Shannahan Slifka Group (LS2 Group)

Profile: Larson Shannahan Slifka Group (LS2 Group)

1- Name of NGO:

Larson Shannahan Slifka Group (LS2 Group)

2- Brief & Mission:

LS2group, a nonpartisan company headquartered in Des Moines, focusing on public relations, marketing, and government and public affairs, gained attention in 2018 when reports from the Associated Press revealed their past financial support for lobbying on behalf of the oil-rich kingdom. This renewed agreement between the Des Moines firm and Saudi Arabia emerged 13 months following the assassination of journalist Jamal Khashoggi within the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul, Turkey. The CIA’s assessment linked Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to ordering the killing of Khashoggi, a prominent writer associated with the Washington Post.

3- Bias, Agenda & Motivation:

The Saudi lobby extended its battle for influence in the United States beyond the Beltway, initiating a seemingly grassroots initiative that managed to reach more than half of all U.S. states. Orchestrating this effort was a Des Moines, Iowa-based public relations agency known as Larson Shannahan Slifka Group. They reached out to a multitude of entities, including small media outlets, local politicians, nonprofit organizations, small businesses, religious groups, and even high school students, all on behalf of the Saudi Embassy. This campaign played a pivotal role in enabling the Saudi ambassador and other officials to disseminate a nationwide message affirming the kingdom’s substantial connections with American enterprises and its ongoing efforts to enhance its human rights record.

4- Links to Governments/Political Agenda:

In order to enhance the Saudi public diplomacy campaign, the King Faisal Center for Research and Islamic Studies (KFCRIS) in Riyadh equipped LS2 Group with a comprehensive 32-page report titled ‘The US-Saudi Economic Relationship: Beyond Arms and Oil.’ This document accentuates the kingdom’s investments in the United States, its commercial transactions, contributions to educational institutions, and acquisitions of US Treasury securities. This underlines the direct engagement of the ruling monarchy of Saudi Arabia with LS2 Group to safeguard their interests in the United States.

5- Sources of Funding:

It has come to light that Larson Shannahan Slifka Group has entered into a contract with the Saudi Arabian embassy in Washington, D.C., spanning a duration of one year and amounting to $1.5 million.

6- Activities:

Amid discussions within Washington regarding the future trajectory of US-Saudi relations, the kingdom has initiated an unparalleled public diplomacy endeavor. This campaign aims to rally support from businesses and local communities beyond the confines of the Beltway, with the objective of countering the prevailing anti-Saudi sentiment within the Biden administration and Congress.

In this pursuit, the Saudi embassy in Washington has opted to collaborate with a lobbying and public relations agency that operates from the heartland of America, rather than the capital. Larson Shannahan Slifka Group (LS2 Group), headquartered in Iowa, has been engaged under a monthly contract of $126,500 to engage with local media, business associations, women’s groups, and world affairs councils in distant states. On its website, LS2 Group declares, “We are genuine individuals addressing tangible concerns.”

7- NGO Leadership:

Jim Tobin holds the position of Senior Vice President, while Lonny Leitner serves as the Vice President at L2s Group. 

8- Controversy:

The LS2 Group orchestrated various events beyond Washington, such as webinars organized by Washington-based think tanks. These sessions featured a rotating lineup of former government officials, scholars, and analysts engaged in discussions about the appropriate US policy towards Saudi Arabia. This highlights LS2 Group’s role as a mechanism utilized by the Saudi government to safeguard its interests within the United States.

 9- Contact Details:

  • Website:https://www.ls2group.com
  • Address:USA
  • Email:  tinfo@ls2group.com

10- Classification/Blacklist:

L2S Group’s engagement with the Saudi Arabian government involves demanding responsibilities. Specifically, these duties revolve around advocating for an autocratic regime known for its continuous disregard of essential human rights principles. This association has resulted in L2S Group being added to a roster of entities that are currently being scrutinized due to their affiliations with the Saudi government.

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