McKeon Group

Profile: McKeon Group

1- Name of NGO:

McKeon Group

2- Brief & Mission:

McKeon Group stands as a consulting and lobbying enterprise with unparalleled expertise in delivering outcomes within the corridors of Capitol Hill. The organization works in partnership with clients to tackle intricate challenges and devise innovative remedies across federal, state, and local governmental spheres. Recent disclosures have brought to light that this group undertook lobbying efforts on behalf of Saudi Arabia, assisting their involvement in the Yemeni conflict.

3- Bias, Agenda & Motivation:

U.S. defense contractors along with their lobbyists follow a business strategy where the casualties of innocent Yemeni civilians are considered as an acceptable expense incurred in the course of operations.

The involvement of McKeon Group in the Yemen War demonstrates a shrewd ability to simultaneously advocate for the interests of both influential U.S. arms manufacturers and the nations of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. This lobbying approach, enabling the firm to cater to multiple clients concurrently — including contractors keen on securing arms contracts and foreign governments reliant on American political and military backing — has played a significant part in keeping the United States entrenched in the Yemen conflict.

Under the guidance of former Republican congressman and House Armed Services Committee chairman, Howard “Buck” McKeon, the McKeon Group has been actively engaged in this “overlooked conflict” for a span of three years. This is due to the firm’s representation of major arms and ammunition vendors like Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, Orbital ATK, MBDA, and L3 Technologies, alongside Saudi Arabia. Essentially, the McKeon Group exerts its lobbying influence within Washington’s political machinery on behalf of both arms suppliers and the purchaser.

4- Links to Governments/Political Agenda:

When the McKeon Group effectively promotes the objectives of both Saudi Arabia and the prominent arms manufacturers within the Washington landscape, it attests to its efficacy and secures substantial recompense. This highlights the evident involvement of Saudi Arabia’s ruling monarchy with LS2 Group, aimed at protecting their interests within the United States.

5- Sources of Funding:

Commencing its lobbying efforts for the Saudi government in 2016, the McKeon Group managed to amass $2 million in compensation for these services from 2017 to 2020, as reported by OpenSecrets. Remarkably, the McKeon Group persisted in its staunch support of Saudi Arabia, even in the face of heightened scrutiny and public outcry following the tragic killing of Saudi journalist and U.S. resident Jamal Khashoggi. Astonishingly, a mere three days after Khashoggi’s murder, the McKeon Group accepted a payment of $450,000 from the Saudi government, and it is reputed that the Kingdom retained their services with a monthly fee of $50,000 to advocate on its behalf.

6- Activities:

The McKeon Group operates directly on behalf of Saudi Arabia, coincidentally being one of the largest foreign purchasers of Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman weaponry. According to records from the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA), the McKeon Group received $920,148.21 from the Kingdom in the previous year. They engaged in assertive political lobbying efforts within Congress, aimed at opposing bills that could have negatively impacted the U.S. arms trade relationship with Saudi Arabia. Notably, among these bills was S.J. 54, known as the Yemen Resolution, co-sponsored by Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and Senator Mike Lee (R-UT), which aimed to terminate American involvement in the Yemen conflict.

FARA filings reveal that the firm made multiple calls and sent numerous emails to Senators and Representatives as crucial votes drew near. Of particular significance, on November 14, 2018, exactly two weeks ahead of a vote on the resolution, the McKeon Group contacted Senator Jim Inhofe, the current chairman of the Armed Services Committee, on behalf of the Saudis. Their communications with Inhofe’s office pertained to the “KSA [Kingdom of Saudi Arabia].” Additionally, they communicated with his office on November 29th, the day following the vote, concerning “S.J. Res. 54.” On the same day (November 14th), the firm also provided a $1,000 contribution to the Senator. Ultimately, Inhofe cast his vote in favor of maintaining military support for Saudi Arabia, seemingly unfazed by the significant civilian casualties resulting from the conflict.

7- NGO Leadership:

The role of Chairman at the group is fulfilled by Chairman and CEO, McKeon, while Ambassador Pete Hoekstra holds the position of Principal.

8- Controversy:

Among McKeon’s lobbying endeavors on behalf of the Saudi government, there is a notable instance where they engaged with the staff of Senate Committee on Armed Services Chair James Inhofe (R-Okla.) on November 14, 2018. The topic of discussion was the U.S. relationship with the Saudi government, a conversation that took place merely a month after the assassination of Jamal Khashoggi, the founder of DAWN, by Saudi agents acting on the orders of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. This situation gives rise to a significant ethical debate, as the firm’s lobbying efforts are connected with a nation implicated in the murder of Jamal Khashoggi.

 9- Contact Details:

  • Website:https://www.mckeongrp.com
  • Address:USA
  • Email:  info@mckeongrp.com

10- Classification/Blacklist:

The involvement of the McKeon Group with the Saudi Arabian government entails assuming significant obligations. In particular, these responsibilities pertain to promoting the interests of an autocratic regime that has consistently shown little regard for fundamental human rights values. As a consequence of this partnership, the McKeon Group finds itself listed among entities currently under examination due to their connections with the Saudi government.

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