New reports reveal Washingon-based firm, BGR Group, which also lobbies on behalf of the company responsible for Russia’s Nord Stream 2 pipeline also helped whip support for President Biden’s nominee for Secretary of State, Antony Blinken. BGR Group assisted in arranging a letter to urge Republican Senator Jim Risch, the top Republican on the Foreign Relations Committee to support Blinken’s confirmation.
Fox News reports:
Fox News obtained an electronic copy of the letter; the document’s metadata shows it was created by Adriana Larsen, a senior policy analyst at BGR. Risch was among the roughly couple dozen Republicans who voted to confirm Blinken. While the letter’s existence was previously reported by Politico, its full contents and full list of signatories had remained unpublished until this report.
BGR registered on April 1, 2020, as a lobbyist for Nord Stream 2 AG on “Issues related to the U.S. position toward the Nord Stream 2 pipeline,” Senate lobbying disclosures reviewed by Fox News show. Since then, Nord Stream has paid BGR $240,000 per quarter – or just under $1 million per year – to lobby in favor of the pipeline, those disclosures show. Larsen, the policy analyst involved with the letter, does not appear to have been involved in BGR’s Nord Stream lobbying efforts.
Still, the fact that the same firm lobbying on behalf of the pipeline was also promoting Blinken’s confirmation is likely to raise questions from Republicans on Capitol Hill. Blinken is slated to appear before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Tuesday.
“Secretary Blinken had no knowledge of any BGR work on behalf of his confirmation, he was not aware of the group’s work on behalf of Nord Stream 2, nor was he in contact with BGR regarding it. The Secretary has been clear: he, like the President, is opposed to the pipeline and views it as a Russian influence project,” State Department spokesman Ned Price told Fox News in an email.
The Biden administration has faced fierce criticism of the decision to waive sanctions on the company behind the Nord Stream 2 pipeline. Once completed, the pipeline will give President Putin a stranglehold on Europe’s natural gas supply, increasing his power in the region.