A Cambridge, Massachusetts consulting firm acknowledged Friday that some of its work on behalf of Muammar Qaddafi and Libya from 2006 to 2008 should have been registered with the U.S. Department of Justice in accordance with the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA). In a statement, Monitor Group said it will now register “some of its past work in Libya, as well as recent work with Jordan” and “take all appropriate measures to remediate these errors.”
The company says the move comes after a “thorough fact-finding and legal investigation” initiated by Monitor and conducted by the law firm of Covington & Burling.
“Monitor supported, during a period of genuine promise, the processes of reform and modernization in Libya,” Monitor Managing Partner Stephen Jennings said in a statement. “We made some mistakes along the way. While we stand by the majority of our work in and for that country, we have been resolute in our determination to find the facts, remedy errors, and ensure that we learn from them.”
Company officials told The Boston Globe that the inquiry “also concluded that public relations work for foreign governments is not part of its core mission and should be avoided.” The Globe reports:
Libya had hired the company, which was cofounded by Harvard professors, in 2006 to produce a strategy for economic reform. Such consulting work does not need to be registered with the federal government.
But at the same time, Libya gave the company $250,000 per month to launch a visitors program aimed at bringing influential “thought leaders” to Tripoli.
According to the Globe, media attention prompted the Department of Justice to send Monitor a letter inquiring about its past work in Libya. Specialists told the paper that as long as companies comply with the law, penalties for failing to register are rare.
Eric Lach is a reporter for TPM. From 2010 to 2011, he was a news writer in charge of the website’s front page. He has previously written for The Daily, NewYorker.com, GlobalPost and other publications. He can be reached at ericl(at)talkingpointsmemo.com