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D.C. lobbyists have stake in Ukraine unrest

By Laurie Bennett

February 23, 2014 at 11:10am

The dramatic release of Yuliya Tymoshenko, the imprisoned former prime minister of Ukraine, was a victory of sorts for Washington lobby firm.

Tymoshenko was jailed by her political foe, President Viktor F. Yanukovych, after losing the 2010 election. She emerged Saturday, after Yanukovych fled the country.

The U.S. firm Wiley Rein was hired in 2012 by her husband, Oleksandar Tymoshenko, to lobby for her release.

Jim Slattery
Jim Slattery

According to filings with the Senate, Wiley Rein has been paid $920,000 to represent the Tymoshenkos. It was the single largest lobbying contract the firm had last year.

Wiley Rein has multiple federal ties. Chairman Richard E. Wiley is former chairman of the Federal Communications Commission. Partners Bert Rein and David Gross worked for the State Department.

Another partner, Jim Slattery, was a six-term Democratic congressman from Kansas. Slattery is one of the lobbyists handling the Tymoshenko case.

In its registration documents, the firm said, “Wiley Rein is not seeking to intervene in Ukrainian politics other than to seek the release of Mrs. Tymoshenko.”

However, in Yanukovych’s absence, Tymoshenko’s allies are already moving to fill the vacuum, according to the New York Times.

Although she was cheered by protesters as she spoke from the stage in Kiev, she has many detractors.

Nevertheless, should Tymoshenko return to power, Wiley Rein would be well positioned for future Ukraine contracts.

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