A university dean picked as one of Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton’s top diplomatic deputies has earned tens of thousands of dollars in part-time consulting work from a prominent Washington lobbying firm with a roster of foreign clients that include a Dubai-backed company and Colombia’s trade bureau.
Deputy Secretary of State James B. Steinberg, who was confirmed by the Senate this week, reported $70,000 in income from the Glover Park Group, whose partners include several former high-ranking Clinton administration officials, according to documents recently filed with the U.S. Office of Ethics.
“Jim did strategic consulting for the Glover Park Group, serving as an internal adviser on international issues,” said Joe Lockhart, a founding partner of Glover Park and a chief White House spokesman during the Clinton administration. “He did not represent nor lobby for any Glover Park Group client.”
Since 2006, the firm has earned nearly $2 million representing foreign clients.
Mr. Steinberg, who was dean of the University of Texas Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs before his nomination, did not specify the nature of his work for Glover Park other than saying he received consulting fees. He is not registered as a foreign agent or a lobbyist, according to Justice Department and Senate records.
But Bill Allison, senior fellow at the nonpartisan Sunlight Foundation, said Mr. Steinberg’s consulting for a lobbying firm with foreign clients raises questions about whether he worked on behalf of any of those clients and whether he will recuse himself from State Department issues involving Glover Park’s clients.
“It’s worth the Senate asking a few questions about,” Mr. Allison said. “Glover Park is an organization that does represent a lot of foreign principals.
“It’s possible to be involved in a lobbying effort without being the lobbyist if he’s providing research or information that the firm uses to influence policy or to bring about a policy,” Mr. Allison added.
A White House spokesman on Wednesday referred questions about Mr. Steinberg’s work to the lobbying firm, Glover Park.
Among his sources of income, Mr. Steinberg reported $325,000 in salary and bonuses from the University of Texas at Austin, a pair of $10,000 honorariums from Japanese media companies and $7,500 from the Washington-based Center for a New American Security, a group co-founded by Michele Flournoy, Mr. Obama’s pick to be undersecretary of defense policy at the Pentagon.
According to Justice Department records, Dubai Aerospace, backed by the government of Dubai, paid Glover Park about a quarter-million dollars in 2007 in connection with the company’s acquisition of U.S.-based Landmark Aviation.
Glover Park also has lobbied for Taiwan, Colombia’s trade organization and the city of London, records show.
The firm has strong ties to the Clinton administration. Its current partners include Mr. Lockhart; Howard Wolfson, who was communications director for Mrs. Clinton’s presidential campaign; Susan Brophy, deputy assistant to the president in the Clinton administration; and Joel Johnson, who was a senior adviser to President Clinton.
Mr. Steinberg, too, worked in the Clinton administration, serving as deputy national security adviser from 1996 to 2000. He previously worked as chief of staff at the State Department.
At his confirmation hearing before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Mr. Steinberg said he looked forward to “building a unique and productive partnership that will strengthen the State Department’s ability to contribute to our national security and foreign policy goals in coming years.”
Mr. Steinberg is not alone in having ties to the lobbying industry among Obama political appointees.
Mr. Obama’s pick for the No. 2 job at the Pentagon, William J. Lynn, was a lobbyist for defense contractor Raytheon Co. last year. The Obama administration granted him a special waiver from strict new lobbying rules.
Attorney General-designate Eric H. Holder Jr. was registered to lobby for Global Crossing Ltd. while he was a lawyer at Covington & Burling LLP. He reported in a recent ethics filing that he received $3.3 million in salary and deferred compensation at the Washington-based law firm.