In what we strongly expect is going to turn out to be at the very least a currency conversion error, Philippine news sources are reporting that the Philippine government has signed a six-month, $50-million-dollar FARA lobbying contract with Covington & Burling.
That's right — $50 million dollars.
The contract, which is being heavily criticized in the Philippines' leading English language daily by a leading Philippine senator, would be to “promote the interests of the Republic of the Philippines with the U.S. Congress and the U.S. Government on a range of political, economic, and security issues.”
Its reported gargantuan size has caused some heavy speculation on the part of the Philippine senator mentioned above, Mar Roxas II, who suggested that its magnitude might indicate it's intended to “soften resistance to some strain of martial law.”
“If they can’t defend this in Plaza Miranda or any market in the country, then they should junk it altogether,” Roxas said in a statement.
Covington & Burling declined to discuss any potential contract, and the Philippine embassy in D.C. couldn’t be reached for comment.
No matter what the size of the contract, it would be a significant coup (though of a different sort that Roxas' implies above) for a firm whose only current FARA client is the Republic of Cyprus.
We’ll try to update this once the news gets a little more solid. Until then, Covington & Burling staff should try not to get too excited about what all of this is going to mean for their Christmas bonus.
UPDATE: Turns out there were two extra zeros on that lobbying contract. According to to an update in a later story in the Daily Inquirer, the contract isn't yet signed, and is worth only $500,000 for six months. Still, the President of the Philippines' legal counsel says the nation needs Covington's lobbying help -- to combat "leftists" and "protestant bishops" that are battling the nation's interests in Congress.
Covington and Burling appears to have just signed itself a very lively client.