Cassidy & Associates has amended its lobbying disclosure filings in the wake of a story in The National Law Journal, saying the firm’s original filings mischaracterized some of a former lobbyist's meetings in the 10 days before she left to take a job with the State Department.
The story reported that Robin Raphel visited the State Department at least seven times for meetings on behalf of Pakistan while working for Cassidy, according to lobbying disclosure reports the firm filed with the Justice Department. One of those meetings was reported as taking place on July 31, the date Cassidy reported was her last day at the firm and the same day the State Department said she was sworn in as coordinator for economic and development assistance in Pakistan.
The State Department, in the article, disputed the accuracy of Cassidy’s FARA filings. Tom Alexander, Cassidy’s director of corporate communications, said at the time that “We take all of our legally required filings very seriously and go to great lengths to ensure we report completely accurate information. This filing is no different and reflects the expenses and information Ambassador Raphel submitted at that time.”
But last month, after the story was published, Cassidy filed an amended report with the Justice Department saying that expenses tied to five of Raphel's State Department trips, beginning on July 22, were in fact not on behalf of Pakistan, and were incorrectly characterized by the firm. The July 31 meeting was one of the ones that the firm said had been incorrectly characterized.
The amendment does not address Raphel's expenses on 18 other occasions in June and July where, the reports say, she attended meetings at various places on Pakistan's behalf. Those meetings include three other trips to the State Department.
Asked why Cassidy amended its filings, Alexander said in an e-mail that "the filings in this matter reflect the expenses and information Ambassador Raphel has submitted to Cassidy & Associates" – the same thing the firm said about the first report.
Alexander declined to comment further about what caused the firm to amend its filings. The State Department said questions about the filings should be directed to Cassidy.