Lobbyist Lanny Davis hired by Libyan commander for U.S. advocacy

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Lanny Davis, attorney for Michael Cohen, the former personal attorney of U.S. President Donald Trump, speaks to the media as Cohen, arrives to testify to the House Intelligence Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., February 28, 2019. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts - RC18E79B2210

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  • Veteran D.C. lawyer Davis teams with former congressman Bob Livingston on $960,000 contract
  • National elections in Libya scheduled for December
  • Advocacy set to include arranging meetings with "influential" policymakers
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(Reuters) - Veteran Washington, D.C., lobbyist Lanny Davis and a former Republican Louisiana U.S. congressman are teaming up to advocate in the United States for a Libyan military commander promoting free and fair elections in his home country, according to a new disclosure submitted to the Justice Department.

The Sept. 3 disclosure from Davis and Robert Livingston, the former lawmaker, said the $960,000 contract with Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar would last for six months. The Justice Department posted the contract under the federal Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA), which requires law firms, lobby offices and public relations professionals to disclose certain engagements with foreign clients.

Presidential and parliamentary elections in Libya are scheduled for December. U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in June that peace and stability in Libya would only come from elections. Haftar's Libyan National Army controls eastern Libya. Warring factions in the country have publicly accepted December's planned elections.

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Davis and Livingston said in DOJ filings they would plan for Haftar to visit Washington, D.C., and meet with "influential policymakers and opinion leaders in the executive branch, Congress, think tanks" and non-governmental organizations.

The advocacy is focused on securing "U.S. political, diplomatic, and economic support to the extent possible to enhance the future of a unified Libya under a democratic system of government."

Davis and Livingston did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Wednesday.

The contract with Haftar was signed by Lanny Davis & Associates and The Livingston Group, which Livingston, a former federal prosecutor, founded in 1999 after serving for two decades as a Republican in Congress. Davis, who's often appeared as a legal analyst on major television networks, was a special counsel to then-U.S. President Bill Clinton during his Democratic presidential administration.

The contract said Davis and Livingston will provide policy and legal services.

The engagement letter said they would prepare a background paper on the election process in Libya and "list reasons why the U.S. government should provide additional political, diplomatic and economic support to the extent possible to enhance the future of a unified Libya under a democratic system of government governed by the rule of law."

Davis separately is registered under FARA as a lawyer representing Dmytro Firtash, a Ukrainian businessman who faces corruption charges in Chicago federal court. Firtash, arrested in Austria in 2014 and later released, has denied wrongdoing and contested extradition.

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