Thursday, August 14, 2008

Clay Constantinou of Patton Boggs-- CAARI's Chief Lobbyist?

As set forth in a recent post, Clay Constantinou, a former ambassador, represented the Cyprus American Archaeological Research Institute (CAARI) at the July 19, 2007 Cyprus MOU signing ceremony during two days of lobbying for Cyprus on Capitol Hill and in the State Department itself. See:

It turns out that Constantinou is not only a CAARI trustee, but is also associated with one of the nation's premier lobbying firms, Patton Boggs. See and

Interestingly, only a few weeks after the MOU signing ceremony the National Journal on 8/4/07 reported that the Republic of Cyprus had "dangled" a lobbying contract worth $1.4 million a year to lobbying heavyweights like Patton Boggs, Qorvis Communications, Clark and Weinstock, and the Washington Group. The report noted that "Cyprus, which was invaded by Turkey in 1974 and has poor relations with its neighbor since then, is hoping to strengthen its influence in Washington, partly to counter Turkey's long-standing clout in the capital."

A review of lobbying registration databases provides no indication that either CAARI or Contantinou have registered as lobbyists. However, the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA) database indicates that Patton Boggs registered for Cyprus on 9/25/07: See

As detailed in the FARA filing, Patton Boggs undertakes to provide "advice and counsel to the Government of the Republic of Cyprus regarding relations with the US Government and the Excutive Branch."

Patton Boggs retains Qoris Communications LLC and SMS Strategies LLC to assist in the lobbying venture.

Former Ambassador Constantinou is not listed as a “core member" of the group lobbying on behalf of Cyprus (though "heavy hitters" like the Hon. John Breaux and Tommy Boggs are), but I suppose Constantinou could still have some involvement on the account and that would certainly make sense given the connections with Cyprus mentioned in his Patton Boggs biography.

Here is the kicker. The Republic of Cyprus agrees to pay Patton Boggs $103,625 as a fixed monthly retainer for the period from 9/1/07 to 8/31/08. Travelling expenses are additional.

The foreign signatory for the agreement and the party to whom Patton Boggs reports is named as Ambassador Kakouris of Cyprus (also prominent during the Cyprus MOU signing ceremony as well as the CPAC hearing on Cyprus).

All this of course just raises additional questions. In particular, assuming Ambassador Constantinou was affilated with Patton Boggs at the time (something I could not confirm, but seems likely) did he and/or his partners at Patton Boggs work their magic in getting coins included in the MOU not only for the greater glory of CAARI, but also as a "freebie" to help impress Cyprus about Patton Boggs' lobbying acumen? Or, is this just all another coincidence?

One thing is for sure. High powered lobbying all to beat up on the small businesses of the numismatic trade and collectors who just want to help preserve, study and display coins of Cypriot type (like their fellow collectors in Cyprus itself) does little to advance Cyprus' greater interests in ensuring a just reunification of the Island. If anything, it just "turns off" a segment of the US population with a real interest in Cyprus and its glorious past to anything at all to do with the modern nation state and its government.

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