Federal Agency Director Collects $750,000 for Lobbying

(p. A1) WASHINGTON — In this city with a grand tradition of government officials who pass through the revolving door into a world of big paychecks, Jeffrey Farrow stands apart.
While earning more than $100,000 a year as executive director of a tiny federal agency called the Commission for the Preservation of America’s Heritage Abroad, which has only one full-time federal employee, Mr. Farrow has simultaneously helped collect as much as $750,000 a year in lobbying fees. His clients have included the governments of Puerto Rico and the Republic of Palau, a tiny island nation in the western Pacific.
Mr. Farrow was at once a federal government bureaucrat and lobbyist. The revolving door did not even have to spin.
He managed this feat while running one of dozens of agencies that can get lost in the vast United States government — this one responsible for identifying and helping preserve cemeteries and historic buildings in Eastern and Central Europe that are important to American Jews and others, including Orthodox Christians from Kosovo.
. . .
(p. A16) “A bizarre tale,” said Senator Ron Johnson, Republican of Wisconsin and chairman of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, in a letter he sent last month to Lesley Weiss, the chairwoman of the 30-year-old commission, asking her to explain Mr. Farrow’s dual roles. “This lobbyist used federal personnel and resources to run a profitable personal business advancing the interest of foreign agents.”.
. . .
Mr. Johnson, the Wisconsin senator, in a statement released by his office Friday, said the commission, despite its worthwhile mission, was an example of what is wrong with government.
“This relatively tiny agency is a classic example of the dysfunction and waste that typify far too much of the federal government,” he said. “Established with the best of intentions to memorialize the horrors of 20th-century genocides, the Commission for the Preservation of America’s Heritage Abroad did little to accomplish that goal but was instead used to enrich a lobbyist.”

For the full story, see:
ERIC LIPTON. “The Lobbyist With a Six-Figure Government Job.”The New York Times (Fri., SEPT. 15, 2015): A1 & A16.
(Note: ellipses added.)
(Note: the online version of the story has the date SEPT. 14, 2015.)

Political Freedom Depends on Economic Freedom–Hayek Was Right

(p. A12) The Commercial Press bookstore does not carry the banned political books. Instead, the collected speeches of China’s president, Xi Jinping, are prominently displayed, as are at least four biographies of Lee Kuan Yew, the late Singaporean leader who was widely admired by Chinese officials.
It is the same pattern in 13 other Hong Kong stores owned by the parent company of Commercial Press, Sino United Publishing, the biggest bookseller and publisher in the city. Despite the interest from mainland tourists, books that paint Chinese politicians in a bad light are either not available or tucked out of sight on shelves far from heavily trafficked areas.
. . .
According to Hong Kong corporate records and one of the company’s top executives, Sino United is owned, through a series of holding companies, by the Chinese government.
The company’s dominant position in the city’s publishing and bookselling industry is a major breach in the wall between the communist mainland and Hong Kong, a former British colony whose civil liberties — including freedom of the press — were guaranteed by treaty for half a century after it returned to Chinese sovereignty in 1997. It also illustrates how the central government in Beijing wields influence here not through force, but through its financial clout.
That influence has become even more apparent in the nearly three years since Mr. Xi became the top leader in China.

For the full story, see:
MICHAEL FORSYTHE and CRYSTAL TSE. “Hong Kong Bookstores Display Beijing’s Clout.” The New York Times (Tues., OCT. 20, 2015): A12.
(Note: ellipsis added.)
(Note: the online version of the story has the date OCT. 19, 2015,)