Lobbying : A Morocco Caucus member and his brother involved in a conflict of interest

Hired by the Moroccan American Center for Policy as a lobbyist for Rabat, Lincoln Diaz-Balart’s activities have been linked to those of his brother. The latter is a congressman who is member of the Congressional Morocco Caucus.

Lincoln Diaz-Balart and his brother Mario./Ph. DR
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American Congressman Mario Diaz-Balart and his brother Lincoln, who used to lobby for Morocco in the United States, are involved in an alleged conflict of interest, revealed an investigation published Monday by CBS Miami.

Revelations suggest that through his company «Western Hemisphere Strategies», Lincoln Diaz-Balart who retired from Congress in 2011, «was paid approximately $1.2 million to lobby on behalf of the Kingdom of Morocco and its ruler» from July 2012 to July 2017.

Meanwhile, his brother Mario is a member of the Congressional Morocco Caucus who has even «advocated on behalf of Morocco in Congress and in a press release from 2011 even touted his ability to secure increased funding for the kingdom in Congress», revealed CBS.

«What are the odds that he is going to co-chair the causus- the Moroccan Causus and the Taiwan Caucus- the two countries, the only two countries that his brother is representing as a lobbyist», pointed out Sheila Krumholz, the executive director for the Center for Responsive Politics.

The expert questioned the suspicious link between Lincoln’s clients and his brother’s work at the Congress.

Hired by Morocco's MACP

According to the same source, Lincoln Diaz-Balart was hired by Morocco through a contract signed in January 2013, quoting records filed with the American Justice Department. The company, run by the former congressman, «was paid $20,000 a month» by the Moroccan American Center for Policy (MACP).

In the contract signed with the Moroccan agency, Lincoln Diaz-Balart promised to «provide services designed to positively affect relations between Morocco and the United States», revealed the CBS.

In their contract, the two parties agreed that the «Western Hemisphere Strategies» «will not engage in advocacy before the US representative Mario Diaz-Balart or his staff».

Lincoln Diaz-Balart’s lobbying firm stopped representing Morocco in November 2017, he notified the Justice Department. However, his last paycheck from Morocco’s MACP was transferred on June 2017, indicates the same source.

Linked to his brothers activities

Speaking to MACP’s head, Edward Gabriel, CBS was informed that Morocco chose to hire Lincoln because he is «very steeped in international affairs».

Gabriel, who was US Ambassador to Morocco from 1997 to 2001, denied having hired Lincoln Diaz because of his brother’s political activities.

«No. My reason for hiring Lincoln was his understanding of the region. He has had a long history and knowledge of North Africa and the Southern Mediterranean», Gabriel told CBS, adding that «the only reason Diaz-Balart’s lobbying agreement ended in November 2017» is that he «decided to cut MACP’s financial relationship with Morocco as a client».

For the record, none of the Congressmen operating for the Morocco Caucus have «any known family members working on behalf» of the Kingdom, concluded the investigation.

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