Former US senator Bob Dole was lobbying for Taiwan during a six-month period that ended in April, recently released documents show.
He contacted at least eight Washington officials on Taipei’s behalf and the law and lobbying firm he represents — Alston & Bird — was paid a total of US$120,000.
Lobbying documents made public this week by the non-profit Sunlight Foundation show that Taipei was particularly interested in developing relations with the US presidential campaign of Republican Mitt Romney.
Dole, the 1996 Republican presidential nominee, wrote separate letters to Romney advisers Dov Zakheim, Mitchell Reiss, Eric Edelman, Alex Wong and Kerry Healey.
The letters were aimed primarily at persuading the advisers to meet with Representative to the US Jason Yuan (袁健生).
In addition, the 88-year-old Dole wrote to Hogan Gidley, an adviser to former US senator Rick Santorum, and CIA Director David Petraeus requesting that they meet with Yuan.
During the same period, Dole also contacted US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton asking her to negotiate a new diplomatic immunity agreement with Taipei and White House official Valerie Jarrett to request presidential support for the Dragon Boat Festival.
The letter to Gidley was a curious development because it was written two weeks after Santorum had dropped out of the Republican presidential nominee race.
He was the second Taiwan lobbyist in Washington to make the news recently.
Last month, US Representative Bill Owens ordered his staff to undergo special ethics training in the aftermath of a controversial trip to Taiwan that he and his wife took late last year.
Owens paid back the US$22,000 cost of the trip to the Taipei-based Chinese Culture University, which was supposed to organize the trip “to promote international cultural exchange.”
It has been alleged in the US that the trip was actually organized by Park Strategies, a lobbying company employed by the Taiwanese government.
Park Strategies was paid US$250,000 for lobbying services by the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office in Washington last year.