MEMO: Rob Portman’s Career As A Washington Lobbyist Looking Out For The Wealthy And Well-Connected


TO: Interested Parties

FR: Ohio Democratic Party Communications Department

RE: Rob Portman’s career as a Washington lobbyist looking out for the wealthy and well-connected at the expense of working families

Starting this week and throughout the month of August, the Ohio Democratic Party will begin highlighting a new element of Sen. Rob Portman’s record that demonstrates how he has consistently pushed the agenda of the rich and powerful at the expense of Ohio’s working families and the values that hardworking Ohioans believe in: his career as a D.C. lobbyist and lawyer for a series of nefarious clients and interest groups.

The ODP will focus specifically on three of Portman’s clients: the brutal Haitian dictator Jean-Claude “Baby-Doc” Duvalier; a Chinese-based company that operated in countries notorious as tax havens; and the Wall Street bank JP Morgan Chase whose practices contributed to the collapse of the housing market and the world-wide economic recession.

The campaign will spotlight how Portman’s association with these groups underscores the central case against him: Portman is the ultimate D.C. insider who has spent his decades-long career in Washington looking out for himself, the wealthy and the well-connected — no matter how out of step these interests are with Ohio’s values.

See for yourself:

Portman Was A Registered Foreign Agent For A Brutal Haitian Dictator.

Before entering Congress, while Portman was working at a D.C. lobbying firm, Buzzfeed reported that he was a registered foreign agent for the country of Haiti while it was controlled by the brutal despot Jean-Claude Duvalier, known as “Baby Doc.”

Under Duvalier, thousands of Haitians were killed and tortured, and Duvalier himself was notorious for selling body parts of dead Haitians, utilizing brutal torture techniques, and for being heavily involvement in the drug trade.

When Portman first ran for the U.S. Senate — ten years after he registered as a foreign agent for Duvalier’s Haiti — he denied that he worked for this client — however, the fact that he registered as a foreign agent on its behalf is not in question.

Portman’s decision to register on behalf of this client raises questions about Portman’s judgment and why he chose to associate himself with this dictator — questions that the Ohio Democrats will explore throughout the month.

Portman Registered And Worked for a Chinese-Based Company That Operated In Countries Notorious As Tax Havens.

At the same lobbying firm where Portman registered as a foreign agent on behalf of Duvalier’s Haiti, Portman also registered and did work as a foreign agent for a Chinese-based company with a web of offshore affiliations used as tax havens.

As the Washington Post wrote, “[Portman’s] two decades of Washington experience includes a stint at the D.C. lobbying powerhouse Patton Boggs, where he registered as a foreign agent and advocated for Duty Free Shoppers, a Hong Kong-based operator of airport and other duty-free stores. The company has had a web of offshore affiliations, records show, including incorporations in Bermuda and the Netherlands Antilles, often used as tax havens.”

Portman’s advocacy on behalf of this Chinese company is consistent with his decades-long record of supporting unfair trade deals, like Permanent Most Favored Nation trading status for China, that have cost Ohio over 300,000 jobs. Throughout the month, Ohio Democrats will discuss Portman’s association with this Chinese group and its shadowy tax practices.

Portman Worked For A Wall Street Bank That Contributed To The Housing Market Crash And Global Economic Recession.

After leaving his posts as Trade Czar and Budget Director under President Bush, Portman joined a lobbying firm where his personal financial disclosures reveal he worked on behalf of JP Morgan Chase — a Wall Street Bank whose practices contributed to the collapse of the U.S. housing market and the global recession.

In fact, after Portman advised this Wall Street bank, it was forced to pay a $13 billion settlement with the government for misrepresenting the risk of its subprime mortgages to investors, and the Bank paid $50 million to settle charges that it improperly “robo-signed” mortgage documents.

Starting today, the Ohio Democratic Party will focus on these issues and others concerning Portman’s life and career away from public office. They represent everything Ohioans can’t stand about the broken politics of Washington — and they exemplify how Portman has prioritized his own political and financial ambitions at the expense of Ohio’s working families.