Lacy Clay Lobbying for Companies with Interests in North Korea

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  • After winning ten consecutive terms in Congress, Lacy Clay lobbies on behalf of a South Korean business group whose member companies operate in North Korea.

Lacy Clay, who represented St. Louis in Congress for 20 years, will lobby on behalf of a South Korean business group whose members have operations in North Korea.

As Politico first reported this week, Clay joined the Washington DC office of lobbying and law firm Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman in May. Clay will work on behalf of the Kaesong Industrial Complex Enterprise Association. But as detailed in the report, the association is a group of South Korean companies that operate businesses in the Kaesong Industrial Complex, which is just across the border from North Korea.

The Kaesong Industrial Complex began in 2004 as a “special economic zone” where South Korean companies could access North Korean workers, who earned foreign currency.

According to the report, “the complex has provided more than 100 South Korean companies with cheap labor while allowing North Korea to earn foreign money, with the aim of promoting economic cooperation between the two countries”. At one point, 54,000 North Koreans worked at KIC.

The industrial complex closed in 2016 amid heightened tensions between the two countries. Last year, the lobbying firm Clay joined signed a $675,000 contract to defend the interests of the group of South Korean companies that operated in the KIC.

Clay’s job meant he had to register as a foreign agent with the Department of Justice.

Members of Congress are barred from registering as foreign agents for one year after leaving office. Clay’s one-year ban expired a day before his work for the South Korean business group was announced.

Former Texas Congressman Greg Laughlin has also joined Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman and, along with Clay, will lobby on behalf of the Kaesong Industrial Complex Business Association.

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