National news outlet Politico broke the news Friday that Pac Rim Bridges LLC had filed a document with the US Department of Justice (DOJ) recognizing it intended to begin performing lobbying work for the Kingdom of Cambodia. The registrants’ address on the document is a Dahlberg Road address in Ferndale.
According to State of Washington Department of Revenue records, Pac Rim Bridges LLC principals are Washington State Senator Doug Ericksen (42nd District) and former state representative Jay Rodne (5th District).
According to the registration form, Pac Rim Bridges LLC will be working to promote legislation that is positive to Cambodia. This will include, according to the registration form,
Meeting with US Officials, electeds at both the federal and state levels, and administrative officials to promote improved relations between the USA and the Kingdom of Cambodia. Arranging for visits by Cambodian officials to the US and visits by US officials to Cambodia to promote cultural exchanges and improved relations. Arranging meetings with US business leaders and Cambodia officials to promote trade and investment.
The Foreign Agents Registration Act of 1938 requires anyone representing interests of foreign powers in a political or quasi-political capacity register with the DOJ in this way.
Pac Rim Bridges LLC’s consulting service agreement with Cambodia was attached to the registration form. It was dated March 25, 2019 and said Cambodia will pay the company $500,000 a year for their services.
Lobbyists representing foreign concerns are common in US politics and lobbying. A report by ProPublica in 2009 puts that in detailed perspective.
Lobbyists contacted congressional offices more than 10,700 times, including 2,280 meetings, nearly 2,600 phone conversations and more than 4,000 e-mails, with the balance of contacts in letters and faxes.
Registered foreign agents reported [making] $4.3 million in political contributions, including nearly $2 million to congressional campaigns.
The ProPublica story noted United Arab Emirates had spent the most on lobbying efforts of any country in 2008 at $10,914,002. Former Senate majority leader and 1996 Republican presidential nominee Bob Dole was identified as a lobbyist for Alston & Bird. The story credits Dole with contributing the most ($104,000) to political campaigns of any single registered foreign agent in 2008.
Ericksen currently represents Whatcom County’s 42nd District in the US Senate and Rodne, according to his LinkedIn profile, works as a privacy director for Sentinel, LLC.
Typically stories about state and federal political concerns are not covered by My Ferndale News unless they impact day-to-day life and work in Ferndale. But after receiving multiple requests for clarification and details about this story, it appeared to be of unique interest to local readers.