WASHINGTON -- Former Sen. George Lemieux (R-Fla.) hosted a fundraiser this spring for a terrorism expert seeking a $10 million contract with Col. Muammar Gaddafi's government during the final months of the dictator's bloody dictatorship of Libya.
The consultant, Dr. Neil Livingstone, a Republican gubernatorial candidate in Montana, spent 30 years in Washington's lobbying and intelligence industries. After being appointed to the Senate in 2009, Lemieux announced on April 5 that he would run against Sen. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.) in 2012. The announcement was made on the same day that he hosted the fundraiser for Livingtone.
At the time of the K Street fundraiser, Livingstone was actively pursuing a contract with Gaddafi's government to help defeat what one of his partners referred to as "the international media and political/military campaign against Libya." That campaign, led by Libyan rebels with the support of NATO, resulted in the end of the dictator's 42-year reign -- and in October of this year, his death at the hands of rebel forces.
On the day of Lemieux's fundraiser for Livingstone, a letter was sent to the Treasury Department on behalf of the contractor and his securty firm, Executive Action LLC, requesting special permission to accept $10 million from Gaddafi's son, Seif Al-Islam Gaddafi, for a one-year contract.
In addition to Lemieux, the fundraiser was hosted by former CIA director Jim Woolsey, former House Appropriations chairman-turned lobbyist Bob Livingston, CBS Vice Chairman Shari Redstone (daughter of Viacom Chairman Sumner Redstone), Ogilvy Government Relations Chairman Wayne Berman, and former AOL executive Jim Kimsey, among others.
A phone call and an email to Lemieux's campaign about his support for Livingstone were not returned Friday. In his latest financial disclosure form, Livingstone reported having $391.51 left in his campaign account for the Republican gubernatorial primary, having spent more than $50,000 since April.
The connection between Livingstone and the Gaddafi regime was first revealed by The New York Times on Friday, following the release of regime documents collected after the strongman was overthrown. A Facebook page called Wikileaks Libya contains images of the papers. They include a March 21 memo Livingtsone wrote to an unidentified Libyan government official, informing the figure that he and a team of consultants are "ready to leave at the earliest possible date," to "meet for one or two days to establish a plan for assisting the client in resolving the present conflict in a satisfactory way."
The team Livingstone refers to was made up of himself, former CIA agent Marty Martin, former Republican National Committee official and American Israel Public Affairs Committee's former executive Neil Alpert, and Kansas City, Mo. lawyer Randall Wood, who has done work for Libyan entities in the past. Another partner, Belgian businessman Dirk Borgers, appears to have been working as a liaison on the ground in Tripoli.
The services Livingstone and his team could provide were laid out by Borgers in a letter addressed to Gaddafi. They included lobbying the U.S. government on behalf of the regime, and helping the Libyan government to comply with U.S. laws and U.N. resolutions. "Our group of Libyan sympathizers is extremely worried about [rebel access to frozen Libyan assets]," Borger wrote, "and we would like to help to block the actions of your international enemies and to support a normal working relationship with the United States Government."
Livingstone has denied having any knowledge of Borger's letter, and he told The New York Times that it misrepresented his intentions, which were to broker a deal that would have peacefully removed Gaddafi from power with minimal bloodshed. Borgers said he wasn't sure if he showed Livingstone the letter, but called Livingstone's professed ignorance of it "semantics." He also said Gaddafi's government rejected the group's offer of assistance.
Libya under Gaddafi was recognized as a state sponsor of terrorism through much of the dictator's regime, but it's not the only terrorist entity Livingstone has tried to work for. Since at least 2005, he has produced materials and conferences in support of the Mujahideen-e Khalq, an Iranian exile group that is designated as a Foreign Terrorist Organization by the State Department.