November 8th, 2013

EXCLUSIVE: Former minister’s role as top lobbyist in US clashes with position at “independent” foundation

fellegi-topper

Tamás Fellegi, Hungary’s former minister of national development and IMF negotiator, has become the chief lobbyist in the United States for the administration of Prime Minister Viktor Orbán despite simultaneously heading a US foundation which claims its leadership is independent of the Hungarian government, Politics.hu has learned.

According to this document filed with the US Justice Department, EuroAtlantic Solutions, a firm that Fellegi heads, last month became lead partner in a consortium with DC public relations firm Prime Policy Group to lobby on behalf of the office of Prime Minister Viktor Orbán.

The filing says that the Hungarian government is paying the consortium to build and develop contacts in “Congress, the Executive Branch, think tanks, investment community, the Jewish community, and the Hungarian-American community.” The consortium will also aim to “inform US opinion leaders of events and policies related to Hungary.”

At the same time, Fellegi serves as president and CEO of the Hungary Initiatives Foundation (HIF), a US non-profit recently set up with millions of dollars of funding from the Hungarian government.

On its website, the HIF claims that it “does not participate in any ways in political activities” and that the members of its board of trustees are “are personally and financially independent of the Hungarian Government.”

In addition to his role as president and CEO of the HIF, Fellegi is a member of its board of trustees, which is chaired by former US ambassador to Hungary April H. Foley and includes a “bi-partisan” mix of luminaries, including former Republican New York State Governor George Pataki and Katrina Lantos Swett, the daughter of the late Tom Lantos, a prominent Democratic Congressman.

fellegi1

While EuroAtlantic Solutions has only now registered as the official lobby arm of the Hungarian government, Fellegi has been actively promoting the current Hungarian government in Washington for some time. According to this document uploaded to the official government portal kormany.hu, in November 2012 the Hungarian government sent Fellegi to Washington to observe the US Presidential elections and represent Hungarian interests. This past February, Fellegi was invited to testify personally before a Congressional subcommittee regarding anti-Semitism in Hungary; he made news in the US press when Representative Chris Smith of New Jersey decided to issue a statement defending the Fidesz government in March, and one of the Representative’s senior staffers immediately forwarded the statement to Fellegi himself by email.

When he left government service, Fellegi was originally designated as the head of Friends of Hungary, a non-profit organization whose aim would have been to promote Hungary’s image abroad. Although the Fidesz government allocated nearly $20 million for the foundation of Friends of Hungary, the organization never materialized. Instead, the government created the HIF. (In response to a question from a Socialist member of parliament in July, Deputy Prime Minister Zsolt Semjén wrote that the Hungarian government will be providing the HIF with initial financing of $15 million.)

Government records also show that Fellegi was personally paid at least 18.6 million forints (about $85,000) since the beginning of 2013 for setting up the Foundation. Public data filed regarding his H1B Visa application suggest that his annual salary at the new organization is $155,085.

fellegi2

The lobbying registration documents list Fellegi and another EuroAtlantic partner, Gábor Róna, as the legal representatives of the consortium. According to the EuroAtlantic website, Róna is a political scientist and longtime corporate communications specialist who was once secretary of the Council of Europe’s program against racism, anti-Semitism and xenophobia. Another of the firm’s four partners is Péter Heltai, a Hungarian born in Romania who in 2011 was reported to be a one-time informer for the Securitate, Romania’s communist-era security services.

Prime Policy Group bills itself as “Washington’s premier global public policy and government affairs firm.” Its president and CEO, who is listed as the authorized representative on the official filing, is R. Scott Pastrick. While Pastrick is closely affiliated with the US Democratic party, the company’s chairman, Charles R. “Charlie” Black, is one of the Republican party’s best-known political strategists, having served as an advisor to and spokesman for the last three Republican presidents.

Foreign governments wishing to fund organizations in the US must generally register these bodies as “foreign agents” under the Foreign Agents Registration Act of 1938 (FARA). Once registered, firms providing lobbying services to foreign governments must submit regular reports regarding political meetings and other activities conducted on behalf of the foreign entity. Recently, some governments have discovered a loophole in the law and now set up domestic foundations in the US which require less disclosure.

Fellegi’s lobbying activities through EuroAtlantic Solutions and partner firm Prime Policy Group are now registered under FARA. The Hungary Initiatives Foundation, however, despite its foreign government funding and Fellegi’s dual role, apparently continues to seek approval as a tax-exempt non-profit and thus is not subject to the same oversight as organizations formally representing the Hungarian government in the US.

Neither Fellegi nor Foley responded to emails sent early Tuesday requesting comment for this story.

Lili E. Bayer (@liliebayer) is a contributing editor at politics.hu
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  • Guru

    So what’s the big deal? Both Gyucsany and Bajnai built massive lobbies in the Clinton/Soros group. Orban just, after three years of everyone urging him to, finally learned the rules of the game.

    • Julius Geonczeol

      I thin you wrong mr. Guru. Orban criminal!

      • Julius Geonczeol

        I didn’t write this comment, DO NOT USE MY NAME any more!!!

        • Julius Geonczeol

          Im you and youre me.

      • Julius Geonczeol

        you are a criminal for using my name.

    • MagyarViking

      So what you are saying is that Whorban is not better than “Both Gyucsany and Bajnai”?

      • Guru

        No, I’m saying that he finally learned how to play the game. Gyurcsany and Bajnai simply understood that more quickly.

        • MagyarViking

          So, then Whorban is a slow learner, even if Whorban has been drilled in the school of Soros, but now Whorban finally caught up and does the same thing as everybody else…

          • Guru

            Policy-wise no, approach-wise yes. This isn’t a secret.

          • MagyarViking

            So Whorban is lining his pockets (approach-wise) in the same way as Gyurcsány and Bajnai, but has other policies
            And you are happy with that, which isn’t a secret

          • Guru

            No, you’re using words out of context yet again. He’s just finally understanding that to get anywhere with the US, he has to make a massive lobbying effort. In that field the socialists were already quite a few steps ahead thanks to the Clinton/Soros group. It’s that simple; it’s not about lining his pockets, it’s about being able to withstand the barrage of crap coming from that region due to the socialists’ contacts. And don’t you dare deny the fact that the socialists were already much, much better received by the Democrats in the US.

          • Nem Jo

            You are off-target again and sounding pedantic.

          • Guru

            Haha, you vote yourself up yet again. It’s like your the underbelly of this forum.

          • Nem Jo

            “Your?” Now you are even abandoning grammar.

            Guru: “Haha, you vote yourself up yet again. It’s like your the underbelly of this forum.”

        • Nem Jo

          Guri, Guri, you sound so naive. Of course they are all corrupt. Left and right. The problem is that Orban is encouraging racism and selling his country to his oligarchs.

          • Guru

            As compared to Gyurcsany and Bajnai, who sold off most of the country by “privatization”?

          • Nem Jo

            Hmm, Felcsut, Kozgep, soccer stadiums.
            & cavorting with Jobbik and soft/hard-promoting racism and antisemitism for votes.
            MSZP and other leftist parties certainly have their own problems, including corruption, but the above is all Fidesz/Jobbik.

            Article from AFP: http://news.yahoo.com/hungary-jews-struggle-rising-anti-semitism-144414731.html

          • Guru

            Oh my goodness, another article of ‘rising anti-semitism’. What a surprise! Nobody would be anti-Semitic in Hungary if the media wouldn’t fan the flames. If Fidesz is “soft/hard-promoting racism and antisemitism for votes”, then MSZP is doing the same based on corruption and backstabbing.

          • Nem Jo

            MSZP is certainly guilty of those acts but it’s Fidesz’s turn.
            Antisemitism: The article is actually correct. “Jews this or that,” that’s all you hear when hanging out with Hungarians.
            This is not to say that the French, Russian or Poles are immune but this is a “Hungarian” forum after all. Isn’t it Guri?

          • Guru

            “Jews this or that,” that’s all you hear when hanging out with Hungarians.

            Maybe because that’s all they’re fed by the media? Maybe because Hungarians, who would otherwise never be anti-Semitic, are being told that they’re anti-Semites even though they’re not doing a goddamn thing? After a while, of course people become fed up! You clearly don’t know how the human way of understanding works.

          • Nem Jo

            Are you for real? “Jews this and that” stands for antisemitic banter you likely partake in yourself.
            What media? Orban’s? You are really a jester!
            “Doing a goddamn thing.” You mean they are not antisemites unless or until they start up the cambers? You are starting to sound like HH63.

            Come one. And finally your comedic turn: “You clearly don’t know how the human way of understanding works.” 😀 😀

            At least you are trying to sound funny.

            Let me guess what’s next. A line about how you “destroyed” me?

          • Guru

            Yes, exactly. Look at this line:

            “Jews this and that” stands for antisemitic banter you likely partake in yourself.

            You don’t know a damn thing about me, so what do you resort to? Things I likely do. Face it; you have no ammunition whatsoever. What a sad, sad character.

          • Nem Jo

            Don’t act like a sensitive humanist. You will never be one. You lack the education and the disposition.

            Don’t you remember? You called me a Jew and faggot. And then you tried to make joke of it in a typical Hungarian way. Short memory?

            Go back to your Jobbik meetings with your brown shirt and tail between your legs. You embarrass everything Hungary stands for.

          • Guru

            Pfff hahahahahahahahahha

            “Don’t act like a sensitive humanist. You will never be one. You lack the education and the disposition.”

            Once again, more speculation that just lowers your, what some would argue already bottomed out, credibility.

            “You called me a Jew and faggot.”

            I never called you a Jew. Find that part for me, will ya? And I did call you a faggot, because it’s not meant for gays whom I have no problem with.

            Pathetic, pathetic, pathetic….

          • Nem Jo

            It’s not a speculation. It’s a fact.
            Here is your quote with the Jewish slur. I know you are going to change it so you can look “good” you vile racist. You are too predictable. A Jobbik boy with his tail between his leg:
            http://www.politics.hu/20131105/ronald-s-lauder-on-unveiling-of-bust-of-horthy/#comment-1111526840

          • Guru

            Liar! I used “communist” which is 100% not the same, you lieing pos!

          • Nem Jo

            I knew you’d change and deny it that’s why I copied it. You are way too predictable Jobbik boy.
            At least you are denying it. That’s progress when it gets to antisemitic homophobes. Live up to it like Leto does.

          • Guru

            Wow, no. Just no. Your lies are bad. You should feel bad.

          • Nem Jo

            Good try Jobbik boy. Your reply is copied above. You have no credibility left after making an anti-gay and antisemitic statement. A double whammy!

          • Guru

            1. You really, really want to force anti-Semitism down my throat, but sorry it won’t happen. Maybe that’s how they do things in this communist fantasy of your’s, but that’s not how it works in reality. Come on, you’re a big boy now!

            2. I’m also not anti-gay, but you don’t care since you’re the pathetic type of communist, the one that immediately calls the guy who accidentally bumps into him on a packed tram a “neo-Nazi”. It must truly be a sad life, being you. Knowing you are nothing more than a parasite who will hopefully meet the end of his days in Saw-like fashion.

          • Nem Jo

            Hmm, let me review this. You are fighting the antisemitic label but call another poster a “Jewish faggot.”
            And, explain again, how can you not be anti-gay using the word “faggot?” Are you really that confused?

            Here is an article for you. You can see what you are promoting: http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/nov/08/antisemitism-rise-european-survey

            One more thing: I could care less for communism. It’s a failed ideology.
            You are mighty confused. Seek help Jobbik boy.
            ~~~
            I’m copying your reply below because you, same as Leto, like to “edit” your replies as you see fit.

            Guri: “1. You really, really want to force anti-Semitism down my throat, but sorry it won’t happen. Maybe that’s how they do things in this communist fantasy of your’s, but that’s not how it works in reality. Come on, you’re a big boy now!

            2. I’m also not anti-gay, but you don’t care since you’re the pathetic type of communist, the one that immediately calls the guy who accidentally bumps into him on a packed tram a “neo-Nazi”. It must truly be a sad life, being you. Knowing you are nothing more than a parasite who will hopefully meet the end of his days in Saw-like fashion.

          • Guru

            YOU SCUMBAG, I CALLED YOU A COMMUNIST FAGGOT, NOT A JEWISH FAGGOT. GET THAT THROUGH THE OBVIOUSLY EMPTY PART OF YOUR HEAD WHERE YOUR BRAIN SHOULD BE.

            You’re really not worth the time anymore. No hope for people like you.

          • Nem Jo

            Your pants must be on fire Jobbik boy. Scroll up, I copied your entry for everyone to see. Short memory?
            And I’m not Jewish, gay or communist. You keep insisting like Leto. What’s wrong with you two. What are you hiding?

            I’m done with you. The sad thing is that you keep embarrassing your country.

          • Guru

            “Scroll up, I copied your entry for everyone to see. Short memory?”

            Where did I call you a Jewish faggot? Screenshot or you’re BS like usual

          • Nem Jo

            Here it is for the last time. You should be embarrassed of yourself.

            “Guru • 2 days ago Wow, you are incapable of recognizing even the slightest sarcasm. Also, if I’d vote you up it would say my name. And since we’re so far down the thread, nobody else is reading this. What does that mean? You’re voting yourself up you Jewish faggot.”

          • Guru

            You can’t just copy sentences and change one of the words. Clearly you don’t have any post-secondary education.

            “Nem Jo • 2 days ago I fucking hate all people who don’t think exactly like me. Like, why can’t the world be made of such gods as I who vote their own shit up? Fucking assholes, thinking differently ‘n shit….”

          • Nem Jo

            Guru, you are too transparent with your lies. I can’t change my entries but you can edit yours and mine any way you want it. Take a “postsecondary” course on diversity. Something you apparently missed. Capisce?

            Here is the link you posted and changed:
            http://www.politics.hu/20131105/ronald-s-lauder-on-unveiling-of-bust-of-horthy/#comment-1111526840

          • Guru

            What is so hard to get in the fact that the link shows me calling you a communist faggot, as I did? Goodbye

          • Anonymous

            It also has a tag showing it was amended.

          • Nem Jo

            Here is your quote before you delete or edit it:

            Guru • 2 days ago
            Wow, you are incapable of recognizing even the slightest sarcasm. Also, if I’d vote you up it would say my name. And since we’re so far down the thread, nobody else is reading this. What does that mean? You’re voting yourself up you Jewish faggot.

  • MagyarViking

    “the Fidesz government allocated nearly $20 million for the foundation of Friends of Hungary, the organization never materialized”

    Yes, everything is soo expensive in the States…or they could never find anyone who wanted to be a Fiend of Hungry?
    They even checked all Men’s Rooms in Washington, but no one could be found, just a bunch of assholes?

    • Bowen

      What a shame that the “Friends of Hungary” Facebook site got removed. It was a good laugh, even if it was shameless propaganda.
      https://www.facebook.com/we.friendsofhungary

      Well, let this be a warning to Ferenc Kumin and Leto and all the others. Your job is only safe as long as the money doesn’t run out!

  • Bulcsu

    This article sounds more like a deliberately dragged out piece of propaganda than a worthy piece of news…So what if he serves on an independent foundations board? Do we really need to drag this minor technicality out of the corner and flash it out in front of everybody? Doesnt Orban has the fair right to lobby for his government like every other EU government? And as MagyarViking rightly pointed out Gyucsarny had a much larger lobbying machinery thanks to Soros’s help and I am sure he took to one too many illegal methods to lobby in the US during his tenure… This piece doesnt sounds like a piece of neutral news but a deliberate and irrational attempt to taint Fellegi who is a respected patriot committed to improving Hungary’s political image abroad… Its not a secret that the Hungarian jewish network in US and Canada is staunchly anti-Fidesz and pumping money into generating and manufacturing propaganda against Orban and the government.. Well, little do they realize that their thoughtless antics are only destabilizing the country, leading to irrational political chaos at home, tarnishing Hungary’s image abroad, discouraging Investments and leading to greater economic woes !

    • imri

      “Do we really need to drag this minor technicality [sic] out of the corner and flash it out in front of everybody?”

      This is your attitude toward a media organization doing its job, exposing and holding government officials accountable for rampant conflicts-of interest, corruption and lies? Then shame on you. I hope you don’t (ever) hold a public office.

      “Its not a secret that the Hungarian jewish network in US and Canada is staunchly anti-Fidesz and pumping money into generating and manufacturing propaganda against Orban and the government”

      I agree, it’s not a secret. To be a secret, it would first have to be true.
      If I had a forint for every Jewish/leftist/multinational conspiracy theory put about by Fidesz supporters, I’d be rich enough to buy a prime tobacco shop licence.

      • Bulcsu

        imri : Shame on me?! oh well, atleast I dont go about tainting people without a good enough reason ! And please dont claim about a honest media organization doing its job ! In a situation where news about Hungary is particularly non-existent abroad, you and your agencies seek to unfairly vindicate the government (or any official whom you personally dont like). What is the foreign reader supposed to make out of such partial news ?!

        And I dont care if you couldnt rake enough money to buy a tobacco shop licence, the money flows in front of everyone and the result is very tangible and apparent before everyones eyes.

        See, stop making it a petty spat. Understand the major issue as seen from the eyes of a domestic resident. The Hungarian diaspora, and when I mentioned the North American Hungarian Jewish community I did it for a reason, have unfairly and quite amazingly built up a media campaign which is harming the Hungarian economy at the end of the day. Everybody at home knows Orban’s useless, corrupt and undeserving. The polls will teach him a lesson. Your (the Diasporas) attempt at vilifying the government has ended up creating a very poor image of our country itself. Do u really think that such external pressure would ever force him to quit before his time ?! As I said earlier, such attempts are only destabilizing the political atmosphere of the country in a negative way and discouraging Investments.

    • Julius Geonczeol

      you ar racialist sir! You wnat to kill Jews dont you?

      • Bulcsu

        @d7e8a1beeb151033edfb694209d7789f:disqus FYI, I am a Hungarian Jew so Dont even DARE to use the old school technique and brand me a ‘racist’ (I guess thats what u meant). Just because one is criticizing a collective move by the Hungarian Jewish diaspora, you ignorant people would jump for his blood and label him racist !

        • Julius Geonczeol

          Many jews are racilsits sir! Thats a problem today – youre problem too.

          • Julius Geonczeol

            someone is using my name here.

          • Gunther Bartholomew Sanchez

            You should choose a better name. LOL!

          • Paul

            ” someone is using my name here”.

            Yep…it is a Fidesz thingy…no integrity in their system at all.

          • Guru

            WHAT?!!! it’s literally 99% leftist scum like you who troll the right-wingers on the website. Get out o’ here, with your ‘nem jo’-type droids!

          • Nem Jo

            “nem jo?” I’m not Paul’s droid but have great respect for him. A much lower amount of respect (0%) for you. Paul is helping Hungary, you are dragging it down to the gutter.
            Also, h seems to be one of the few posters not using gutter language.

          • Guru

            Oh nooooo, you have no respect for me? But all I ever wanted to achieve in my life was to gain your respect ;( haha please….

          • Nem Jo

            I told you I was standing by for right-winger, homophobe and racist comic acts. You didn’t disappoint me Guri.

          • Nem Jo

            Leto disappeared and Guru has become more prolific.
            I suspect that on a good day he posts as Guru (I know it sounds like a compliment but hey, it’s Hungary) on a neurotic day he is Leto and when he really hates that WWII ended on a sour note he is HH63.

            “Guru:” Am I onto something Guru/Leto/HH63?

          • wolfi

            leto is very busy on its new blog:
            http://politicsinhungary.wordpress.com/
            There you can read real gems like:

            Hungary’s “relatively mild” anti-Jewish Laws …

            His Serene Highness Miklós Horthy, Regent of Hungary

            Demonizing Governor Horthy is a “left liberal” agenda. The
            counter-demonstration was organized by them, for example ex-Socialist prime minister Bajnai’s Együtt-PM party activists were also among of the small , noisy group of counter-demonstrators.
            This a perfect example of the loonie Hungarian right – enjoy!

          • Nem Jo

            I wouldn’t click on it. You might end up with a computer virus (or with an antisemitic/homophobic mindset).

          • wolfi

            I’m not afraid – I’ve already provoked the creature to comment again on Hungarian Spectrum (lovingly called Red Eva’s blog by the Nazis here – because she had to flee Hungary in 1956).
            You’d probably feel more at home there just as I do – and people are way more civilized there …

          • Nem Jo

            I think you are right. It’s time for me to leave this thing. It just make me pessimistic about Hungary.

          • justanobservation

            That is freakin hilarious!!!!! Writes his own blog, and makes comments to himself, perfect! Hopefully it keeps him busy enough that he doesn’t come back here, poisonous creature. He is so self important he figured he should have his own blog, and he is its only frequenter of that blog, hahahahahaha! Maybe he could take Guru, HH63, Szebjovott, and the trolls, so he has someone to fight with.

        • Julius Geonczeol

          You are may be Jewish, But I am not, so don’t write in my name comments you criminal

          • Julius Geonczeol

            youre jewisch?

  • Paul

    All that money,and all the creepy manipulations for nothing. The refusal of the current regime to distance itself from the extremist Horthy supporters flushes the money right to the guttet.

    • Paul

      eh…through the gutter.

  • Julius Geonczeol

    For lobbyist work you have to hire an AMERICAN, former politician. (Former Congressman, senator, former member of the government) You just don’t arrive from a foreign land to become a lobbyist. I don’t understand what the Orban people are doing.

    • Julius Geonczeol

      yes you do like mista fellegi. feellegi criminal – orban ciminal

    • MagyarViking

      “I don’t understand what the Orban people are doing”

      Nothing to be ashamed of, then neither do they

  • Nem Jo

    Tamas will have a lot of work…

    NY Times today:
    “The trend in Europe does not signal the return of fascist demons from the 1930s, except in Greece, where the neo-Nazi party Golden Dawn has promoted openly racist beliefs, and perhaps in Hungary, where the far-right Jobbik party backs a brand of ethnic nationalism suffused with anti-Semitism.”

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