Former Republican congressman Connie Mack IV of Florida has joined the lobbying campaign to defend former Colombian President Alvaro Uribe from criminal allegations surrounding his time in power.
Mack is now part of the “leadership” of the “Free Uribe” movement, an advocacy campaign spearheaded by the DCI Group. Uribe hired the Republican firm last month for $40,000 to help fight years-old allegations of ties to right-wing paramilitary groups responsible for several massacres in the country’s war against left-wing militants.
The DCI Group announced Mack’s participation Wednesday on its @FreeUribe Twitter account and in a press release filed with the Department of Justice. Mack served in Congress from 2005 to 2013, notably chairing the House Foreign Affairs Committee’s Western Hemisphere panel with jurisdiction over US policy in Latin America.
“I am honored to defend the integrity of Alvaro Uribe against false attacks, and defend the importance of the vital U.S. partnership with Colombia that Uribe played a central role in creating, and his accusers are determined to destroy,” Mack said in the press release.
Uribe was placed under house arrest on Aug. 4 as the country’s Supreme Court decides whether he should stand trial for bribery and witness tampering.
Neither Mack nor any of three lobbying firms he is associated with — Mack Strategies, the Liberty International Group and Black Diamond Strategies — have so far registered to lobby for Uribe. Queries to Mack and the DCI Group about the nature of his work for Uribe and whether he is being paid went unanswered.
“I am honored to defend the integrity of Alvaro Uribe against false attacks, and defend the importance of the vital U.S. partnership with Colombia that Uribe played a central role in creating.”Connie Mack IV
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Mack previously lobbied for Luis Andrade, a US citizen accused of corruption in Columbia who was eventually allowed to return to the United States. Mack Strategies and the Liberty International Group reported a total of $150,000 in payments from Andrade between August 2018 and the end of 2019.
“The persecution of Luis exemplifies the general backsliding of the democratic institutions of Colombia in recent years,” Mack wrote in an August 2018 op-ed in The Hill.
Mack also has pre-existing ties to the DCI Group, Uribe’s lobby shop. He is currently lobbying via Black Diamond Strategies as a subcontractor to the DCI Group for PRO EM National Event Services regarding COVID-19 provisions. Black Diamond reported $40,000 in payments from DCI in the second quarter.