Is This a Job for the Ethically Challenged?

The Louisiana Senate has appointed former veteran Hill & Knowlton (H&K) lobbyist and Democratic congressional aide Gary Hymel to the Louisiana Board of Ethics. The board's role is to "interpret and enforce" ethical standards for the state's government employees and electoral campaign finance and lobbyist disclosure laws. "I have seen the government from a lot of different angles," Hymel said. What wasn't reported in coverage of his appointment was that in 1990, Hymel was a lobbyist for Turkey and Indonesia, as both countries sought to cover up notorious human rights abuses. In 1990, Hymel also worked on H&K's account for Citizens for a Free Kuwait, a front group bankrolled by the Kuwaiti royal family. After the first Gulf War was over, H&K was identified as having promoted the false accusations that Iraqi soldiers had taken Kuwaiti babies out of incubators and left them to die. In 2002, O'Dwyer's PR Daily reported (sub req'd) that Hymel was one of seven H&K consultants "trying to salvage Enron" after its collapse.