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Energy Department board cuts Libya lobbyist

U.S. Energy Secretary Sam Bodman removed Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi's lobbyist in Washington from the Energy Department's top advisory board one year into the lobbyist's two-year term.
U.S. Secretary of Energy Sam Bodman and Saudi Oil Minister Ali Al-Naimi attend to Global energy supply conference in Washington
U.S. Secretary of Energy Sam Bodman removed a Libyan lobbyist from the Energy Department's advisory board. The appointment had come under fire from the beginning due to a 1988 Scotland bombing that Libya took responsibility for. Yuri Gripas / Reuters file
/ Source: Reuters

U.S. Energy Secretary Sam Bodman has removed Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi's lobbyist in Washington from the Energy Department's top advisory board, administration officials said Thursday.

Randa Fahmy Hudome, a former international policy adviser to then-Energy Secretary Spencer Abraham, was appointed to the department's highest-level external advisory board by Abraham in May 2004. Soon after she became Libya's lobbyist.

Her membership on the Secretary of Energy Advisory Board, first reported by Reuters in May, drew fire from some government watchdog groups and families of the victims of the 1988 Pan Am bombing over Lockerbie, Scotland. Libya has taken responsibility for the bombing and agreed to a compensation deal.

Energy Department spokesman Mike Waldron declined to say whether Fahmy Hudome's lobbying for Gaddafi prompted Bodman to terminate her membership on the board one year into her two year term.

"Secretary Bodman, upon being sworn in, began a membership review of the department's various boards and committees to ensure they adequately address the needs and the direction that he's setting," Waldron said. Bodman became energy secretary in February.

Other officials said Bodman was not pleased to learn that one of the board members represented a government that Washington still classifies as a sponsor of terrorism.

Fahmy Hudome, who has also served for the last year on the State Department's advisory committee on international economic policy, was not reappointed to the committee when her one-year term ended in June, said a State Department official who declined further comment.

Fahmy Hudome, who was associate deputy secretary of energy until June 30, 2003, did not return phone calls seeking comment.

Lobbyist brought international policy experience
Administration officials said Fahmy Hudome's appointment to the advisory boards did not violate any laws or restrictions on former policymakers, and that she was chosen because of her earlier international policy experience.

President Bush in April 2004 suspended most sanctions against Libya after it agreed to dismantle all of its nuclear, chemical and biological programs, but Tripoli remains on the U.S. terrorism list.

Six weeks after her appointment to the advisory board on May 14, 2004, Fahmy Hudome clinched an initial $1.47 million consulting agreement with Libya that called for her to "strengthen Libya's interests" by working "directly with the executive and legislative branches of government," records show.

Fahmy Hudome signed a revised contract with the Libyan government in March 2005 worth $750,000 for the period of Jan. 1, 2005, to Jan. 1, 2006.

Libya's top envoy in Washington, Ali Aujali, told Reuters in May that Tripoli was hopeful Hudome's connections within the Bush administration would help Tripoli achieve its goals in Washington, chief among them getting the State Department to remove Libya from the U.S. terrorism list.