Bondi to wind down Qatar lobbying job to join White House as 'special government employee'
Pam Bondi, the former Florida attorney general joining the White House communications team to work on impeachment, is currently lobbying for Qatar and will be winding down that role to join the White House team.
Bondi was added in July to lobbying firm Ballard Partners’ $115,000-a-month contract with the Embassy of Qatar in Washington, according to a document filed in July with the Justice Department’s Foreign Agents Registration Act unit and reviewed by NBC News. Bondi was named “key personnel” for the contract and would be “personally and substantially engaged” in delivering services to the country, according to a consulting agreement filed with the DOJ.
Ballard Partners extended its ongoing contract with the Qatari embassy in July to provide advocacy on US-Qatari relations and guidance on combatting human trafficking. A spokesman for the Embassy of Qatar had no immediate comment.
Bondi will be leaving Ballard Partners and will stop working on all her client accounts early next week, a person familiar with her lobbying arrangement said. But she will remain with the firm until she goes to the White House, which this person estimated will not happen for a couple more weeks, adding that her background check isn’t yet complete. This person said Bondi is currently expected to only be at the White House for four months, but presumes that ultimately she might stay through the reelection campaign.
Bondi’s status at the White House will be as a “special government employee,” a senior administration official told NBC News’ Kristen Welker. That status that allows people in the private sector with particular expertise to be brought into the government part time under less-stringent ethics rules than would apply to normal federal employees, including allowing them to continue their outside work. Those rules will limit Bondi to working on government issues no more than 130 days out the year.
Former Ukraine envoy Kurt Volker was serving under this same status while continuing his outside work at a lobbying firm, NBC News reported in September.