St Louis News

Lacy Clay Lobbying for Companies with Interests in North Korea


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After winning ten consecutive terms in Congress, Lacy Clay is lobbying on behalf of a South Korean business group whose member companies operate in North Korea. - OFFICIAL PORTRAIT

  • OFFICIAL PORTRAIT
  • After winning ten consecutive terms in Congress, Lacy Clay is lobbying on behalf of a South Korean business group whose member companies operate in North Korea.

Lacy Clay, who represented St. Louis in Congress for 20 years, will be lobbying on behalf of a South Korean business group whose members have operations in North Korea.

As first reported by Politico this week, Clay joined the Washington D.C. office of lobbying and law firm Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman in May. Clay will be working on the account for the Corporate Association of the Kaesong Industrial Complex. But as detailed in the report, the association is a group of South Korean companies who operate businesses in the Kaesong Industrial Complex, which is just across the border in North Korea.




The Kaesong Industrial Complex began in 2004 as a “special economic zone” where South Korean companies could access North Korean laborers, who earned foreign currency.


According to report, “The complex provided more than 100 South Korean companies with inexpensive labor while allowing North Korea to earn foreign money, in an effort to promote economic cooperation between the two countries.” At one point, 54,000 North Koreans worked at the KIC.


The industrial complex closed in 2016 amid heightened tensions between the two countries. Last year, the lobbying firm that Clay joined signed a $675,000 contract to advocate on the behalf of the group of South Korean businesses who operated in the KIC.


Clay’s work meant he had to register as a foreign agent with the Department of Justice.


Members of Congress are barred from registering as foreign agents for one year after leaving office. Clay’s one year ban expired one day before his work for the South Korean business group was announced.


Former Texas Congressman Greg Laughlin also joined Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman and along with Clay will be lobbying on behalf of the Corporate Association of the Kaesong Industrial Complex.


We welcome tips and feedback. Email the author at ryan.krull@riverfronttimes.com Follow him on Twitter @RyanWKrull

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