A CNBC report reveals that Rappler CEO Maria Ressa has engaged the services of “lobbying juggernaut” Covington & Burling to boost her PR campaign against Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte. Ressa is currently being charged in the Philippines with a number of offenses in relation to her management of media firm Rappler.
The United States’ Lobbying Disclosure Act of 1995 requires that any engagement of lobbying services in the US be disclosed as a matter of public record. The CNBC report cites one such disclosure filed on the 16th August 2019 documenting the hiring of Covington & Burlington partners Peter Lichtenbaum and Kurt Wimmer to “build awareness and concern about the unfounded charges brought against Rappler and its CEO and Executive Editor Maria Ressa in the Philippines.” Ressa is indicated as the “client” in this engagement.
“We anticipate that in addition to providing U.S. legal counsel, our role will include briefing U.S. policymakers who are concerned with freedom of expression and the rule of law so that they understand all of the facts surrounding the Philippine government’s treatment of Ms. Ressa and Rappler,” Wimmer said.
Ressa and Lichtenbaum did not respond to requests for comment.
This confirms the extent to which Maria Ressa and Rappler are going to employ all means possible to slander the Philippine government and invite the intervention of a former colonial master into the Philippines’ domestic affairs.
It seems Rappler continues to draw from a deep pool of financial resources to fund endeavours like this. It would be interesting, indeed, to find out where those resources are coming from.