Last year, a bipartisan group of senators led a months-long drive to pass a resolution calling for greater freedom and democracy in Egypt. The resolution died in December because of a fatal mix of divided loyalties, lobbying influence and secret Senate holds.
Sens. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Russell Feingold (D-Wis.) were the leaders of the effort to press Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak to move toward more free and fair elections via the resolution, which called for “supporting democracy, human rights, and civil liberties in Egypt.”
But according to three senior Senate aides who worked on the issue, the two senators who worked most actively behind the scenes to prevent the resolution from moving forward were Sens. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) and Roger Wicker (R-Miss.).
Wicker, the three Senate aides said, worked against the resolution’s passage in part because of his long-standing relationship with a top Washington lobbyist, Wicker’s former House colleague Bob Livingston, whose firm was being paid by the Egyptian government under a years-long lobbying contract. Livingston personally called Wicker to ask him to help stall the measure.
When asked by the Cable on Tuesday about his opposition to the resolution, Wicker said, “I would have to refresh my recollection.”
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