Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL), who announced last month that he will seek the GOP presidential nomination in 2016, will hold a campaign fundraiser on Wednesday with an array of Washington lobbyists. One of the lobbyists co-hosting the event (and helping to raise money for Rubio) is BGR Group principal Jennifer Lukawski. She recently served as the registered foreign agent for a western African regime known for its human rights abuses, including repeated threats to behead gay people.
In April 2013, BGR Government Affairs LLC and the then-Secretary General of The Gambia signed a contract. In exchange for $45,000 a month (plus expenses), BGR agreed to “advocate and help build support for increased political and economic assistance from government and non-governmental organizations for The Gambia’s adolescent and adult female education programs. BGR may provide guidance and counsel on other issues from time to time as required.” Several weeks later, Jennifer Lukawski informed the Department of Justice that she would be lobbying for The Gambia pursuant to that deal. The arrangement continued until that December.
The government for whom Lukawski and BGR sought U.S. foreign aid was and is headed by His Excellency Sheikh Professor Alhaji Dr. Yahya Abdul-Azziz Jemus Junkung Jammeh. Jammeh, who seized power in a 1994 military coup was condemned on Saturday by U.S. National Security Advisor Susan Rice for his recent warning to LGBT people, “If you do it [in the Gambia] I will slit your throat — if you are a man and want to marry another man in this country and we catch you, no one will ever set eyes on you again, and no white person can do anything about it.”
While these comments came after Lukawksi’s tenure as The Gambia’s paid agent, they are nothing new for Jammeh. In 2008, he warned gay and lesbian Gambians to leave the country before he could enforce policies “stricter than those in Iran,” and vowed to “cut off the head” of any who did not. In a 2013 speech to the United Nations — during BGR and Lukawski’s work for his government — he warned that those who “promote homosexuality want to put an end to human existence,” calling all “forms and manifestations” of homosexuality “very evil, anti-human, as well as anti-Allah.” More than a dozen suspected gay men people were arrested in 2012 and, in 2014, he signed a law allowing life imprisonment for “aggravated homosexuality.”
Jammeh’s human rights violations extend beyond his treatment of LGBT people. In her statement, Rice also noted an “alarming deterioration of the broader human rights situation in The Gambia,” and expressed deep concern about “credible reports of torture, suspicious disappearances – including of two American citizens – and arbitrary detention at the government’s hands.” Amnesty International has documented an array of violations under Jammeh and a March 2009 New York Times article noted “documented disappearances, torture and imprisonment of dozens of journalists and political opponents.”
The Gambia boasts of its efforts to expand access to education for girls and women. While promoting women’s education programs may be a worthy goal, questions abound about how trustworthy the Jammeh regime is and how they are using aid dollars to improve the lives on women. The government has received international criticism for its refusal to stop female genital mutilation, violence against women and children, and “[r]ampant government corruption and patronage.”
Lukawksi did not immediately respond to a ThinkProgress inquiry about Jammeh and her work on his behalf. But her official biography notes that she previously worked for the anti-LGBT Heritage Foundation and as a top aide for former Rep. Robert Dornan (R-CA), a rabidly anti-LGBT flamethrower who once outed a fellow Republican Congressman on the House floor, accusing him of having a “revolving door on his closet.”
In a speech last week outlining his self-described “Rubio Doctrine,” Rubio claimed President Obama has “embraced regimes that systematically oppose every principle our nation has long championed.” But his campaign did not immediately respond to a ThinkProgress inquiry asking whether someone who was on Jammeh’s payroll is an appropriate person to have fundraising on his behalf.
Tickets to the “Mojitos with Marco” event start at $1,000.
Source: Think Progress
i’m with jammeh on this say no to same sex marriage
Even Mad Ex Emperor Bukassa have had people with him in some of his hypocrite white elephant offroad follies. Every new thing like same … ……… issues, must have started in the Gambia during the Jammeh junta era when noble home coming roots festivals of the second republic are converted into home coming sexual festival resorts in Kanilai. SL.. for the f… of it!!!!! Anyway such is not strange in that part of the country when married men and married women are free to adultrate in initiation rituals. DAAAAAAAAAAAAAAMN!!!!!!
I have not seen a hypocrite like Sheik Professor Yaya from around the south bank where he claimed to have come from.
Jallowsanou, I don’t know what you mean by “I’m with Jammeh on this , say no to the same sex marriage “. I want you to clarify your position before I engage you for any meaningful discussion. First of all , As Gambian citizen , I believe our constitution is our guiding priniciple or the law of the land that we should always follow irrespective of our religious belief or cultural practices . The position of dictator jammeh is clear , he want to kill anyone who is homosexual in The Gambia . The question is ,where do you see in our constitution or any law that homosexual should be killed ? Homosexuals are as Gambian as anyone and they should be treated as Gambian . Their sexual orientation or sexuality is their business as long as they didn’t disobey public order . Jammeh is using homosexual issues as a political and religious tool to propagate falsehood and also to divert public attention from worst economic conditions in the country . Apart from political propaganda , who are we to kill or discriminate aganist our fellow citizens because they have different lifestyle . Our constitution call for tolerance which enable us to have peaceful coexistence . Gambia is not a sharia state though we all know that majority are Muslims but that does not give any green light to kill anyone because of their sexual orientation or sexuality . If we are sharia state then sharia laws will be the laws of the land but we are secular republic .,What Jammeh is doing is worst than any sins committed by homosexuals , Jammeh killed Gambians , raped and molested our young girls. These are worst crimes than two individual consented to sexual act.
My position is that , I think homosexuals should not be killed or inprisoned because of their sexuality . I think any law that call for such , should be outlawed. As for their marriage , that should be left to Gambian people to decide in a referendum. This is what civilized and democratic countries do . How about those who cheat on their wives or husband , should we advocate for their killings as well since they are all sinners from religious perspective. how about those who rape young girls or have child from wedlock or before getting marriage ? I can understand that you are totally against homosexual marriage based on your religious grounds but support to killing them as advocate by jammeh is fundamental violation of their rights to life. Therefore it is important we truly understand what Jammeh is saying before we give him green light to commit henious crime . Remember we are fighting for democratic Gambia where indivivduals are free to make choices about what they want in their pursuit of happiness within the law.
thanks for makeing me understand more,
Thanks for your contribution