Washington Babylon — October 25, 2007, 8:03 am

Mea Culpa: Haste Makes Mistake

I recently posted an item about the lobby firm APCO’s representation of the government of Kazakhstan and congressional hearings about Kazakhstan’s desire to chair the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE). Florida Congressman Alcee Hastings, who chaired the panel in question, wrote a letter complaining that the item implied that APCO had improperly influenced the proceedings on behalf of Kazakhstan.

I went back and read my notes from several conversations about the hearings. Then I read my post. Basically, I blew it — twice. First, I misconstrued what I was told about the hearing. Second, in my haste to write the item before heading to a meeting I inadvertently used language that exaggerated APCO’s role beyond even what I believed my notes reflected. To sum up: My story was correct in identifying APCO as Kazakhstan’s lobbying firm, and the firm did dispatch several lobbyists to the hearings. But I have no evidence that APCO helped set up the hearings or improperly influenced them. I regret the error.

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