One of President Donald Trump’s administration appointees — who simultaneously represents Saudi Arabia’s government as a registered foreign agent — is reevaluating his various roles.
Richard F. Hohlt, a longtime lobbyist who has served on the President’s Commission on White House Fellowships since Trump appointed him to the post in June 2017, said in emails with the Center for Public Integrity that his upcoming 71st birthday has caused him to reconsider who he represents.
“I am currently in the process of reevaluating my representation, my participation, and retirement,” Hohlt said in an email.
Hohlt declined to speak by phone, and did not respond to questions about whether the apparent murder of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi by Saudi operatives in Turkey has contributed to his reassessment.
Hohlt, who first began representing Saudi Arabia in October 2016, according to Foreign Agents Registration Act records, remains an actively registered agent of the Saudi government, Department of Justice spokesman Marc Raimondi confirmed to the Center for Public Integrity.
Khashoggi, a Virginia resident and critic of Saudi leaders, was last seen entering the Saudi consulate in Turkey on Oct. 2.
Audio recordings indicate he died a gruesome death at the hands of several men tied to Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, Saudi Arabia’s de facto leader. Mohammed has called the murder of Khashoggi a “heinous, unjustified incident,” although some U.S. leaders, including Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., have accused the Saudi crown prince of orchestrating the killing.
Saudi officials have spent millions of dollars in recent years to influence politicians in the United States, hiring big-name K Street firms to represent their country. In 2017 alone, Saudi Arabia reported spending $27 million on firms registered under FARA, according to a report released today by the Center for International Policy.