Chair Blumenthal provides an update ahead of next week’s hearing on Saudi efforts to block PSI’s inquiry into foreign influence in the United States
[WASHINGTON, DC] – On Tuesday, February 6 at 3:30 PM the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations will hold a hearing titled “Foreign Influence in The United States: Reviewing Boston Consulting Group, McKinsey & Company, M. Klein and Company, and Teneo’s Compliance with Congressional Subpoenas.” The hearing is being held as part of the Subcommittee’s ongoing inquiry into efforts by authoritarian governments, like Saudi Arabia, to deploy soft power or use other influence strategies inside the United States.
Executives from Boston Consulting Group, McKinsey & Company, M. Klein & Company, and Teneo – all headquartered in the United States – have been ordered to testify regarding their companies’ compliance with a subpoena that was issued in November regarding their work on behalf of Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund, as well as similar work for other foreign clients.
Ahead of next week’s hearing, Chair of the Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), circulated a memorandum among his Subcommittee colleagues providing an update on the PIF’s efforts to block its consultants from responding to subpoenas issued by the Subcommittee. A copy of the memo is available here.
“The records sought by these subpoenas are critical to the Subcommittee’s ongoing inquiry into efforts by authoritarian governments, like Saudi Arabia, to deploy soft power or use other influence strategies inside the United States, including the PIF’s use of investments in U.S. entities and cultural institutions to exert influence,” wrote Blumenthal.
“Accepting the PIF Consultants’ refusal to cooperate with this Subcommittee would create a dangerous and unsupportable precedent—that American companies can shield commercial interactions with foreign governments that are directed towards the United States from oversight simply by choosing to have their contracts governed by foreign law.”
All four consultants have reportedly advised Saudi Arabia on the PIF’s targeted investments in sports and on the Saudi’s larger strategic vision for the PIF’s engagement with the United States. In August, Chair Blumenthal sent letters to each of the four consultants as part of the Subcommittee’s examination of the extent to which foreign powers may be using commerce within the United States as a tool of foreign influence. The text of the letters sent to PIF’s consultants in August is available here.
In November, after the Subcommittee’s efforts to obtain information from the PIF consultants voluntarily were rebuffed, the Subcommittee issued subpoenas to all four companies.
Next week’s hearing will include testimony from: