On Tuesday, a U.S. Senator from Florida castigated a Washington law firm working for the Venezuelan government in sharp terms, calling for a refund of the $6 million paid out via Petróleos de Venezuela, a former state-owned Venezuelan oil company.
“Your choice to represent a dangerous dictator who is against everything this country was built on has consequences, and I urge you to be transparent as to your actions on behalf of the regime, return these funds, and rethink working for Maduro or other murderous regimes in the future,” wrote Sen. Rick Scott to Miami Democratic donor Marcia Wiss’ Washington law firm, Wiss & Partners.
Wiss told the Associated Press that her firm only offered “legal services” and did not lobby for the Nicolas Maduro government. But Scott’s correspondence ignored any such distinctions as immaterial.
Nor did he, as far as public documents show, call on former state Rep. David Rivera to return the $50 million he got from the same entity.
Scott’s letter to Wiss starts off by denying her central assertion.
“It has recently come to my attention that your firm was hired for $6 million in 2017 by Nicolas Maduro’s socialist government in Venezuela to lobby on its behalf against U.S. sanctions. If true, this news is shocking and extremely concerning,” the Senator wrote.
“No business in the United States should have any contact with Maduro’s government, let alone willingly take money to represent its interests or lobby on its behalf. It is inexplicable. Further, the lengthy delay in the required public reporting that mentioned your relationship with Maduro’s government is concerning and unacceptable,” Scott said.
Scott went on to postulate that the Wiss firm “stood with Maduro.”
Florida Politics reached out to Wiss & Partners for comment. This post will be updated if they respond.
Scott’s concern about the situation in Venezuela is ongoing and well-documented.
During former President Donald Trump‘s failed reelection campaign, Scott was a late-game point man for Trump on the Venezuelan question.
During a pilgrimage to the Western Wall in Israel while Senator, Scott’s prayer was for regime change in Caracas.
Yet despite his efforts as Florida Governor and now as Senator, that regime change is not forthcoming, and it seems highly unlikely under a Joe Biden administration.