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Saudi officials attempted to court influential CNN and Fox News personalities with lavish gifts and Super Bowl tickets.
The Washington Post reports that in an attempt to gain influence in Washington, D.C, Saudi officials sought out various television personalities, including CNN’s Jake Tapper and Fox New’s Bret Baier.
The Saudis reportedly offered the two television personalities private chartered flights to events paying honor to Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and Super Bowl tickets. Both men told the Washington Post they turned down the gifts.
News of the kingdom attempting to gain leverage in the U.S. comes after recent scrutiny against Saudi officials’ attempts to gain favor with D.C. lobbyists and influencers, as well as the kingdom’s involvement in the death of Washington Post journalist, Jamal Khashoggi.
In the past two years, the Saudis have ramped up their efforts to solidify their relationship with the U.S. According to public records obtained by the Washington Post, the kingdom’s spending in America has increased from just $7.7 million in 2016 to a whopping $27.3 million in the last year.
Many lobbying firms dropped their representation of Saudi Arabia amid the killing of Khashoggi, including the consulting firm, Glover Park Group, who had been receiving $150,000 a month to help the Saudis with government relations issues, according to the Washington Post.
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Stassi contributes to various organizations and specializes in stories about politics, entertainment news, and travel.