Clinton Aide Met With Colombians on Trade Deal

Penn, in job as lobbyist, hired to promote accord candidate opposes
By Jonas Oransky,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 4, 2008 2:01 PM CDT
Mark Penn, Hillary Clinton's chief campaign strategist, met with Colombian officials in Washington this week while working in his other capacity with a lobbying firm.   (Getty)
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(Newser) – Hillary Clinton’s chief strategist met with Colombia’s ambassador to the US this week on a trade deal the Democratic candidate opposes—in his capacity as a lobbying executive, the Wall Street Journal reports. Mark Penn's firm, Burson-Marsteller, was paid $300,000 to fight for the bilateral accord, which President Bush says he could send to Capitol Hill next week.

Echoing criticism from fellow Democrats, Clinton has said there will be “no trade deal with Colombia while violence against trade unionists continues in that country." A Colombian rep says the embassy aims to meet with advisers from all three campaigns, adding that he was unsure whether Penn was representing Burson-Marsteller or Clinton at Monday's meeting.