Former Clinton Pollster Quits as Lobbyist for Pakistani Party

Campaign still owes Mark Penn $5 million
By Gabriel Winant,  Newser User
Posted Dec 29, 2008 12:02 PM CST
Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari waves to media in Istanbul, Turkey, Friday, Dec. 5, 2008. Zardari is a signatory on the contract with Burson-Marsteller.   (AP Photo/Murad Sezer)
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(Newser) – It could get awkward for the secretary of state to be deeply in debt to a flack for the political party running one of the most incendiary countries in the world. That could be why pollster Mark Penn has ended his company's relationship with Pakistan’s ruling People’s Party, Politico reports. Penn’s firm, to which Hillary Clinton’s campaign still owes $5 million, had a contract that included not only polling, but also romancing journalists, rounding up supporters, and lobbying the House and Senate for its client.

Penn’s firm, Burson-Marsteller, is still registered as a foreign agent, but a spokesperson says it hasn’t done any work for President Asif Ali Zardari's People’s Party since March. And though Clinton fired Penn as her pollster, she still intends to pay him. “There is a debt remaining,” says Penn. “And she has consistently said she is going to clear that up.”