India’s prime minister met with the president of a leading liberal think tank during a swing through Washington this week after his government enlisted the services of a lobbying and public relations firm founded by that think tank’s former chairman.
Neera Tanden, the president of the Center for American Progress, was one of ten Indian-American leaders to meet with Prime Minister Narendra Modi over the weekend during his first official visit to the United States.
CAP chairman John Podesta is now an adviser to President Barack Obama on climate and energy policy, but the firm that bears his name is currently representing the interests of the Indian government in Washington.
The Podesta Group, founded by John and his brother Tony, first inked a contract with the Indian embassy in Washington in 2010, long after John left the firm. His brother remains the chairman of the Podesta Group.
According to its most recent Foreign Agent Registration Act filing, the embassy will pay the firm $350,000 between July 2014 and July 2015 to provide “strategic counsel, tactical planning, and public relations assistance on policy matters before the U.S. Government, the U.S. Congress, and select state governments, as well as academic institutions and think-tanks.”