An international human rights organisation has exposed a US official who whitewashed Saudi violations by exerting pressure in favour of the Saudi government-owned company, Live Golf.
The Democracy for the Arab World Now (DAWN) organisation stated that Benjamin (Ben) Quayle and his associated lobbying firm Hobart Hallaway & Quayle Ventures (HHQ) are engaged in sports whitewashing of human rights violations committed by the Saudi government. They do this by pressuring for the benefit of Live Golf, a company owned by the Saudi Public Investment Fund.
The results presented by DAWN suggest that Ben Quayle and HHQ appear to have violated US laws by failing to register their work on behalf of Live Golf with the US Department of Justice as a foreign agent lobby group, as required under the Foreign Agents Registration Act. They also failed to disclose their activities benefiting foreign interests, as mandated by law.
Sara Li Witsen, the Executive Director of DAWN, commented, “Ben Quayle and his partners in HHQ have chosen to profit from the grave human rights abuses committed by the Saudi government and to leverage them by pressuring in favor of Live Golf, which is owned by the Saudi Public Investment Fund.”
She added, “They have misled Congress, the Biden administration, and the American public by failing to acknowledge the foreign interests they serve and failing to report their activities benefiting those foreign interests, as required by law.”
HHQ was registered as a lobbying firm for Live Golf under the Foreign Agents Registration Act on August 1st, 2022. However, their activity as an agent for a foreign principal was not registered under the Foreign Agents Registration Act.
According to the latest filing under the Disclosure of Lobbying Act (Q1, 2023), HHQ receives $140,000 per quarter from Live Golf, paid by the Saudi Public Investment Fund, chaired by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.
The company listed Ben Quayle, Rashid Hallaway, and David Natonski as members of the lobby group for Live Golf.
Quayle is a former member of the United States House of Representatives for Arizona’s 3rd district and the son of the 44th Vice President, Dan Quayle. Hallaway is a former legislative assistant to US Senator Jon Kyl.
Natonski is a former chief of staff to Representatives Greg Murphy (North Carolina), Denver Riggleman (Virginia), Kevin Yoder (Kansas), Terri Sewell (Alabama), among other positions.
Quayle profited from his lobbying firm and his previous role as a US official to promote the interests of Live Golf owned by Saudi Arabia in the United States.
He deleted crucial information about illegal, severe, and destabilizing Saudi violations and helped launder Saudi Arabia’s human rights record, diverting attention from its violations.
Live Golf is widely seen as not a commercial entity, but a tool created solely to control the global golf game, competing with or acquiring the “PGA Tour.” Through this global asset acquisition, the Saudi government seeks to sway public opinion in its favor, divert attention from its violations, and influence players, businesspeople, and politicians to positively represent them and remain silent about the violations.