Republika Srpska Spent $13 Million on Lobbying in Washington D.C.

Lobbying is an act of attempting to influence decisions made by those in the government. It is widely known that the U.S. government is heavily lobbied by special interest groups that are trying to sway legislation and U.S. foreign policy in their direction. However, what you may be surprised to learn is that Republika Srpska (RS) is the third highest spender on lobbying in the U.S right behind the Cayman Islands and United Arab Emirates (UAE).

 According to the Sunlight Foundation, an NGO that processes government data, the Serb controlled entity of Bosnia and Herzegovina has spent almost $13 million dollars on lobbying efforts in the United States from 2007 until 2011. On the contrary, the Federation of BiH which is comprised mainly of Bosniaks and Croats, spends nearly $0 dollars on lobbying in the U.S. According to Bill Allison, editorial director of the Sunlight Foundation, 'You will see places like the city of London or Hong Kong spending money to boost tourism but … they are generally not contacting a lot of government officials. You don't see the same things that are going on with the Republika Srpska.'

 This brings us to wonder, what is the RS agenda in Washington, D.C.? First and foremost, Milorad Dodik and the RS are not for a united, democratic and multi-ethnic BiH. Mr. Dodik has threatened secession on many occasions. Second, the RS is strongly against the Office of the High Representative (OHR.)  The RS feels that the OHR is biased in regards to war crimes and that it unfairly targets the Serb population within Bosnia. And third, Mr. Dodik believes that the Bosnian state  court system was illegally formed and opposes the prosecution of war crimes committed by the Serbs during the aggression on BiH in the 1990s.

 While the RS has been walking the halls of U.S. Congress in trying to convince U.S. lawmakers that the RS is the more successful entity, and that a united and multi-ethnic Bosnia is not necessary for BiH to enter the European Union (EU), it is important to ask, where is this money coming from? According to Svetlana Cenic, a former finance minister in the Serb-run entity, who has investigated the entity's budgets, says the sources of the funding are not as transparent as they ought to be. 'The majority of the funding was not approved by the RS National Assembly,' she told Balkan Insight. 'If you look through the budget, the majority or more than a half of the amount [spent on lobbying] is not transparently shown. I am not sure that the RS approved it.' And as far as I can remember, some of the amount [spent on lobbying came] from budget reserves' said Cenic.

BAACBH strongly believes that a multi-ethnic, democratic and united BiH is the only solution and the only path towards EU and NATO integration. The purpose of BAACBH is to counter the divisive and dangerous rhetoric that is being promoted in Washington by the RS lobbyists with the hard-earned money of Bosnia's taxpayers..

 To read the entire article referenced above please click on: RS Lobby