Most Influential Expats: Philip Griffin

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Oct. 07, 2010 23:57
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Philip Griffin, 49

#5 Most Influential

Political campaigns are globalized, just like everything else.

Prominent consultants such as Stanley Greenberg, James Carville, Bob Shrum and Arthur Finkelstein have advised candidates and run campaigns in nations as institutionally and culturally varied as the United Kingdom, Greece, El Salvador, Estonia, Venezuela, Russia and South Africa.

This has many democracy watchers concerned, since many consultants are not committed to the platforms of their political clients and show little concern about anything other than earning paychecks.

Some have even gotten in the way of U.S. interests.

Paul Manafort, of Davis Manafort political consultancy, was reportedly the target of a National Security Council complaint to his onetime client, former U.S. presidential candidate John McCain.

U.S. officials were unhappy with Manafort’s work in Ukraine during the 2004 presidential election campaign and 2006 parliamentary election, according to The New York Times.

In late 2005, Manafort recruited Philip Griffin to clean up the image of Viktor Yanukovych and the Party of Regions leading up to the 2006 parliamentary campaign.

Meanwhile, in 2004, the United States clearly favored Viktor Yushchenko’s pro-Western agenda against Yanukovych’s Kremlin-friendly stance. Moreover, the corrupt ex-President Leonid Kuchma had picked Yanukovych as his successor.

Griffin largely succeeded in polishing up Yanukovych and curtailing his malapropisms.

According to the International Republican Institute in Washington, D.C., Griffin worked for them as a program officer in Moscow from 1995-1996 and, after that, in Haiti for an unspecified period of time.

Griffin’s name also has come up working for International Foundation for Electoral Systems 1999-2001 as a political party development consultant in Tajikistan.

He was also listed as an official for the U.S. Senate African Affairs Department subcommittee working for Jesse Helms in 2002.

According to Americans who know Griffin, he once played semi-professional soccer and enjoys poker games in Kyiv’s Opera Hotel. He speaks fluent French (his mother is French).

A search conducted on the American Association of Political Consultants website doesn’t show him or Manafort as members.

According to German magazine Der Spiegel and Ukrainian media reports, the elusive Griffin once occupied a ground-floor office at 4 Sofiyivska Street with no sign on the door, no doorbell and no security guard.

Griffin continues as a behind-the-scenes operator who makes, but never appears, in headlines. Contacted by the Kyiv Post, Griffin refused to provide details of his employment history.

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