As reported last week in The Hill and also by an overseas blogger at an E.U. hearing in Brussels, DLA Piper is lobbying on behalf of Prime Minister Meles Zenawi and his Ethiopian government on Capitol Hill. For a minimum of $50,000 a month, DLA Piper lobbyists are urging Congress not to sanction the country for human rights violations. It’s a bold move, given that Zenawi’s violent crackdown on protesters following contested national elections in 2005 was strongly condemned by human rights advocates.

Although the United States has maintained good relations with the Ethiopian government, deeming it an ally in its war on terror, the Department of State in 2006 reported that Ethiopian security forces shot and killed 187 people, wounded 765, and arrested and detained opposition leaders, human rights advocates and journalists. The State Department’s report last year suggested the situation had not improved, noting that the government’s human rights violations included: