December 29, 2010
Lobbyist Quits Job With Ivory Coast Leader
By GINGER THOMPSON
WASHINGTON — Lanny J. Davis, a well-connected Washington lobbyist who had recently come under fire for his work on behalf of President Laurent Gbagbo of Ivory Coast, announced Wednesday that he would resign from the assignment.
Mr. Davis, who once helped defend President Bill Clinton against impeachment, had signed up this month to represent Mr. Gbagbo’s government for $100,000 a month. In a Justice Department filing, Mr. Davis said he had been retained to “present the facts and the law as to why there is substantial documentary evidence that President Laurent Gbagbo is the duly elected president as a result of the Nov. 28 elections.”
In interviews, Mr. Davis said his goal was to mediate a peaceful settlement to the crisis in which scores of Mr. Gbagbo’s opponents had been killed.
Mr. Gbagbo lost a presidential election last month but has declined to step down, despite calls from the United Nations, the United States and many African nations.
In a letter of resignation submitted to Ivory Coast on Tuesday night, Mr. Davis wrote that he had tried unsuccessfully — and without official assistance from the United States — to facilitate a telephone call between President Obama and Mr. Gbagbo. But he said Mr. Gbagbo had refused.
In his letter, Mr. Davis wrote that his resignation was “a difficult decision for me,” adding, “My decision is final.”
Still, he said he had not totally withdrawn, telling Mr. Gbagbo’s ambassador to Washington, “I will continue to do all I can to help encourage the parties to resolve this matter peacefully, through dialogue and mediation and non-violence, but for the reasons expressed above, I will no longer be able to do so as a representative of your government.”