Cambodia and the half-million-dollar question

Late last week, The Seattle Times reported that Doug Ericksen, a Washington state senator, is to be paid US$500,000 over a 12-month period to lobby US lawmakers on behalf of the Cambodian government, especially “to promote improved relations between the USA and the Kingdom of Cambodia and legislation that promotes improved relations.”

Ericksen was one of a handful of international politicians who showed up at Cambodia’s general election last year despite most Western nations boycotting the ballot and not sending their own official monitors. Ericksen went on to the describe the election as “amazingly transparent” and “incredibly well conducted,” whereas most of the international community considered it illegitimate and a sham, and even the White House described it as “neither free nor fair and failed to represent the will of the Cambodian people.”

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