Lobbyist Jack Kingston Defends Muslim Ban His Firm’s Clients Oppose

Lobbyist Jack Kingston Defends Muslim Ban His Firm’s Clients Oppose
Photograph by scarletsails via iStock.

Former Congressman Jack Kingston spent much of Saturday appearing on CNN defending President Donald Trump’s executive order banning travel into the US from seven Muslim-majority countries. Kingston is a lobbyist at Squire Patton Boggs, one of the nation’s largest law and lobbying firms. His defense of the ban is at odds with concerns expressed by at least two of the firm’s major lobbying clients.

In 2016, Squire Patton Boggs made $320,000 in lobbying revenue from Amazon, and $410,000 from SpaceX, according to Senate disclosures. Elon Musk, CEO of SpaceX, Tweeted his opposition to the Muslim ban, writing: “Many people negatively affected by this policy are strong supporters of the US. They’ve done right, not wrong & don’t deserve to be rejected.”

The president of the Internet Association, a trade group that represents Amazon, told the Washington Post, “The internet industry is deeply concerned with the implications of President Trump’s executive order limiting immigration and movement into the United States.”

Kingston, by comparison, told CNN’s Poppy Harlow of the ban: “I don’t think it’s a bad thing. I think it’s a step forward in trying to organize our border security.”

He continued: “Refugees in general have often been the cloak under which terrorists do move from country to country.” The United Nations says there is no evidence that migration leads to increased terrorism, and no refugee has committed an act of terror in the United States since 9/11.

In 2016, Kingston and others from Squire Patton Boggs also lobbied for the Los Angeles 2024 Exploratory Committee, the group attempting to bring the Olympics—and athletes from all over the world, Muslim countries included—to LA. The firm appears to have ended that relationship at the end of 2016. It made $80,000 from the client last year.

Large law firms and corporations have made a point in recent years to implement policies promoting diversity and inclusivity. Squire Patton Boggs is no exception. On its website, it says: “Diversity comes naturally to us … each year our lawyers spend countless hours collaborating with colleagues across a variety of geographies, languages and cultures to find optimal solutions for clients.” The firm has offices in the predominantly Muslim countries of Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and Qatar.

Washingtonian has contacted Squire Patton Boggs, asking whether Kingston’s views represent those of the firm, and whether the firm is concerned about the views of one of its principals alienating clients. We will update this story if we hear back.

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Senior Editor

Marisa M. Kashino joined Washingtonian in 2009 as a staff writer, and became a senior editor in 2014. She was previously a reporter for Legal Times and the National Law Journal. She lives in Northeast DC with her husband, two dogs, and two cats.