Hickenlooper said Saudi kingdom should be held accountable for journalist’s death, then signed proclamation celebrating Denver lobbying firm representing it

He said the “United States can’t look the other way and have any credibility, not even from a moral point of view.”

Governor John Hickenlooper speaks at a press conference on the possible repeal of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, known as DACA, Sept. 1, 2017. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

Governor John Hickenlooper speaks at a press conference on the possible repeal of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, known as DACA, Sept. 1, 2017. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

(Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

staff photo

Gov. John Hickenlooper said Friday “unfortunate timing” played into a birthday proclamation for a Denver-based lobbying firm with ties to Saudi Arabia that came out just weeks after the governor suggesting the kingdom should be held accountable for their alleged involvement in the death of a prominent journalist.

Hickenlooper on Thursday signed a proclamation celebrating a Denver-based law firm Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck.

The powerhouse Denver lobbying firm was the focus last week of scrutiny over their work with Saudi Arabia. Turkish authorities believe the kingdom ordered the death of journalist Jamal Khashoggi. Turkish officials this week said they believe Khashoggi’s body was dissolved in acid after being dismembered.

Hickenlooper said Friday prior to the start of an unrelated press conference he’s still supportive of an investigation into Khashoggi’s death.

“What happened to Mr. Khashoggi should never happen to anyone,” Hickenlooper said. “And we have, and I continue to call for a full and transparent investigation so that we know exactly what did happen.”

Hickenlooper said the proclamation for Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck was “ceremonial” and was requested by the firm in the early September.  Hickenlooper’s spokeswoman Jacque Montgomery said there’s an online process for proclamation requests, which are reviewed and evaluated.

“No one runs that by me, that’s not, I mean we do that for dozens and dozens and dozens of companies when they have celebrations,” Hickenlooper said, adding there should more oversight on them. “This is the first time we signed a proclamation and there was some sort of controversy about it.”

9News reported on Oct. 26 that Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck — which has a $125,000 monthly contract with the kingdom’s Washington, D.C., embassy — has no plans to cease any lobbying on behalf of the government of Saudi Arabia. That news came weeks after the kingdom faced tremendous backlash over the death of Khashoggi.

Hickenlooper shared some thoughts about what should be done about Khashoggi’s death during an appearance on CNN on Oct. 12.

Asked what President Trump should do after the incident, Hickenlooper said that the “United States can’t look the other way and have any credibility, not even from a moral point of view — I mean, that would be first and foremost — but from a trade or a partnership in international commerce.”

“If Saudi Arabia did what many people are saying they did, they’ve got to be held accountable,” Hickenlooper said last month.

“We’ve got to be the bellwether of doing and supporting what’s right and then denouncing and acting against what is clearly criminal behavior,” Hickenlooper added.

The proclamation celebrated Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck’s 50th anniversary in Colorado on Thursday. The firm is a powerful national company who in 2016 netted $26 million in federal lobbying revenue, according to the Denver Post.

Hickenlooper’s office wrote Denverite Friday to say that the proclamation was only sent to the firm. The firm tweeted it out on Thursday.

We’ve reached out to Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck for additional comment.

This story has been updated to include new Hickenlooper comments. 

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