Ex-Solicitor General Olson's Firm Ends Saudi ‘NOPEC’ Lobby Deal

(Bloomberg) -- Former Solicitor General Ted Olson will no longer lobby on behalf of Saudi Arabia against a longshot "NOPEC" bill after his law firm pulled out of the deal.

Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP’s representation of the Saudi embassy concluded on Thursday, according to an updated filing with the Justice Department, which maintains registrations of foreign agents in the U.S.

The kingdom has faced a barrage of criticism since the disappearance of Jamal Khashoggi, a critic of the Saudi government, from its consulate in Istanbul more than two weeks ago. Last month, the Saudi embassy contracted with Gibson to develop a white paper opposing the “No Oil Producing and Exporting Cartels Act” legislation.

While past presidents have threatened to use their veto to prevent legislation targeting OPEC from becoming law, Donald Trump’s frequent twitter tirades against the group for high oil prices are seen as increasing its chances of being passed.

The House of Representatives introduced a version of the bill in May. The Senate has also revived legislation, which would amend the Sherman Antitrust Act of 1890. That’s the law used more than a century ago to break up the oil empire of John Rockefeller.

Trump’s antitrust chief said earlier this month that the administration is “still studying that legislation,” in reference to NOPEC. “We don’t have an administration position on that,” U.S. Assistant Attorney General Makan Delrahim said after a Senate Judiciary subcommittee hearing on Oct. 3.

©2018 Bloomberg L.P.