Black, Manafort, Stone and Kelly

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Black, Manafort, Stone and Kelly (often simply Black, Manafort) was a lobbying firm based in Washington, D.C. and formed in 1980 by Roger Stone, Paul Manafort and Charles Black.

Black, Manafort, Stone and Kelly
IndustryLobbying Firm
FounderRoger Stone Paul Manafort Charles Black
DefunctJanuary 1, 1991 (1991-01-01)
FateAcquired by Burson-Marsteller
Key people
Roger Stone


As Black, Manafort & Stone, the firm was one of the first political consulting groups to work for Ronald Reagan's presidential candidacy in 1980,[1] and would later also have extensive connections to the presidential administrations of George H. W. Bush and Bill Clinton.[2] Donald Trump was this firm's first client.[3][4]

In 1984 it was renamed to Black, Manafort, Stone and Kelly (BMSK) & associates, after Peter G. Kelly was recruited.[5]

The firm has represented, and lobbied the US Congress on behalf of, numerous foreign governments and heads of state from both representative democracies and unelected dictatorships including Mohamed Siad Barre of Somalia, dictator Ferdinand Marcos of the Philippines,[6][7] dictator Mobutu Sese Seko of Zaire,[8] and Jonas Savimbi of Angola. According to "The Torturer's Lobby", a report published by The Center for Public Integrity, the firm received $3.3 million in the early 1990s for their work with dictators.[9]

During the 1988 presidential campaign in the United States, it was disclosed that Black, Manafort retained the island nation of the Bahamas as a client at a time its leadership was being attacked for alleged ties to drug traffickers. BMSK officials insisted that they intended only to help the Bahamas obtain more United States aid for efforts to curb drug smugglers.[1]

On January 1, 1991, BMSK was acquired by Burson-Marsteller who between 1989 and 1994 had acquired Gold & Liebengood which was founded by Martin B. Gold and Howard Scholer Liebengood in 1984.[10][11] BMSK merged with Gold & Liebengood to form BKSH & Associates in 1996.

According to Mustafa Nayyem in 2007, the Saint Petersburg office of BMSK was headed by Leonid Avrashov (Ukrainian: Леонід Аврашов) who, according to Serhiy Leshchenko in 2017, also had a credit card with Rinat Akhmetov's First Ukrainian International Bank (PUMB) (Ukrainian: Перший український міжнародний банк (ПУМБ)).[12][13]

Domestically the firm represented Bethlehem Steel and Tobacco Institute, helped elect Senators Phil Gramm, Jesse Helms, Charles McCurdy Mathias Jr., Arlen Specter, Paula Hawkins and David F. Durenberger—and worked on legislation that benefitted the firm's clients.[citation needed]

Both Paul Manafort and Roger Stone worked on and held important positions in the 2016 presidential campaign of Donald Trump. Stone was convicted of seven felony charges due to his work on the Trump campaign.




  • Lee Atwater became a senior partner in the political-consulting function of the firm (the partners claimed the firm kept political and lobbying functions separate) the day after President Reagan defeated Walter F. Mondale in 1984.[14][15]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "A Political Power Broker", The New York Times, June 21, 1989
  2. ^ Steve Burkholder (1993). "On the town with Jonas Savimbi - huge U.S. lobbying expenditures by Angola". FindArticles. Common Cause magazine. Archived from the original on 2004-11-15. Retrieved 2007-11-11.
  3. ^ Brannen, Kate (October 30, 2017). "A Timeline of Paul Manafort's Relationship with the Trump World". Archived from the original on 8 August 2021. Retrieved 7 August 2021.
  4. ^ Brenner, Marie (June 28, 2017). "How Donald Trump and Roy Cohn's Ruthless Symbiosis Changed America: In 1973, a brash young would-be developer from Queens met one of New York's premier power brokers: Roy Cohn, whose name is still synonymous with the rise of McCarthyism and its dark political arts. With the ruthless attorney as a guide, Trump propelled himself into the city's power circles and learned many of the tactics that would inexplicably lead him to the White House years later". Vanity Fair. Archived from the original on 8 August 2021. Retrieved 7 August 2021.
  5. ^ Choate, Pat (1990). Agents of Influence. Simon and Schuster. pp. 307. ISBN 0671743392.
  6. ^ "Paul Manafort's Wild and Lucrative Philippine Adventure". Politico. Retrieved August 15, 2016.
  7. ^ "Black, Manafort, Stone and Kelly, Public Affairs Company document for U.S. Department of Justice" (PDF). U.S. Foreign Agents Registration Act website ( Retrieved August 15, 2016.
  8. ^ "Mobutu in Search of an Image Boost". Washington Post. Retrieved August 15, 2016.
  9. ^ Brogan, Pamela (1992). "The Torturer's Lobby: How Human Rights-Abusing Nations Are Represented in Washington" (PDF). The Center for Public Integrity. ISBN 0-9629012-9-6. Retrieved January 27, 2019.
  10. ^ THE CONGRESSIONAL ACCOUNTABILITY ACT OF 1995; Congressional Record Vol. 141, No. 3 (Senate - January 06, 1995)
  11. ^ Schwartz, Maralee (January 3, 1991). "PR Firm Acquires Black, Manafort". Washington Post. Retrieved 7 August 2021.
  12. ^ Найєм, Мустафа (Nayyem, Mustafa) (March 19, 2007). "Американські технологи на службі у Януковича" [American technologists at Yanukovych's service]. Ukrayinska Pravda ( (in Ukrainian). Retrieved 7 August 2021.
  13. ^ Лещенко, Сергей (Leshchenko, Serhiy) (March 23, 2017). "Коррупционная ось Януковича-Манафорта" [Corruption axis of Yanukovych-Manafort]. НВ ( (in Russian). Retrieved 7 August 2021.
  14. ^ Partners in Political PR Firm Typify Republican New Breed, Thomas B. Edsall, April 7, 1985
  15. ^ Thomas, Evan (1986-03-03). "The Slickest Shop in Town". Time. ISSN 0040-781X. Retrieved 2017-11-02.

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