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Black, Manafort, Stone and Kelly

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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

Black, Manafort, Stone and Kelly (BMSK, often simply Black, Manafort, and Stone) was a lobbying firm based in Washington, D.C., and formed in 1980 by Roger Stone, Paul Manafort and Charles Black and purchased in 1991 by Burson-Marsteller. The firm lobbied on behalf of prominent Republicans, businesses and foreign governments.[1]


As Black, Manafort & Stone, the firm was one of the first political consulting groups to work for Ronald Reagan's presidential candidacy in 1980,[2] and would later also have extensive connections to the presidential administrations of George H. W. Bush and Bill Clinton.[3] Donald Trump was this firm's first client.[4][5]

In 1984 it was renamed to Black, Manafort, Stone and Kelly (BMSK) & associates, after Peter G. Kelly was recruited.[6]

The firm advised, represented, and lobbied the US Congress on behalf of, numerous foreign governments and heads of state from both representative democracies and unelected dictatorships including dictator Ferdinand Marcos of the Philippines,[7][8] Mohamed Siad Barre of Somalia, dictator Mobutu Sese Seko of Zaire,[9][10] and Jonas Savimbi of Angola. According to "The Torturers' Lobby", a report published by The Center for Public Integrity, by 1991-1992 their work with dictators brought in $3.3 million in those 2 years.[11]

During the 1988 presidential campaign in the United States, it was disclosed that BMSK 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.[2]

Domestically the firm represented Bethlehem Steel, Rupert Murdoch's News Corp, The Tobacco Institute, and 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.[12]

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.[13][14] Manafort left in 1995 to start a new firm.[15] 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 oligarch Rinat Akhmetov's First Ukrainian International Bank (PUMB) (Ukrainian: Перший український міжнародний банк (ПУМБ)).[16][17]




  • 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.[18][19]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "How Manafort and Stone created the mess Trump said he'd drain". The Washington Post. November 29, 2018.
  2. ^ a b "A Political Power Broker", The New York Times, June 21, 1989
  3. ^ 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.
  4. ^ Brannen, Kate (October 30, 2017). "A Timeline of Paul Manafort's Relationship with the Trump World". Justsecurity.org. Archived from the original on 8 August 2021. Retrieved 7 August 2021.
  5. ^ Brenner, Marie (June 28, 2017). "How Donald Trump and Roy Cohn's Ruthless Symbiosis Changed America". Vanity Fair. Archived from the original on 8 August 2021. Retrieved 7 August 2021. Their first client, Stone recalled, was none other than Donald Trump, who retained him, irrespective of any role Manafort might have had in the firm, for help with federal issues such as obtaining a permit from the Army Corps of Engineers to dredge the channel to the Atlantic City marina to accommodate his yacht, the Trump Princess.
  6. ^ Choate, Pat (1990). Agents of Influence. Simon and Schuster. pp. 307. ISBN 0671743392.
  7. ^ "Paul Manafort's Wild and Lucrative Philippine Adventure". Politico. Retrieved August 15, 2016.
  8. ^ "Black, Manafort, Stone and Kelly, Public Affairs Company document for U.S. Department of Justice" (PDF). U.S. Foreign Agents Registration Act website (FARA.gov). Retrieved August 15, 2016.
  9. ^ "Mobutu in Search of an Image Boost". Washington Post. Retrieved August 15, 2016.
  10. ^ "Explainer: Who is Roger Stone and why does he face prison?". Reuters. 2020-02-19. Retrieved 2023-05-10.
  11. ^ Brogan, Pamela (1992). The Torturer's Lobby: How Human Rights-Abusing Nations Are Represented in Washington (PDF). Center for Public Integrity. ISBN 0-9629012-9-6. Retrieved January 27, 2019. {{cite book}}: |work= ignored (help)
  12. ^ Vogel, Kenneth P. "Paul Manafort's Wild and Lucrative Philippine Adventure". POLITICO Magazine. Retrieved 2023-05-10.
  13. ^ THE CONGRESSIONAL ACCOUNTABILITY ACT OF 1995; Congressional Record Vol. 141, No. 3 (Senate - January 06, 1995)
  14. ^ Schwartz, Maralee (January 3, 1991). "PR Firm Acquires Black, Manafort". Washington Post. Retrieved 7 August 2021.
  15. ^ "Paul Manafort, American Hustler - The Atlantic". The Atlantic. 2018-02-22. Archived from the original on 2018-02-22. Retrieved 2023-05-10.
  16. ^ Найєм, Мустафа (Nayyem, Mustafa) (March 19, 2007). "Американські технологи на службі у Януковича" [American technologists at Yanukovych's service]. Ukrayinska Pravda (pravda.ua) (in Ukrainian). Retrieved 7 August 2021.{{cite news}}: CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  17. ^ Лещенко, Сергей (Leshchenko, Serhiy) (March 23, 2017). "Коррупционная ось Януковича-Манафорта" [Corruption axis of Yanukovych-Manafort]. НВ (nv.ua) (in Russian). Retrieved 7 August 2021.{{cite news}}: CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  18. ^ Partners in Political PR Firm Typify Republican New Breed, Thomas B. Edsall, April 7, 1985
  19. ^ Thomas, Evan (1986-03-03). "The Slickest Shop in Town". Time. ISSN 0040-781X. Retrieved 2017-11-02.

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