A retiring U.S. congressman is in talks for a job with a group funded by the Azerbaijani government, which has beefed up its lobbying efforts in Washington in recent years.
U.S. Representative Jim Moran (Democrat-Virginia) is negotiating employment with the Assembly of Friends of Azerbaijan (AFAZ), according to a report by the Sunlight Foundation, a U.S. nongovernmental organization advocating greater transparency and accountability in government.
AFAZ is financed "in major part" by Azerbaijan's state-owned oil company SOCAR, according to a U.S. federal lobbying disclosure filed last April.
Oil-rich Azerbaijan has expanded its U.S. lobbying presence amid increasing criticism of its human rights record from Western officials and rights groups.
Azerbaijan has arrested and jailed several prominent human rights activists and journalists this year in cases widely seen as politically motivated.