Former Congressman lobbied for return of American citizen wrapped up in Colombian corruption case

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Former Rep. Connie Mack IV (Right) was hired by Luis Andrade to raise awareness about his ongoing legal situation in Colombia. (Melina Mara/The Washington Post via Getty Images)

Luis Andrade, a U.S. citizen who maintains his innocence regarding corruption charges in Colombia, hired former Rep. Connie Mack IV (R-Fla.), a four-term congressman and the great-grandson of Baseball Hall of Famer Connie Mack, to “rais[e] awareness in Congress of the unfair prosecution and imprisonment” of Andrade, according to a recent lobbying registration. Andrade, a former senior partner at the influential McKinsey & Company consulting firm, was held for months under house arrest in Colombia after being accused by Colombian officials in one of the country’s biggest bribery cases.

Even though his legal battle is still ongoing, Andrade was able to return to the U.S. in December, Emily Moreno, a spokeswoman for the family told the Center for Responsive Politics (CRP). She explained that Colombian laws permit someone to leave house arrest if the prosecution fails to introduce “crucial evidence” by 12 months after house arrest begins.

According to a biography on his personal website, Andrade was born in New Orleans and grew up in Florida before graduating from the University of Pennsylvania and the University of Florida. He went on to spend 25 years at McKinsey, at one point leading the Latin American Financial Sector Practice for the firm.

In 2011, Andrade left McKinsey to go work for the National Concessions Institute in Colombia’s public sector where he created the National Infrastructure Agency (ANI), a much-lauded and successful public-private partnership. The massive Odebrecht construction scandal broke in 2016 and while ANI had some older contracts with Odebrecht from 2009 that predated Andrade, the Colombian attorney general still charged him. The charges Andrade faces include “undue interest in the awarding of a contract” and destruction of evidence. He is not charged with accepting bribes, rather he is accused of being influenced by those who did take bribes.

Questions regarding the impartiality of the attorney general also surround the case. Attorney General Nestor Humberto Martinez, who denies any conflict of interest, was the legal advisor for a company connected to Odebrecht and is accused of covering up bribes. Andrade also attests on his website that he believes Martinez has “significant conflicts of interest.”

Moreno said Andrade plans to continue to fight the charges “until his name is cleared.”

“We are concerned for the safety of our family and others involved in the case,” she explained. “However, we are thankful to the United States for the continued support.”

A State Department spokesperson told CRP, “The welfare and safety of U.S. citizens abroad is one of the highest priorities of the Department of State. Whenever a U.S. citizen is arrested or detained overseas, we stand ready to provide all appropriate consular services. Due to privacy considerations, we have no further comment.”

Moreno praised the work Mack had done thus far in elevating Andrade’s story to members of Congress. The family was drawn to hiring Mack because of his experience as the former chairman of the House Subcommittee on the Western Hemisphere. Monroe said the Andrade family now “embraces Connie as family.”  

On Mack’s Twitter page, he specifically thanked Rep. Hal Rogers (R-Ky.) as well as Special Presidential Envoy for Hostage Affairs Robert O’Brien, Secretary of State Pompeo and President Donald Trump for their assistance in supporting Andrade and securing his return to the United States.

Mack passed through the revolving door shortly after his 2012 Senate defeat to now-former Sen. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.). According to the Center for Responsive Politics’ Foreign Lobby Watch tool, one of Mack’s other clients is the government of Hungary. He also was a registered lobbyist for ZTE, the controversial Chinese telecoms company also represented by former Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) and a number of other revolving door figures.   

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