It was revealed last month that Prime Minister Viktor Orbán’s top advisor Árpád Habony (pictured, left) was the 50 percent owner of Hungary’s new right-wing, pro-government media empire,
This week it was revealed that Habony recently incorporated a company in the United Kingdom, and that his partner in the venture is the renowned Republican strategic political consulting firm Arthur J. Finkelstein & Associates, Inc.
Specializing in negative campaigning, Arthur Finkelstein’s (pictured, right) past clients include Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan, Strom Thurmond, George Pataki, and more. He is generally “credited” with making “liberal” a four letter word during Ronald Reagan’s presidential campaign.
The Habony-Finkelstein business, known formally as Danube Business Consulting Ltd., was incorporated in March 24, 2015, and is based at 20-22 Wenlock Road in London.
RTL Klub contacted the company’s chief executive to find out whether he personally knows the elusive Habony. The man, known as Gyula Laczko, said he had never met Habony in person. Laczko said he doesn’t think it is strange that he, as the company’s chief executive, had never met the company’s owners, and declined to comment on the business activities of Danube Business Consulting Ltd.
Caught in a lie?
On Friday Prime Minister Viktor Orbán told RTL Klub Finkelstein was an “exceptional and well known expert” that he was in regular contact with him. When asked when the two last met, the Prime Minister answered “two days ago”.
Depending on how one defines “working relationship”, Orbán’s comments seem to contradict the statement issued the previous day by his press officer, Bertalán Havasi, according to which “(n)either the Prime Minister, nor the Office of the Prime Minister has a working relationship with Arthur J. Finkelstein.”
That same day, at his weekly press conference, Orbán’s right hand man, János Lázár, the minister responsible for running the Chancellory, denied knowing who Arthur J. Finkelstein was or whether such an individual ever worked for Fidesz or the government.
The Századveg connection
Fidesz originally hired Finkelstein through the party’s think-tank, the Századvég Foundation, which has been accused of fencing public funds to various political consultants. The connection between Habony and Finkelstein may stem from Habony’s close ties with Századvég.
Connie Mack IV works for Századvég
Washington’s revolving door provides many opportunities for those with alternative political agendas to make use of washed-up politicians.
Meet Florida’s 14th congressional district former congressman, Cornelius Harvey McGillicuddy IV, popularly known as “Connie Mack”.
As Florida’s Tampa Bay Times reports, prior to entering politics Connie Mack IV made his bones as a marketing consultant for Hooters. If half of what the Tampa Bay Times reports is true, Cornelius Harvey McGillicuddy IV was a problem child (and continued to be as an adult).
His father, Senator Connie Mack III has Finkelstein to thank for getting him elected to the US House and Senate and keeping him in office. In one interview, the elder Mack even refers to Finklestein as “my political consultant and dear friend”.
Upon his retirement from the Senate in 2001, Finkelstein helped his son get elected to Congress in 2004, a post Connie Mack IV held until 2013 before dropping out mid-term to run for a seat in the Senate, a race he ended up losing to Democrat Bill Nelson.
Last year Századvég was awarded a contract by the Hungarian Prime Minister’s Office to undertake lobbying activities in Washington, D.C. on behalf of the Hungarian government. In turn, Századvég hired former US Congressman Connie Mack IV (contract available here and here) to do the work for them.
While there is no proof (yet) that Habony, Finkelstein and Connie Mack IV are in cahoots, it would not be surprising to learn that one of the objectives of Danube Business Consulting Ltd. is to lobby United States Congressmen and Senators on behalf of Viktor Orbán and Fidesz.