COMMENT Many foreign governments sign contracts with American public relations and lobbying firms. So it is not unusual for the Malaysian government to sign a contract with Apco for services in the United States.
In contrast to the Jack Abramoff scandal - when the Malaysian embassy hid its role by making illegal payments to a fake think-tank in Delaware - Apco has registered with the US Department of Justice as an agent of a foreign government.
In its official report, Apco says that it is being paid US$70,000 per month, plus up to US$20,000 a month in expenses for the services that it is providing for the Malaysian government in the United States. So altogether, that is about US$1 million per year. That is not an unusual amount for such a contract.
The Malaysian government, however, has said that the value of the contract with Apco is US$24 million (RM77 million) per year. If only US$1 million is being spent in the United States, then what is the other US$23 million (RM74 million) being used for in Malaysia?