The Washington Free Beacon, a new website on the right, has a particular fascination with promoting weapon sales to Taiwan. In addition to daily hits on the Obama administration and Democrats, the Free Beacon has multiple posts calling for more F-16 fighter jet sales to the island nation, and has branded skeptics of militarization as "pro-China" activists.
The site, however, fails to disclose the fact that its sponsor is a lobbyist for a firm dedicated to helping Taiwan advance its policy agenda.
Michael Goldfarb, a former Republican staffer and writer, founded the Free Beacon with "several million dollars" in January of this year. Listed as the chairman of the 501(c) group that sponsors the Free Beacon website, Goldfarb is also a partner at the lobbying and public relations firm Orion Strategies, LLC.
The contract between the Taiwanese ambassador and Goldfarb's firm, renewed last year for a period that ends on September 30, 2012, stipulates that Orion will be paid $180,000 a year to "provide advice and consulting services concerning Taiwan's strategic goals."
Orion's advocacy, according to disclosures filed with the Justice Department, has centered on promoting US authorization to sell Lockheed Martin F-16 fighter jets to Taiwan. Mike Mitchell, Goldfarb's partner at Orion, makes weekly calls to Congress to press lawmakers and their staff on the issue, from arranging Congressional visits to Taiwan to prepping for Senate hearings.