Republican candidate for Congress Jim Bognet speaks ahead of former President Donald Trump at a rally in Wilkes-Barre, Pa., Saturday, Sept. 3, 2022. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)
Republican candidate for Congress Jim Bognet speaks ahead of former President Donald Trump at a rally in Wilkes-Barre, Pa., Saturday, Sept. 3, 2022. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)

Trump-endorsed US House candidate Jim Bognet, who is running against incumbent Matt Cartwright to represent NEPA, once lobbied to defeat a bill designed to make it possible for Americans to sue the Saudi government for their involvement in the 9/11 attacks.

Before Republican Jim Bognet, the GOP candidate for Congress in Pennsylvania’s 8th District, joined the Trump Administration, he worked as a Senior VP at Glover Park Group, widely understood to be Saudi Arabia’s most powerful lobbying firm in Washington, DC.

During Bognet’s time there, one of GPG’s major projects involved lobbying to defeat the Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act, a bill designed to make it possible for Americans to sue the Saudi government for their involvement in the 9/11 attacks. While the bill eventually passed, Bognet’s firm worked diligently to kill it, and they were paid well by the Saudi government to do so.

Recently, a group called House Majority PAC launched an ad campaign targeting Bognet over his firm’s efforts to help Saudi Arabia avoid any consequences related to their government’s involvement in the attacks. The first ad pulls no punches.

While the lobbying efforts are in no way illegal, helping anyone who bears responsibility for the 9/11 attacks is something that isn’t going to sit well with voters, especially when the candidate in question is a hardcore MAGA Republican who unironically uses 9/11 and the “Never Forget” hashtag to promote himself on the campaign trail.

Bognet was the first candidate in this cycle to receive former President Donald Trump’s endorsement, and he is running against incumbent Democrat Matt Cartwright, who has represented Pennsylvania’s 8th District since 2012. The 8th District includes Joe Biden’s hometown of Scranton, and while Cartwright defeated Bognet by 4 points there in 2020, it is a top Republican target this cycle.

Bognet entered the political world in very moderate circles, working for Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and then for former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney, but he has recently taken a hard right turn and embraced the extreme ideologies of the MAGA base while saying the words “Trump endorsed” as often as possible.

While just about any American citizen can run for Congress, and the former President can endorse whoever he likes, it is difficult not to see the irony in the fact that the guy telling us to #NeverForget actually wants us to forget quite a bit.