Former LA Weekly publisher Michael Sigman has optioned the film rights to that piece about Washington lobbyists in Harper's by reporter Ken Silverstein, who posed as a customer to nab the K Street faithful offering to do all kinds of sleazy things for him. The piece has spurred debates about the ethics of undercover reporting, but Sigman likes what he saw. "It's bad enough to be a lobbyist for the tobacco industry, but some of these these guys are mass murderers," he tells Variety. "I've never seen anything like this."
[Silverstein] posed as "Kenneth Case," a London-based executive with the fictional Maldon Group, an energy firm with a stake in exploiting the natural gas reserves in Turkmenistan, which is led by a dictatorial regime. The idea was to improve the regime's image and spur business development there.
With fake business cards, a London cell phone number and a bogus website, he was able to land meetings with a few K Street firms, and get them to lay out their plans for how they would spin U.S. government officials, journalists and others into drawing favorable policies and news coverage for the Turkmen regime.
Silverstein, incidentally, was a reporter for the L.A. Times before he became Harper's Washington editor.