Welcome to Foreign Lobby Report’s end-of-the-day roundup, where you’ll find all our latest stories plus links to related Washington news.
Ex-US ambassador lobbies UK to decolonize Diego Garcia
A new US lobbying filing reveals fresh details about the growing international pressure campaign on the United Kingdom to abandon its control over an Indian Ocean archipelago that is home to a secretive US Navy base.
The east African nation of Mauritius hired former US ambassador to Germany Richard Burt and his Washington advocacy firm McLarty Inbound last year for $35,000 per month to help Mauritius gain sovereignty over the Chagos archipelago, a group of 60 tropical islands including Diego Garcia. The United States has leased Diego Garcia from Britain since 1966 in a secret deal signed after the British separated the Chagos islands ahead of Mauritius’ looming independence and exiled its inhabitants. The lease was extended in 2016 for another 20 years, until 2036.
Burt and fellow lobbyist Frances Burwell have been retained by Mauritius’ UN delegation “to promote the foreign principal’s objective to exercise its sovereignty over the Chagos Archipelago and to have such sovereignty recognized by other governments.” The pair have since been lobbying British lawmakers and think tank leaders, according to a lobbying filing for the six months through May 29. The filing is particularly interesting as it sheds light on lobbying efforts in the United Kingdom, which does not share the United States’ relatively strong lobbying disclosure requirements.
Read the full story here.
NEW IN LOBBYING
Mercury pulls five lobbyists off foreign accounts
Mercury Public Affairs has pulled five of its lobbyists off foreign accounts, including a former top aide to a US senator just two days before he started representing the government of Haiti.
The terminations are disclosed in a new lobbying filing that was signed by Mercury counsel Leonardo Dosoretz on May 28. Among those no longer conducting political activities on behalf of foreign clients is Adam Bramwell, the former chief of staff to Senate Foreign Relations Committee member Chris Coons (D-Del.), who had registered as a Haiti lobbyist on March 26.
Also affected are:
- Michael Crittenden, who had been registered to lobby for former British energy minister Gregory Barker, the executive chairman of Russian energy and metals giant En+ Group;
- Erica Dumas, formerly registered to lobby for Libya’s Government of National Accord and the Turkey-US Business Council (TAIK);
- Siobhan Harley, who had been lobbying for the Libyan government; and
- Steven Hilton, who had been registered to lobby for Barker, the Turkey-US Business Council, the Libyan government and the Turkish Embassy in Washington.
In addition, Senior Vice President Deirdre Stach has stopped representing Barker’s En+ Group. She continues to lobby for the government of Libya, Zimbawe’s ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Trade (through Mercury International UK), the Turkey-US Business Council, Nnamdi Kanu of the Indigenous
People of Biafra and partially state-owned Chinese video surveillance manufacturer Hikvision USA.
Mercury did not respond to a request for comment about the changes.
ODDS AND ENDS
NEW FOREIGN LOBBYING FILINGS (FARA)
Saudi Arabia: New York-based KARV Communications is in the process of negotiating a new contract with Saudi Arabia‘s Public Investment Fund. The firm received $456,000 from the $320 billion sovereign wealth fund for “investor and public relations advice and counsel” in the six months through April. During that time KARV was also paid $240,000 by the Emirate of Ras al-Khaimah (United Arab Emirates) for public affairs and communications advice.
Hungary: Greenberg Traurig stopped representing the Embassy of Hungary in Washington effective Jan. 30. Lobbyists for the firm met with Rep. Marc Veasey (D-Texas) on Nov. 14, according to the firm’s filing for the six months through April. Greenberg received $84,000 from the embassy in that period.
Cyprus: KARV Communications terminated its work for the Association of Cyprus Banks (ACB) via Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman on Dec. 31, 2019, according to a newly disclosed lobbying filing. The New York public relations firm started representing the association in August 2019 and received a total of $115,000, including $46,000 after the termination date. Pillsbury continues to represent the association.
Japan: Greenberg Traurig stopped representing the Consulate General of Japan in New York effective March 31. The firm received $48,000 from the consulate during the six months through April.
Turkey: New filings from Turkey lobby firm Greenberg Traurig and its subcontractor Venable shed new light on Ankara’s scramble to try to mitigate congressional retaliation following its October 2019 incursion against US-backed Kurdish forces in northern Syria. Greenberg lobbyists met with Senate Foreign Relations Chairman Jim Risch (R-Idaho) on Nov. 18 and committee member Tim Kaine (D-Va.) on Nov. 21, according to the firm’s lobbying disclosure for the six months through April. In February they met with Sens. Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) and Rand Paul (R-Ky.) and with Reps. Ted Yoho (R-Fla.), Guy Reschenthaler (R-Penn.), Steve Chabot (R-Ohio) and John Garamendi (D-Calif.). They also “spoke with” Sen. Chris Coons (D-Del.). The Turkish government paid Greenberg $769,000 during the period. The firm in turn disbursed $216,000 to subcontractor Capitol Counsel and $135,000 to LB International Solutions. In addition, former Sen. Tim Hutchinson, a Republican from Arkansas who had lobbied on the account, left Greenberg on April 30.
Meanwhile Venable lobbyist and former Rep. Bart Stupak, Democrat of Michigan, spoke by phone with Senate Armed Services Committee member Joe Mancin (D-W.Va.) on Nov. 21 and Dec. 5. Stupak also sought to speak with Senate Foreign Relations Committee members Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), Chris Coons (D-Del.), Tom Udall (D-N.M.), Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), Tim Kaine (D-Va.) and Ed Markey (D-Mass.) on the issue, according to a lobbying filing for the six months through April. On Nov. 21 Venable helped arrange a meeting for Turkish Ambassador Serdar Kilic with Kaine to discuss US-Turkish relations. During the period Venable received $135,000 from Greenberg.
Kazakhstan: Lobbyists for Greenberg Traurig met with the following lawmakers during the six months through April on behalf of the Ministry of Justice of Kazakhstan: Sen. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.); Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.); Sen. Mike Rounds (R-S.D.); Rep. Mike Conaway (R-Texas); Rep. Bob Latta (R-Ohio); Rep. Robert Aderholt (R-Ala.); Rep. Steve Chabot (R-Ohio); Rep. John Carter (R-Texas); Rep. Glenn Thompson (R-Penn.); Rep. Gregory Meeks (D-N.Y.). The ministry paid the firm $496,000 during that period.
Kurdistan Regional Government: Lobbyists for Greenberg Traurig met with Senate Armed Services Committee ranking member Jack Reed (D-R.I.) and House Armed Services Committee member Deb Haaland (D-N.M.) during the six months through April on behalf of the Kurdistan Regional Government. They also spoke with Rep. Jennifer Wexton (D-Va.). The KRG paid Greenberg $200,000 during the period.
Qatar: Former Rep. Bart Stupak (D-Mich.) met with House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Eliot Engel (D-N.Y.) on Dec. 4 to discuss Middle East tensions, according to a lobbying filing for Washington law firm Venable covering the six months through April. And on Jan. 28, Venable helped arrange a meeting for Qatari Ambassador Meshal bin Hamad Al Thani with Rep. Tom Graves (R-Ga.) to discuss bilateral relations. During that period the Embassy of Qatar in Washington paid Venable $275,000.
Mexico: Mexico’s agriculture ministry paid Greenberg Traurig $214,000 in the six months through April to lobby on a US ban against Mexican seafood imports aimed at protecting the critically endangered vaquita porpoise. Mexico’s economy ministry meanwhile paid $108,000 to help coordinate a meeting with US International Trade Commission Chairman David Johanson.
Afghanistan: Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation Zalmay Khalilzad travels to Afghanistan, Pakistan and Qatar.
Canada: H.Q. Energy Services (US), the US subsidiary of Quebec public utility HQ Energy Services, has applied for authorization to transmit electric energy from the United States to Canada pursuant to the Federal Power Act. Make sure to read our deep dive into HQ Energy’s controversial foray into a Maine vote over the proposed construction of a transmission to New England.
US Ambassador to the UN Kelly Craft held a remote briefing with reporters on US engagement at the Security Council; Special Representative Jim Jeffrey offered a readout from this week’s virtual meeting of ministers of the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS Small Group.
IN OTHER NEWS
Ireland: Former Sinn Fein president Gerry Adams calls on Irish-Americans to lobby for unification referendum in online conversation with former Rep. Joe Crowley, D-N.Y. (Source: Irish Times).
Qatar: Lachlan Markay over at the Daily Beast follows up on our scoop about the Qatar America Institute‘s foreign agent registration to highlight a $180,000 payment to conservative talk radio host and former Trump campaign official John Fredericks.