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Daily Digest for Friday, June 12

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.


Turkish businesses seek to mend US-Turkey ties with anti-China lobbying pitch

Turkey’s oldest business council announced on Twitter Friday that Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) has agreed to participate in a webinar next week touting the country’s potential as a trading alternative to China.

The event is a major win for the Turkey-US Business Council (TAIK): Graham not only sits on key foreign relations panels, but he is also one of the few lawmakers to have President Donald Trump‘s ear on national security issues. His assent follows a campaign by TAIK to take advantage of souring US-China ties amid the coronavirus pandemic to present Turkey as a more reliable trading partner, notably for potential joint ventures in Africa.

“With the US shift on China, Turkey and the United States see a mutually beneficial opportunity here that’s both geopolitically strategically smart, but also financially mutually beneficial to both of them,” a source close to the issue told Foreign Lobby Report. “So yes, the effort to tamp down China’s economic influence in a semi-untapped market like Africa, Turkey is absolutely going down that road. And they’re going to talk about it next Wednesday in full.”

Read more here.



Canadian cannabis grower ramps up lobbying in search of US market high

A leading Canadian cannabis company has hired a second lobbying firm as it looks to the bountiful US market to try to right its struggling business.

Canopy Growth Corporation of Smith Falls, Ontario, has hired Cozen O’Connor Public Strategies effective May 1 to lobby on “cannabis and hemp agricultural issues” as well as two specific bills to roll back federal restrictions on the industry. Lobbying on the account are Cozen O’Connor Chairman Mark Alderman, a former aide to ex-Sen. Evan Bayh, Democrat of Indiana, along with Kaitlyn Martin and Patrick Martin.

They join Erik Huey and his firm Platinum Advisors DC, which has been lobbying for Canopy since June 2019. Huey was previously a top lobbyist at the Entertainment Software Association.

Read more here.



Former House Budget Committee staff director Thomas Kahn is the latest to join the tangled lobbying battle over the disputed elections in the impoverished but oil-rich South American nation of Guyana. Kahn was hired effective May 4 as a subcontractor to the Cormac Group, which is lobbying for the International Center for Democracy, a New York nonprofit that supports the opposition People’s Progressive Party (PPP). The PPP itself hired Mercury Public Affairs last year, while the ruling coalition hired JJ&B in April amid a tense recount of the general election held in March. Kahn brings unquestioned credentials to the role, having previously served as an election observer and election consultant in Russia, Bulgaria, El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras. For more on the Guyana lobbying showdown, read our June 3 story here.


The House Foreign Affairs Committee this week disclosed the list of lawmakers who went on congressional delegations in the first quarter of the year:


  • Sudan (Jan. 22-26): Reps. Karen Bass (D-Calif.) and Jim Sensenbrenner (R-Wisc.);
  • Ethiopia (Feb. 8-10): Rep. Karen Bass (D-Calif.)

(Bass chairs the Africa, Global Health, Global Human Rights, and International Organizations subcommittee)


  • Guyana (Jan. 21-22): Reps. Albio Sires (D-N.J.) and Gregory Meeks (D-N.Y.)

(Sires chairs the Western Hemisphere, Civilian Security, and Trade subcommittee)


  • Sri Lanka (Feb. 15-17): Rep. Ami Bera (D-Calif.);
  • India (Feb. 17-20): Rep. Ami Bera (D-Calif.);
  • Nepal (Feb. 20-23): Rep. Ami Bera (D-Calif.)

(Bera chairs the Asia, the Pacific, and Nonproliferation subcommittee)


  • Germany (Feb. 14-16): Rep. Tom Malinowski (D-N.J.)
  • Austria (Feb. 17-22): Rep. Gregory Meeks (D-N.Y.)
  • United Kingdom (Feb. 22-23): Rep. Gregory Meeks (D-N.Y.)


Israeli-American billionaire Haim Saban consulted UAE Ambassador Yousef al-Otaiba on his open message to the Israeli public against annexing the West Bank and helped publish it in Yedioth Ahronoth, Israel’s largest newspaper, Channel 13 News correspondent Barack Ravid reported on Twitter. Saban is notably a major donor to the Brookings Institution, whose Middle East center is named after him.

The American-Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) is lobbying for legislation to deepen cooperation on coronavirus treatments between the United States and Israel, Al-Monitor’s Bryant Harris and Aaron Schaffer report.