- Qatar-focused think tank says it’s not lobbying after all; Hungary drops a connection with Trump’s base; UAE raises alarm bells over Turkey in Libya; Ex-aide to Paul Ryan lobbies on immigration for Japan
Qatar-funded think tank moves to drop ‘lobbyist’ label
It’s fair to assume the Qatar-America Institute hasn’t been too happy about all the recent news stories labeling it a Qatari shill since the Department of Justice made it register as a foreign agent (read our scoop on that here.)
After replacing its dual-hatted former chairman / embassy adviser with a pedigreed leader of cultural institutions, the nonprofit now insists that it’s leaving the lobbying label behind. In a statement released on Friday, the institute insists that going forward it “does not intend” to carry out any activities that require registration under the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA) going forward.
Read our story here.
Hungary drops firm that connected right-wing government to Trump base
One of the firms that helped connect America First with Hungary First has stopped lobbying for Viktor Orban‘s right-wing government.
The Hungarian Embassy in Washington had hired Policy Impact Communications in October 2018 as Orban’s government sought to end its years-long Washington blacklisting over its anti-immigrant policies and authoritarian tendencies. The firm founded by former Ronald Reagan administration speechwriter Bill Nixon notably helped score an interview for Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto on Fox News personality Tucker Carlson‘s show ahead of Orban’s May 2019 visit to the White House.
Read our story here.
UAE lobbyist issues warning on Turkey’s role in Libya
Akin Gump lobbyist Hagir Elawad distributed a message from United Arab Emirates Ambassador Yousef al-Otaiba to an undisclosed list of recipients this week sharing the UAE’s assessment that Turkey has “brought in 15,200 terrorists/extremists from Syria into Libya.”
The warning comes as Ankara’s intervention on the side of the UN-backed government in Tripoli has routed the self-proclaimed Libyan National Army of UAE-backed eastern strongman Khalifa Haftar. Facing defeat on the battlefield, the LNA is also losing diplomatic influence and has ended its US lobbying, Foreign Lobby Report first reported here.
Elawad goes on to say that conflict between Turkey and Egypt looms on the horizon if Turkey doesn’t pull back.
“Egypt will NOT allow a Muslim Brotherhood-supporting country to set up shop on its border,” she wrote. “That is an existential threat to them.That would be the equivalent of having China in place of Canada, and Russia in place of Mexico.”
Read the warning here.
NEW FOREIGN LOBBYING FILINGS (FARA)
Saudi Arabia: Akin Gump has belatedly informed the Justice Department that it stopped lobbying for Saudi Arabia’s $360 billion Public Investment Fund (PIF) 18 months ago.
Japan: Akin Gump has added senior policy adviser Casey Higgins to its account with the Japanese Embassy in Washington. Higgins is a former assistant to ex-House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) on policy and trade. She will lobby on immigration policy.
United Arab Emirates: Akin Gump lobbyist Hagir Elawad distributed a message from UAE Ambassador Yousef al-Otaiba to an undisclosed list of recipients this week assessing that Turkey has “brought in 15,200 terrorists/extremists from Syria into Libya” and that Egypt is
Read the warning here.
Ireland: Friends of Sinn Fein has disclosed itineraries for two members of Ireland’s Sinn Fein party — UK MP John Finucane and Sinn Fein representative to the US Ciaran Quinn — for a January trip to the US. The two men were notably expected to participate in meetings with National Security Council and State Department officials, in addition to congressional staffers. Meetings were also scheduled with associate editor Niall Stanage of The Hill, as well as the Ad Hoc Brexit Committee at law firm K&L Gates. The firm also disclosed a March itinerary for Quinn but he did not end up traveling to the US because of the “seriousness of current public health concerns.”
Marshall Islands: Akin Gump continues its efforts to get Republican support for health coverage for citizens of the Marshall Islands as part of COVID-19 relief. The firm wrote to Senate Finance Committee Chairman Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) on June 10 to follow up on a letter from Ambassador Gerald Zackios. The US ally wants Congress to fix a decades-old US law that inadvertently cut off Medicaid benefits for tens of thousands of islanders living in the United States. Read our story about the campaign here.
Monaco: The director of the Monaco Government Tourism and Convention Authority, Guy Antognelli, took over as director of the authority’s New York office on Feb. 19. He replaces Cindy Hoddeson. In the six months through March the authority’s New York office received $650,000 from the principality to promote the micro-state in the United States and beyond.
Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus: Mehmet Dana took over from Ismet Korukoglu as the New York representative of the self-proclaimed Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus on June 18.
Aruba: Zeno Group employee Jenna Restieri has registered as a foreign agent on the New York PR firm’s account with the Aruba Tourism Authority.
NEW DOMESTIC LOBBYING FILINGS (LDA)
Japan: The Energy Advance Center, a coalition of energy and power giants working on carbon capture, has hired Williams and Jensen to lobby on the carbon capture project tax credit and “federal regulation of and incentives for [carbon capture, utilization, and storage] development.” George Baker and Christopher Hatcher will lobby on the account. The US subsidiary of Japan-based Mitsubishi Heavy Industries is a member of the coalition, which has conducted in-house lobbying since January 2019. EWSA and Hunton Andrews Kurth previously lobbied for the coalition.