- Zimbabwe fights sanctions; Twitter dragged into intra-Saudi feud; More than 50 ex-lawmakers lobbying for foreign clients; Korea trade group gets new president; FARA discloses UAE contract with Glover Park
Zimbabwe had hoped that the Donald Trump administration would ease off on sanctions after the 2018 elections cemented Robert Mugabe‘s removal from office. But with human rights and other abuses still rampant, the late strongman’s successor is turning to an army of lobbyists to get his point of view across.
In the latest move, Mercury Public Affairs has revealed that it has extended its contract with Zimbabwe’s foreign ministry for another year. The move comes as Zimbabwe seeks to cleave the US away from its former British colonial master, which Harare accuses of being behind the international sanctions campaign.
Get the full picture of the south African nation’s lobbying and public relations apparatus here.
Twitter has been dragged into the Washington feud pitting Saudi dissident Ali al-Ahmed against the government of Saudi Arabia and its US agents.
Ahmed, the director of the now-dormant Institute for Gulf Affairs in Washington, sued the social media giant in US district court in New York on Monday. He accuses Twitter of failing to protect his account from being hacked and refusing to reinstate an account that has been suspended since 2018, alleging that Saudi funding for the company played a part.
Ahmed is represented in the suit by Gerstman Schwartz, a New York law firm founded by Bradley Gerstman and David Schwartz. The same duo that’s lobbying for his Institute for Gulf Affairs in its battle against the pro-Riyadh Saudi American Public Relation Affairs Committee (SAPRAC), which he has also sued. Read more here.
Report: More than 50 ex-lawmakers lobbying for foreign interests since 2015
Here’s a story you won’t want to miss. NBCLX dug through thousands of disclosure records since 2015 to compile a master list of more than 50 former members of Congress lobbying for foreign clients.
Topping the list of employers: Turkey, which alone has hired a dozen ex-lawmakers. But plenty of other foreign clients are also hiring, including Chinese companies threatened with sanctions and controversial countries like Saudi Arabia.
Former lawmakers who spoke to NBCLX had a wide variety of opinions about the nature of their work as well as the requirements of the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA). Some said their disclosures were indicative of a transparent system, while others agreed the law could be strengthened. The overwhelming majority — more than 80% — declined to speak to the outlet at all.
NEW FOREIGN LOBBYING FILINGS (FARA)
United Arab Emirates: The Justice Department’s FARA unit has now attached the Glover Park Group‘s US opinion survey contract with the UAE embassy. The contract is for $35,000 for one month. Read our story from Monday here.
South Korea: Sang Jun Lee took over from Seokmin Jang as president of the Korea International Trade Association in New York on Feb. 20. The association reported $621,000 in receipts for the six months through May and $527,000 in expenses.
South Korea: Los Angeles-based KBS America reported $3.1 million in receipts and $3.2 million in expenses on behalf of the Korean Broadcasting System, the nation’s national public broadcaster, in the six months through May.
NEW DOMESTIC LOBBYING FILINGS (LDA)
Canadian space launch company C6 Launch Systems has hired the Livingston Group to lobby on commercial space launch issues. The registration is effective June 24. Registered to lobby are the firm’s founder, former congressman Bob Livingston, Republican of Louisiana; founding partners J. Allen Martin and Paul Cambon; and Brian Glackin, the former deputy director of the Navy’s appropriations office.
Airbus subsidiary Airbus Americas paid Richard Hohlt $35,000 in the second quarter of 2020 to lobby Congress on a range of aeronautical and other issues. Hohlt is also registered as a foreign agent for the Saudi Embassy in Washington.