- Saudi megacity hires more PR muscle; Glover Park merges with European firms; Gephardt renews Taiwan contract; Saudi PR machine targets SD Gov. Noem
Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman‘s vision for a $500 billion futuristic city in the desert faces human-rights critics and skeptical investors.
The Neom Corporation is pushing back with a full-on public relations campaign. After Ruder Finn disclosed last month that it had been hired to promote corporate social responsibility efforts for $1.7 million, BCW has now registered its own $1.1 million PR campaign.
Read our latest scoop here.
Glover Park merges with German and British firms
The Glover Park Group is merging with two European firms, Axios reports: UK-based Finsbury and Hering Schuppener of Germany. The combined firm, launching in 2021, will be called Finsbury Glover Hering (FGH).
The combined company will reportedly include nearly 700 employees across 18 offices worldwide. This could also mean a trans-Atlantic influence boost for the firms’ foreign clients.
Here in the United States, Glover Park is registered as a foreign agent for the Embassy of the United Arab Emirates in Washington, the Embassy of Argentina in Washington, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of Morocco, the Permanent Mission of the United Arab Emirates to the United Nations, the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority and the government of the Ivory Coast (as a JWI subcontractor).
Read the Axios story here.
NEW FOREIGN LOBBYING FILINGS (FARA)
China: The Chinese Ministry of Economic Affairs’ Bureau of Foreign Trade paid Crowell & Moring International $110,000 for consultation services on general bilateral trade matters in the six months through May. Melissa Morris, a registered agent on the account, left the firm on Dec. 30.
Indonesia: Yorktown Solutions stopped lobbying for Global Axis Partnership, a group that promotes Indonesia’s economic and commercial development, on Feb. 15. The firm spoke by phone earlier that month with Reagan Hedlund at the Department of Defense regarding US-Indonesia defense issues and emailed two other DoD officials, Theo Liebreich and Christopher Johnstone. The firm did not report any payments related to the account in the six months through May.
Japan: West Virginia strategic communications firm Orion Strategies stopped representing the Embassy of Japan in Washington on March 30. The firm disclosed $90,000 in payments from the embassy during the six months through May and contacts with think-tanks as well as a phone call with Senate Appropriations Committee staffer Paul Grove.
The Japanese embassy also paid Greenfield Law of Maryland $15,000 for consulting services during the same period. The firm’s political activities focused on developing Japan-Maryland relations, including meetings with Senate President Bill Ferguson and Speaker of the House Adrienne Jones. Finally, the embassy paid Republican advocacy firm CGCN Group $82,000 during the period.
Taiwan: Gephardt Government Affairs has renewed its lobbying contract with Taiwan’s de facto embassy in Washington for another six months. The firm led by former House Majority leader Dick Gephardt, Democrat of Missouri, has represented the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office in the United States (TECRO) since 2013. The contract is for $22,000 per month, the same as before.
Georgia: Georgia’s opposition United National Movement paid West Virginia strategic communications firm Orion Strategies $125,000 in the six months through May. Lobbyists for the firm, which started working for the party in August, met with Reps. Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.) and Mike Gallagher (R-Wis.) and as well as former ambassador to NATO and special envoy to Ukraine Kurt Volker as part of a party delegation in December.
Russia: New York law firm White & Case ended its work for Russian state development corporation VEB.RF on Feb. 19. On Feb. 3, the firm participated in a meeting with US officials at the US Embassy in Moscow regarding “potential new sanctions legislation that could affect the activities of VEB.RF and to introduce VEB.RF and its development priorities to the US government authorities.” In attendance were Minister Counselor for Economic Affairs Michelle Yerkin; Deputy Economic Counselor Kate Rebholz; and Foreign Service Officer Ladislav Beranek. The firm was paid $130,000 for the six months through May.
Serbia: The Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Serbia paid Yorktown Solutions $600,000 in the six months through May. The firm reported dozens of contacts with Donald Trump administration officials and Congress regarding “US-Serbia economic issues,” including phone calls and meetings with the following people:
- Congress: Reps. Emanuel Cleaver (D-Mo.), Mike Gallagher (R-Wis.), Steve Stivers (R-Ohio) and Francis Rooney (R-Fla.); staffers Damian Murphy (Senate Foreign Relations Committee), Christina Mahoney (Rep. Cleaver), Charles Morrison (Rep. Gallagher), Jessica Elledge (Sen. Murphy), Lydia Westlake (Sen. Johnson), Joe Bartlett (Rep. Stefanik) and Mimi Bair (Rep. Stivers);
- National Security Council: Director Robert O’Brien; Director for European Affairs Amanda Ahlers; acting Senior Director for European and Russian Affairs Thomas Williams; and senior adviser Alex Gray;
- State Department: Deputy Assistant Secretary of European and Eurasian Affairs Matthew Palmer; Director of the Office of South Central Europe David Kostelancik; senior adviser Jeremy Stern; Ambassador to Serbia Anthony Godfrey; and embassy economic attache Baron Lobstein;
- Commerce Department: Deputy Assistant Secretary for Europe and Eurasia David De Falco; Office of Russia, Ukraine & Eurasia senior policy adviser Danica Starks; European desk commercial officer Michael Muth; and Marie Geiger;
- Department of Energy: Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for the Office of International Affairs Matthew Zais and senior adviser for international affairs Samuel Buchan;
- US Development Finance Corporation: Counselor leading diplomatic and interagency outreach Caleb McCarry; and
- Helsinki Commission: Economic and environmental policy adviser Paul Massaro.
Ukraine: The Ukrainian Federation of Employers of the Oil and Gas Industry and the Kyiv City Organization of Employers of the Oil and Gas Industry paid Yorktown Solutions a combined $453,000 in the six months through May. The firm reported dozens of contacts with Donald Trump administration officials and Congress regarding “US-Ukraine energy issues,” including phone calls and meetings with the following people:
- Congress: Sens. Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) and Ted Cruz (R-Texas); Reps. Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.), Marcy Kaptur (D-Ohio) and Andy Harris (R-Md.); staffers Omri Ceren (Sen. Cruz), Katherine Close (Sen. Cardin), Justin Stebbins (Sen. Johnson), Naz Durakoglu (Sen. Shaheen), Brendan Shields (House Homeland Security Committee), Luke Murry (Rep. McCarthy), Daniel Silverberg (Rep. Hoyer), Tim Daniels (Rep. Harris), Nicholas Kazvini-Gore (Rep. Kaptur), Paige Lowell, Kate Moriarty and Katie Earl;
- National Security Council: Director Robert O’Brien; acting Senior Director for European and Russian Affairs Thomas Williams; senior director for European and Russian Affairs Andrew Peek; and senior adviser Alex Gray;
- State Department: Deputy Assistant Secretary for European and Eurasian Affairs George Kent, Assistant Secretary for Energy Resources Frank Fannon, Director for Energy Diplomacy for Europe Colin Cleary, Bilateral Trade Affairs Director Robert Manogue, strategic adviser for Europe and Eurasia Tyler Brace, and Kelly Dodge;
- Energy Department: Deputy Assistant Secretary for Africa, Middle East, Europe and Eurasia Andrea Lockwood, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for the Office of International Affairs Matthew Zais, senior adviser for Russian and Eurasian Affairs Paul Tumminia, and senior adviser for international affairs Samuel Buchan;
- Treasury Department: Director for Europe and Eurasia Brian McCauley, Deputy Director for Europe and Eurasia Christopher Hodge, and economist Megan Leary;
- Commerce Department: Director of Finance and Insurance Industries Paul Thanos; and
- US Development Finance Corporation: Counselor leading diplomatic and interagency outreach Caleb McCarry.
Jordan: White & Case terminated its registration for the Kingdom of Jordan on Dec. 1, 2019. The New York law firm had advised the country on potential litigation issues in the United States since 2018 and registered under FARA in an abundance of caution. The firm did not disclose any payments for political work from Jordan in the six months through May.
Libya: Yorktown Solutions stopped lobbying for Libyan oil tycoon Hassan Tatanaki‘s Libyan United Democratic Party on Dec. 1. The firm did not disclose any political activities or payments related to the account in the six months through May.
Qatar: Paul Hamill has registered as a foreign agent of Qatar covering his time as executive director of the Qatar-America Institute in 2017-2019. The Department of Justice recently required the institute to register under FARA, as we first reported here.
Saudi Arabia: The Saudi Embassy in Washington paid Iowa public relations firm the Larson Shannahan Slifka Group (LS2 Group) $632,500 for public relations and media management services in the six months through May. The firm reported multiple contacts with regional media and South Dakota officials during the period, including two calls and a meeting earlier this year with Gov. Kristi Noem‘s chief of staff, Tony Venhuizen. Account coordinator Mary Wood stopped working on the account on Nov. 25, while senior adviser Michael Brown registered on June 28.
Saudi Arabia: Aramco Affiliated Services Company of Houston, Texas conducted no political activities and received no payments from its two foreign clients, the Saudi Arabian Oil Company (Saudi Aramco) and the government of Saudi Arabia, in the six months through May.
NEW DOMESTIC LOBBYING FILINGS (LDA)
Brazil: The Altrius Group stopped lobbying for the US section of the Brazil-US Business Council on June 1 and reported less than $5000 in fees for the second quarter. The firm had been registered to work for the business council since 2010.
Canada: Vancouver-based shipping container terminal company GCT Global Containers has hired Mercury Public Affairs to lobby. The firm is lobbying for “funding through the BUILD and PIDP discretionary grant programs administered by the USDOT.” According to the lobbying registration, which was effective March 12, the registered lobbyists on the account include Michael McSherry; Al Simpson, a former aide to US Special Envoy for Northern Ireland Mick Mulvaney; Juan Melli; and Michael Soliman, a longtime aide to Sen. Bob Menendez (D-N.J.).
Guatemala: The Guatemala-based Central American Sugar Association paid the Altrius Group $15,000 in the second quarter to lobby on “implementation of DR-CAFTA/USMCA” and for “Central American sugar access to US consumers.”
Australia: KordUSA, the US subsidiary of Australian defense company Kord Defence, has registered its in-house lobbying operations. Kenneth Lee, who previously lobbied for the company via the Bennett Consulting Group until last year, will lobby on “testing and evaluation under Foreign Comparative Testing Program leading to acquisition and deployment.” The registration was effective June 1.
China: Jonathan Gregory reported no second quarter lobbying activity and less than $5,000 in fees for COSCO Americas, the US subsidiary of Chinese shipping company COSCO.
Hong Kong: Hong Kong-based Esquel Enterprises, one of the world’s largest woven shirt manufacturers, has hired Akin Gump to lobby on “textile and apparel trade issues.” Justin McCarthy, a former special assistant for legislative affairs for President George W. Bush, will lobby on the account. The registration was effective May 22.
Italy: Italian motorcycle manufacturer Fantic Motor has hired Aplex International to lobby on “issues related to market access, standards for imports of e-bikes, use of e-bikes in national parks and national forests, and regional bank financing, including federal and state tax treatment of e-bike purchases.” Former General Motors executive Lee Godown is the only lobbyist listed on the registration, which was effective June 1.
Russia: The law offices of former US attorney Bud Cummins was paid $20,000 in the second quarter by PV Group, a Delaware-based special purpose vehicle with at least two Russia-based owners. Cummins lobbied on “foreign fraudulent activity using or flowing through US banks.”
Switzerland: International Emissions Trading Association USA, the Washington office of the Geneva-based International Emissions Trading Association, has hired CO2Efficient to lobby on domestic and international climate change policies. Tom Lawler, a former aide to Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.), is the only lobbyist registered to work on the account.
United Kingdom: Jonathan Gregory was paid less than $5,000 to lobby Congress “in support of direct foreign investment” for GML Limited, a London-based holding company established by Russian oligarch-turned-dissident Mikhail Khodorkovsky (Khodorkovsky relinquished his interests in the company in 2005).
United Kingdom: ATS Communications was paid $20,000 to lobby Congress in the second quarter for Meggitt USA, the US subsidiary of British aerospace and defense company Meggitt. The firm lobbied on “defense appropriations issues.”
Israel: Former congressman Paul McHale, Democrat of Pennsylvania, stopped lobbying for the US subsidiary of Israeli defense company Rafael via his firm Civil Support International on June 30. McHale registered in 2013 to consult on “defense, homeland security and disaster preparedness” for the company but has never disclosed any lobbying activity. Meanwhile Rafael USA‘s in-house lobbying arm reported no lobbying activity in the second quarter of 2020.
IN OTHER NEWS
Congressional delegations: Rep. Stephen Lynch (D-Mass.) visited Mali, Kenya and Ethiopia from Jan. 17 to Jan. 22.
Arms sales: The State Department today announced that it had approved a $23 million arms sale to Jordan of one UH-60M Black Hawk helicopter and related equipment.