- Angola slashes lobbying by $1.6 million; Hungary ends lobbying after Orban visit; Ros-Lehtinen makes UAE’s case against Al-Jazeera; Iran opposition lobbyist met with Brian Hook; Israeli-American Coalition for Action ends lobbying
Angola has renewed its lobbying contract with Squire Patton Boggs, with one caveat: A massive 40 % rate cut, from $4.1 million all the way down to a still considerable $2.5 million.
The cut comes as the nation copes with collapsing oil prices. Meanwhile its lobbyists have struggled with its mission of bringing back banks that fled the country because of corruption concerns.
For an in-depth look at Squire Patton Boggs’ lobbying efforts for Angola, read our story here.
The Embassy of Hungary had no fewer than five influence firms on its payroll last year to help make Prime Minister Viktor Orban‘s White House visit a success.
Now it has none.
After spending hundreds of thousands to reach out to President Donald Trump‘s base and counter criticism of the right-wing government’s harsh anti-immigration policies and rhetoric, the embassy did not renew any of its contracts after scoring its diplomatic coup. Read our story here.
Lawmaker turned lobbyist makes UAE’s case against Al-Jazeera
The United Arab Emirates has spent millions of dollars over the past few years to undermine its regional rival Qatar and its global news channel, Al-Jazeera.
This week it kicked things up a notch with a new report from Florida Republican Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, a former House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairwoman turned UAE lobbyist via Akin Gump. In it, Ros-Lehtinen argues Al-Jazeera is running afoul of the law by failing to disclose its alleged links to the Qatari royal family. She wants the Department of Justice to investigate.
The right-wing Washington Free Beacon has the scoop here.
NEW FOREIGN AGENT FILINGS (FARA)
Honduras: Miami Beach public relations firm Cyparis ended its registration for Honduras’ public-private national promotion strategy Marca Pais on Dec. 31, according to a belated lobbying filing covering the second half of 2019. The Honduran Office of Strategy and Communications hired Cyparis to help promote the country in June 2019 for the sum of $40,600. In the filing dated July 6, Cyparis says it has “sent all invoices, however the client has not paid any of them yet.”
Iran: Former Senator Robert Torricelli, Democrat of New Jersey, met with the State Department’s special representative for Iran Brian Hook on Jan. 31 on behalf of the opposition National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI). The pair discussed the resettlement of Iranian dissidents in Albania, where the NCRI has been based for the past few years following refugees’ relocation from Iraq. Torricelli also spoke by phone with Deputy Chief of Mission to Albania Leyla Moses-Ones and emailed State Department staff assistant Danielle Stoebe. His firm, Rosemont Associates, disclosed $90,000 in payments from the NCRI in the six months through April. The firm also disclosed it had recently opened a branch in Palm Beach, Florida, where President Donald Trump‘s Mar-a-Lago resort is located.
Qatar: Megan Tucker, a senior director of social impact and sustainability at RF Binder, has registered as a foreign agent for the Qatar Foundation. This is her first registration under FARA.
Zimbabwe: Mercury Public Affairs has registered Alexander Walker as a foreign agent for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Trade of Zimbabwe. The firm also ended Walker’s registrations for the Presidency of the Republic of Haiti and the Office of the Prime Minister of the UN-backed Libyan government in Tripoli. Walker, a British citizen based in Washington, will provide “media relations services, including print, television, radio, and digital messaging and outreach to U.S. media” for Zimbabwe. Mercury recently extended its contract with Zimbabwe via Mercury International UK as sanctions continue to bite, as we wrote about here.
NEW DOMESTIC LOBBYING FILINGS (LDA)
Colorado-based CBD company Charlottes Web, a subsidiary of Vancouver’s Charlottes Web Holdings, has hired Michael Torrey Associates to lobby on “issues relating to the approval of cannabinoids in supplements and food.” The registration was effective June 3. Cassandra Kuball, Tara Smith and Michael Torrey will lobby on the account.
The right-leaning Israeli-American Coalition for Action stopped lobbying as of Dec. 31, according to a late filing. The group spent $1.66 million lobbying against the pro-Palestinian boycott movement and other issues since registering in March 2017. Abigail Cable, now with Ropes & Gray, had been its director of policy and government affairs.