- Ethiopian ethnic group hires lobby firm to protect rights; HSBC lobbied on Hong Kong sanctions bill; Taiwan renews lobbying contract
A Washington-area nonprofit advocating for Ethiopia’s marginalized Oromo ethnic group has hired its first lobbying firm amid a spout of ethnic violence in the country.
The Oromo Legacy Leadership & Advocacy Association (OLLAA) hired Washington advocacy group Yorktown Solutions effective July 6, according to a new lobbying filing. The lobbying push comes as more than 200 people have been killed this month in protests over the murder of popular Oromo singer Haacaaluu Hundeessaa.
“OLLAA has hired Yorktown Solutions to assist its engagement with stakeholders in Washington, D.C.,” association president Seenaa Jimjimo told Foreign Lobby Report in an emailed statement. “The purpose of this engagement is to educate and inform these stakeholders about the state of human rights, women’s rights, and indigenous rights among Oromo communities across the globe.” Read the story here.
HSBC lobbies on Hong Kong sanctions bill
HSBC-North America, the US subsidiary of British giant HSBC, lobbied the Senate over Hong Kong sanctions legislation in the second quarter, according to a new lobbying disclosure. HSBC was founded in Hong Kong in 1865 and is the territory’s largest bank. The bank has come under fire for backing China’s national security law. S.3798, the Hong Kong Accountability Act, passed the Senate in late June but is stuck in the House of Representatives.
The bank also lobbied on COVID-19 relief legislation and the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA). And it “monitored” legislation calling for sanctions against Chinese officials and others who abuse the country’s Uighur Muslims. S.3744, the Uyghur Human Rights Policy Act, was signed into law on June 17.
In all HSBC spent $550,000 in the second quarter lobbying Congress, the Federal Reserve, the Treasury Department and the Small Business Administration in the second quarter. Read the filing here.
NEW FOREIGN LOBBYING FILINGS (FARA)
Taiwan: Taiwan’s de facto embassy in Washington has renewed its $20,000-per-month lobbying contract Nickles Group for the second half of 2020. Registered as foreign agents for the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office (TECRO) are firm founder and former Senator Don Nickles, Republican of Oklahoma, along with Stephanie Badger, Jeff Choudhry and Donald Kent.
Myanmar: The lobbyist for Myanmar’s private Kanbawza Bank was paid $52,000 and met with one State Department official in the six months since she began representing the bank. Erin Lee Murphy, the founder and sole registered foreign agent of the Inle Advisory Group, registered in December to assist the bank with “[anti-money laundering regulations] and sanctions compliance, adherence to international banking standards, financial inclusion, and best practices on gender equality in the workplace as well as charitable giving through its foundation.” She met with State Department Burma country officer Craig Halbmaier on Feb. 3 to discuss “KBZ’s new charitable organization,” according to the lobbying filing for the six months through June 9.
NEW DOMESTIC LOBBYING FILINGS (LDA)
ZOLL Medical Group, a US subsidiary of the Tokyo-based Asahi Kasei Corporation, has hired McDermott+Consulting. The firm will lobby on Medicare and Medicaid reimbursements. Paul Radensky and Rachel Stauffer are registered to work on the account, which was effective June 2.
Norwegian private investment company Kistefos has hired Cornerstone Government Affairs to “engage with federal agencies, members of Congress and congressional committees on authorization and funding of priority areas.” Anthony Lazarski, Victoria Marum, James Richards, William Smith, Eric Tober and William Todd are registered to lobby on the account. The registration was effective June 15.
The Florida-based Television Association of Programmers Latin America has hired Hogan Lovells to lobby to “improve AV (audio-visual) regulatory/business communications between US and Latin America.” Former Senator Norm Coleman, Republican of Minnesota, will lobby on the account along with Ivan Zapien, former chief of Staff to Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.); former general counsel to the Office of the US Trade Representative (USTR) Warren Maruyama; and former USTR associate general counsel Jared Wessel. The registration was effective June 8.
Second quarter filings are pouring in ahead of the July 20 deadline. Here’s our pick of the most interesting ones.
The opposition National Council of Resistance of Iran paid Rosemont Associates $60,000 in the second quarter of 2020. Former Sen. Robert Torricelli, Democrat of New Jersey, is the only registered on the account. He lobbied the State Department regarding Iranian refugees resettled in Albania.
Cemex Inc., the US subsidiary of Mexican cement giant Cemex, paid O’Keeffe Shahmoradi Strategies $30,000 in the second quarter to lobby Congress and the Department of Transportation regarding appropriations and infrastructure legislation as well as reauthorization of the FAST (Fixing America’s Surface Transportation) Act.
Orsted North America, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Orsted A/S and Orsted Wind Power Holding A/S of Denmark, spent $110,000 in the second quarter lobbying on wind energy tax credits and regulations. The company lobbied Congress, the Interior Department, the National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the Office of Management & Budget.
Haynes and Boone lobbied Congress regarding the “exclusion of Quebec border mills from import restrictions imposed as part of any settlement of US-Canada softwood lumber dispute” on behalf of the Quebec Border Mills Committee, a Canadian association. The firm disclosed receiving less than the $5,000 reporting threshold during the second quarter.
The American University in Cairo spent $20,000 in the second quarter lobbying Congress, the departments of State and Education, and the US Agency for International Development. The university lobbied on “State and Foreign Operations Appropriations.”