- Azerbaijan hires new lobbying firm amid fighting with Armenia; Quebec utility’s PR campaign sows doubts about US environmentalists; ex-HASC panel chairman lobbies for Turkish arms sales to Pakistan; lobbyists for Guyana’s Granger make race-based appeal to Black Caucus
Azerbaijan is stepping up its Washington lobbying as its frozen conflict with Armenia over the disputed enclave of Nagorno-Karabakh once again grows hot.
The Caucasus country’s government is currently negotiating a written contract with the Livingston Group for lobbying and “perception management.” The firm has registered two agents on the account, and has already begun lobbying Congress.
Read all about Azerbaijan’s influence campaign — and the counter-punch from Armenian-American advocates — here.
A Canadian public utility is sowing doubts about its environmental critics as part of a PR campaign to gain approval of a 145-mile power line to New England.
H.Q. Energy Services, the US subsidiary of Hydro-Quebec, has hired two public relations firms as part of its efforts to convince Maine voters to approve the $1 billion transmission line in a November referendum. Newly revealed polling questions from one of them, Forbes Tate Partners of Washington, raise concerns in potential voters’ minds about corporate interests backing the environmental groups that seek to block the project.
Read the story here.
NEW FOREIGN LOBBYING FILINGS (FARA)
Ethiopia: Barnes & Thornburg has registered public relations consultant Claire Buchan Parker on its contract with the Ethiopian Embassy in Washington. She will be paid a $20,000 fee to “provide consultations on public relations to assist Ethiopia with its Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam project.” Parker joins Barnes & Thornburg partner Craig Burkhardt on the account, which we first reported on here.
Aruba: The Zeno Group has added consultant Christopher Gustafson as an agent on its account with the Aruba Tourism Authority.
Guyana: Lobbyists for the ruling coalition in Guyana are asking the Congressional Black Caucus to intervene on behalf of President David Granger after the State Department sanctioned his government and demanded that he step down following March elections. In its message to the group, JJ&B partner James Albertine alludes to Granger’s ethnic background (his opponent Irfaan Ali is of south Asian heritage).
South Korea: K&L Gates received $150,000 from the Korea International Trade Association (KITA) and $215,000 from South Korea’s Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy in the first half of the year. Lobbyists for the firm helped organize meetings on Capitol Hill for visiting Deputy Minister for Trade Negotiations Han-Koo Yeo in January.
Czech Republic: The Czech Center New York received $130,000 from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic in the first half of the year to promote Czech “culture, art, education” and “general information on the Czech Republic.”
Qatar: The Embassy of Qatar in Washington paid Blueprint Advisors $1.4 million in the first half of the year. During that period lobbyists for the firm met with then-Deputy National Security Adviser Victoria Coates and Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Timothy Lenderking to discuss the country’s blockade by Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain. They also spoke by phone with Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and texted Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-N.Y.).
Turkey: Former House Armed Services subcommittee Chairman Randy Forbes, Republican of Virginia, has joined the Greenberg Traurig team lobbying on behalf of Turkish Aerospace Industries. Two other ex-lawmakers, Democrat Albert Wynn of Maryland and Republican Charles Boustany of Louisiana, previously registered to help the government-controlled firm remove US export barriers to its sale of attack helicopters to Pakistan. Read all about the effort here.