- Kabila ally in Congolese legislature hires Washington lobbyist; Progressive group to lobby on Saudi human rights; former Energy secretary lobbies for Spanish electric utility; Squire Patton Boggs brings in $2 million from Angola
DR Congo legislature hires lobbyist amid tensions with US-backed president
The president of the Democratic Republic of the Congo’s National Assembly has hired a Washington lobby firm to press for the legislature’s priorities amid growing tensions with the country’s US-backed president.
Lawyer Jeanine Mabunda, the first woman to ever lead the chamber, has retained the services of Greystone Global Strategies, a Washington political consulting firm that has long worked with African nations in political transition.
Mabunda is a long-time politician close to former President Joseph Kabila, whose Common Front for Congo dominates the National Assembly. Several of the chamber’s recent moves have sparked protests and international criticism, triggering an effort to build relationships in Washington.
Read the story here.
Progressive foreign policy group to lobby on Saudi human rights
The new Progressive foreign policy outfit headed by former Amnesty International Middle East advocacy director Sunjeev Bery has registered its first lobbyist.
Bethany Alhaidari will lobby on “human rights violations in Saudi Arabia” on behalf of Freedom Forward, a fiscally sponsored project housed at the Center for International Policy.
Alhaidari is an American citizen and expert in human rights law. She is the executive director of the nonprofit Saudi American Justice Project, which advocates on behalf of victims of various human rights abuses inside Saudi Arabia. Read more here.
NEW FOREIGN LOBBYING FILINGS (FARA)
Arnold & Porter Kaye Scholer: The white-shoe international law firm headquartered in Washington, DC reported $2.84 million in lobbying fees in the first half of the year:
- Venezuela: The administration of Juan Guaido, whom the US recognizes as the legitimate president of the country, paid the firm $1 million for “assistance with contractual and legal matters concerning recovery and preservation of Venezuela’s assets”;
- Israel: The government of Israel paid the firm $774,000 for advice on debt securities and immigration. The firm also represented the government of Israel in connection with a pair of lawsuits;
- Micronesia: The government of the Federated States of Micronesia paid the firm $400,000 for help with negotiations over the expiring compact of free association with Pacific island states and for COVID-19 relief. Arnold & Porter notably met US Ambassador Carmen Cantor and with the offices of Sens. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii) and Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska); the offices of Reps. Tony Cardenas (D-Calif.), Ed Case (D-Hawaii) and Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii); and the Senate committees on Appropriations and health. Read our story on the Pacific Islands’ lobbying priorities here;
- South Korea: The Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy paid the firm $240,000 for help with trade issues;
- Argentina: Arnold & Porter provided the Embassy of Argentina with “advice on international trade issues involving the agriculture sector, opportunities for foreign investment and financing in diverse sectors, and debt-related issues” but did not receive any payments;
- Honduras: Finally, the government of Honduras paid $430,000 for services rendered before that account was terminated on Dec. 31.
SGR Government Relations and Lobbying has added associate Max Shulklapper to its accounts with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of Morocco (via JPC Strategies), the Embassy of Qatar (via Venable) and the Agility Public Warehousing Company in Kuwait.
Squire Patton Boggs: The firm reported $2.55 million in lobbying-related payments in the first half of the year, the large majority from the oil-rich African nation of Angola:
- Angola: The Angolan government paid the firm $2.05 million for help on bringing Angola’s financial system up to international standards, increasing US trade and investment and enhancing Angola’s profile in the United States. The firm notably held meetings with US Ambassador Nina Fite, Export-Import Bank Chief of Staff David Fogel and staffers for multiple lawmakers on House Foreign Affairs and other committees. The firm in turn spent $1.04 million on outside consultants;
- Saudi Arabia: The Center for Studies and Media Affairs at the Royal Saudi Court paid the firm $234,000. Former Sens. Trent Lott, Republican of Tennessee, and John Breaux, Democrat of Louisiana, left the firm and the account and joined Crossroads Strategies. Partner John Deschauer also stopped working on the account on Jan. 31;
- China: The Embassy of the People’s Republic of China paid the firm $165,000 for counsel on US congressional matters. The firm reported five emails to staffers and one phone call with Susan Adams, the Republican clerk on the House Appropriations panel on foreign aid;
- Cameroon: The firm received $80,000 from the government of Cameroon but did not report any political activity;
- Qatar: The firm received a $23,000 payment from the government of Qatar on a contract that was terminated in Dec. 2019;
- Palestine: The Palestinian Authority paid the firm just over $1,000. The firm logged one meeting with Senate Appropriations Committee Democratic clerk Tim Rieser in January amid debate over cutting off US assistance to the Palestinians;
- South Korea: Squire Patton Boggs did not receive any payments from the Embassy of the Republic of Korea but held several meetings with congressional staffers to discuss the Partner with Korea Act, which would create an allotment of 15,000 highly skilled work visas for Korean nationals. The firm also reached out to the HHS Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Dr. Anthony Fauci at the National Institutes of Health;
- Finally, the firm reported no payments or activities from the government of Croatia or Temasek Holdings of Singapore.
NEW DOMESTIC LOBBYING FILINGS (LDA)
Blank Rome Government Affairs has registered to lobby for Spanish multinational electric utility company Iberdrola as a subcontractor to the Abraham Group. Former senator and Secretary of Energy Spencer Abraham, Republican of Michigan, is registered on the account alongside David Thompson, an ex-aide to former House Speaker Dennis Hastert, Republican of Illinois. They plan to lobby on “North American energy policies and related trade and foreign policy issues.”
The Armenian National Committee of America spent $30,000 in the second quarter of 2020 lobbying on issues including recognition of the Ottoman-era Armenian genocide, protection of minorities in Syria and Iraq, and US relations with Turkey and the Caucasus. Read our deep dive into the lobbying war between Armenian-American activists and the government of Azerbaijan over the clashes in Nagorno-Karabakh here.