Foreign actors disclosed new lobbying and public relations contracts worth more than $12 million last month, according to a Foreign Lobby Report analysis of documents filed with the US Justice Department in July.
The impressive tally is up 50 % over June but is dominated by just one client: Jailed Algerian businessman Ali Haddad, who signed year-long, $10 million deal with the Sonoran Policy Group in late July. The construction tycoon and his brothers have been sentenced to years in prison on corruption allegations as the new government under President Abdelmadjid Tebboune goes after people who got rich during the 20-year reign of Abdelaziz Bouteflika. Read our story about Haddad’s campaign here.
The only other deal worth more than $1 million is for an international media strategy to promote Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman‘s $500 billion vision for a futuristic city in the desert. Burson Cohn & Wolfe (BCW) will be paid $1.1 million to promote Neom. The five-month contract dates to late April but was only registered under the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA) last month. We have the details on the global PR campaign here.
In other news, the World Health Organization (WHO) has hired Hill & Knowlton to defend its reputation amid lingering attacks from President Donald Trump (more on that here). And the Embassy of Ethiopia once again has a lobbying firm as it comes under pressure from the Trump administration to assuage Egypt’s concerns over its dam on the Nile, as we first reported July 17.
In other news:
- Canadian public utility HQ Energy Services hired a second PR firm to try to sway Maine voters on its planned transmission line;
- A family of Bulgarian entrepreneurs under investigation are drawing attention to corruption in the country;
- Former GOP aides are lobbying for a Chinese chip-maker accused of stealing US technology;
- A Turkish weapons company hired two ex-lawmakers to unblock arms sales to Pakistan;
- A lawyer for Kazakhstan retained ex-journalists for “fair and balanced coverage” of a $500 million energy suit;
- The Syrian Kurds hired their first Washington lobbyist;
- Thailand asked a USTR veteran to undo Trump tariffs;
- Russia fights for the right to continue exporting uranium to the US; and
- Azerbaijan rehired ex-congressman Robert Livingston and his firm amid tensions with Armenia over Nagorno-Karabakh (the contract has yet to be filed).
Several contracts were also filed under the Lobbying Disclosure Act (LDA), which covers lobbying on behalf of foreign companies. The principals include:
- The head of the Democratic Republic of the Congo’s state mining company;
- Ethiopian-Americans from the marginalized Oromo minority;
- The developers of a Black Sea port in Georgia; and
- A Latvian bank accused of laundering Russian money.
In addition, a half-dozen contracts worth a combined total of $6.3 million were also renewed over the past month or so.
They include a two-year, $2.5 million-a-year deal between the Office of the Presidency of the oil-rich African nation of Angola and Squire Patton Boggs. The Angola contract accounted for more than 80 % of the firm’s foreign lobbying revenue in the first half of the year, according to a Foreign Lobby Report review of lobbying disclosures.