- Ashcroft’s firm fights claims against Congo; Mercury steps up lobbying for Libyan government; drugmaker with Italy ties lobbies on COVID-19
NEW FOREIGN LOBBYING FILINGS (FARA)
Congo: The Republic of the Congo paid the Ashcroft Law Firm $247,000 for legal services in the first half of the year. The firm legal representation and research services to the country regarding “pending/potential litigation, including arbitration matters,” including conducting an investigation “regarding claims against the client” and working with the client’s legal team outside the United States. The firm disclosed $735,000 in expenses during the period, some for work done last year, including:
- $300,000 to Simon Group International for “consultation, client interface, document review, investigation assistance, evidence identification and analysis and litigation support”;
- $300,000 to Aram One for the same work;
- $120,000 to Avenue Strategies for “strategic consulting”; and
- $12,500 to the Delphi Global Analysis Group for “research and international litigation support.”
The firm founded by former Attorney General John Ashcroft disclosed a $75,000-per-month agreement in October 2019 with the office of President Denis Sassou Nguesso. Two Ashcroft partners — former Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives director Michael Sullivan and former International Criminal Tribunal trial attorney Kim West — and associate Nathan Brennan are registered on the account, as is subcontractor Barry Bennett.
Malaysia: The Malaysian Palm Oil Council received $243,000 from its headquarters in the first half of the year. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the council did not participate in any events during the period.
Qatar: The Ashcroft Law Firm did not receive any compensation from the government of Qatar during the half of the year. It did not do any work, lobbying or otherwise, for Doha but remains a registered foreign agent.
Qatar: Lexington Avenue Consulting of Los Angeles received $154,000 from the Embassy of Qatar in Washington during the first half of the year for “consulting services” regarding the Qatar Harvey Fund and other charitable initiatives. The firm emailed officials in Harris County, Texas multiple times.
Mercury Public Affairs: The firm reported more than $4.33 million in fees and expenses from foreign principals in the first half of the year. These include:
- Hikvision USA, the US subsidiary of the Chinese maker of video surveillance products : $915,000. Graham Haile stopped representing the company during the period;
- Embassy of Turkey: $750,000. Steven Hilton and Graham Haile terminated their representation this period;
- Russian energy and metals company En+ Group International: $534,000. The firm disclosed a January meeting with Rep. Sean Casten (D-Ill.) regarding sanctions. Michael Crittenden, Rodney Emery and Deirdre Stach stopped lobbying on the account;
- Israeli spyware company Q Cyber Technologies: $515,000. Partner John Gallagher stopped lobbying on the account;
- Turkey-US Business Council (TAIK): $401,000. Read our story on TAIK’s webinar with Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) here;
- Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Trade of Zimbabwe : $270,000. Lobbyists met with several congressional staffers. Read our story on Zimbabwe’s sanctions lobbying here;
- Indigenous People of Biafra leader Nnamdi Kanu: $255,000. Lobbyists met with Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission Democratic staff director Kimberly Stanton. Sharon Bender left the account during the period;
- Ministry of Justice of Kazakhstan: $193,000. The firm helped set up a June call between Ambassador Erzhan Kazykhanov and Rep. Alcee Hastings (D-Fla.). Read all about the ministry’s influence campaign here;
- Embassy of Qatar: $180,000;
- Okinawa Prefecture: $110,000. Lobbyists met several times with staff for Sen. Todd Young (R-Ind.);
- Presidency of Haiti: $82,000;
- Consulate General of Japan in New York: $82,000. Lisa Reid stopped representing the consulate;
- People’s Progressive Party of Guyana: $50,000. The firm terminated its contract with the winning party in the March elections last month, as we reported here.
In addition, Mercury continues to represent the UN-backed Government of National Accord in Tripoli but did not receive any payments in the first half of the year. Lobbyists were active on the account however, meeting with Reps. Joaquin Castro (D-Texas), Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.), Mike Conaway (R-Texas), Brian Mast (R-Fla.) and Vicente Gonzalez (D-Texas). They also shared several texts and phone calls with Sen. Graham and a call with Cari Lutkins, the deputy chief of staff for Operations at the US Mission to the United Nations.
NEW DOMESTIC LOBBYING FILINGS (LDA)
Continuus Pharmaceuticals of Massachusetts has hired ML Strategies to lobby on “issues related to federal funding related to COVID-19.” Italian pharmaceutical equipment maker Industria Macchine Automatiche owns an 18 % stake in Continuus and has a strategic partnership with the company.