Latest filings

WeChat gets in-house lobbyists; Russia pipeline foes deny EU-US split; Alibaba hires Mercury: Tuesday’s Daily Digest

Welcome to our round-up of all the latest foreign lobbying news in Washington and beyond.

WeChat owner Tencent registers in-house lobby shop

The owner of China’s ubiquitous WeChat app has registered its first in-house lobbyists as it continues to build up its response to the Donald Trump administration’s legal attacks.

Tencent Holdings Limited has registered to lobby on “issues related” to Trump’s Aug. 6 executive order targeting the company, as well as the order’s “implementation” and “related matters.” Three of the company’s top officials are registered on the account:

  • Brent Irvin, the vice president and general counsel at Tencent and head of US subsidiary Tencent America;
  • Timothy Tin Tai Ma, the head of Tencent’s department of international privacy and data protection; and
  • Chia-Chi Li, Tencent’s legal director.

In addition, Tencent lobby firm Paul Weiss Rifkind Wharton & Garrison has registered two new lobbyists on the account. Read our story here.

Russia pipeline foes downplay EU opposition to US sanctions

Pipe sections stored at the coating plant in Kotka, Finland @ Nord Stream 2 / Axel Schmidt

Critics of Russia’s gas pipeline to Germany are scrambling to downplay reports of united European support for the project as they look to the US to help kill it.

Yorktown Solutions, which represents the Ukrainian gas industry, jumped into action following news reports that 24 members of the European Union had formally challenged Washington’s growing use of sanctions. In newly disclosed outreach to “relevant stakeholders” both inside and outside the US government, Yorktown countered that narrative and urged Washington to keep the pressure on.

“There is a conscious campaign to depict Nord Stream 2 as a ‘European project’ in order to undercut bipartisan efforts to impose further sanctions making the pipeline’s completion impossible,” the firm said in an interview with Foreign Lobby Report. Read our story here.

New foreign lobbying filings (FARA)

Germany: The Bavarian Ministry for Economic Affairs, Regional Development and Energy spent $623,000 on US activities in the six moths through July, split evenly between its offices in New York and San Francisco.

Taiwan: Taiwan’s de facto embassy in Washington paid Western Hemisphere Strategies $108,000 in the six months through July. The firm’s owner, former Rep. Lincoln Diaz-Balart, Republican of Florida, met with 11 lawmakers in the six months through July to discuss US-Taiwan relations, including Senate Foreign Relations Committee ranking member Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) and Senate Armed Services Committee member Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.). Diaz-Balart also emailed and called several others.

United Arab Emirates: Chicago-based public relations firm Daniel J. Edelman has registered three more people on its Aug. 5 account with Dubai’s Mashreqbank. Executive vice-presidents Renee Calabro and Chad Tendler and senior account supervisor Carolina Leighton Roesler join General Manager Sean Neary on the contract. They will provide media management and strategic counsel abroad for the oldest privately owned bank in the UAE. The three new registrants are all based in New York, while Neary lives in Maryland.

New domestic lobbying filings (LDA)

Chinese online commerce company Alibaba has hired Mercury Public Affairs to lobby on “technology policy issues,” “access to US capital markets” and “issues related to e-commerce.” Registered to lobby on the account are Mercury partners Bryan Lanza and John Lonergan and Washington managing director Adam Bramwell, the former chief of staff to Sen. Chris Coons (D-Del.). The registration was effective Aug. 1. Mercury joins Baker & Hostetler, The Duberstein Group, Greenberg Traurig, Sidley Austin and Story Partners on the Alibaba account.

The US subsidiary of US-Israeli drug firm Teva Pharmaceuticals has hired Capitol Hill Consulting Group to lobby on “Medicare reimbursement for biosimilars” and improving supply chain for products manufactured in the United States.” Lobbying on the account are former House Ways and Means health subcommittee staff director Brian Stutter; Tom Wharton, a former health aide to ex-Sen. Joe Lieberman, I-Conn.; and former Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services senior adviser Emily Wilkinson. Holland & Knight and Polsinelli also lobby for the company.

In other news

A senior Chinese government official enlisted the help of Republican fundraising Elliott Broidy to lobby the Donald Trump administration in 2017 to expel Chinese businessman Guo Wengui, reports the Wall Street Journal. Trump’s former adviser Steve Bannon was arrested on Wengui’s yacht last week.

Finally, this tweet from National Journal ‘s national security reporter caught our eye:

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