Latest filings

Russian media inks $5.2 million US content deal; Pompeo visit caps $400,000 Guyana lobby push; BGR paid $70,000 to lobby against Gulf airlines: Thursday’s Daily Digest

Russian news outlet inks $5.2 million deal with DC production company

Sputnik / Konstantin Chalabov

Russia’s state-run Rossiya Segodnya news agency has hired a new Washington, DC production company to create radio and web content for its Sputnik multimedia platform.

The agency signed a year-long, $5.2 million contract in August with a limited liability company called Ghebi. Ghebi was incorporated last September by Mindia Gavasheli, the editor-in-chief of RIA Global, another US production company working for Sputnik. The only registered agent on the account is Christopher Pyburn, the managing director for RIA Global.

According to the registration, Ghebi will distribute content on both Sputnik’s website and, a podcasting site. The company received a 30 % down payment of $1.56 million in August.

Read the story and get access to all the filings here.

Pompeo’s Guyana visit caps $400,000 lobbying push

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo‘s visit to Guyana and his meeting today with newly elected President Irfaan Ali marks a $400,000 lobbying victory for Mercury Public Affairs and the Cormac Group.

Mercury has been paid $304,000 to lobby for Ali’s People’s Progressive Party (PPP) against incumbent David Granger in the oil-rich South American nation’s disputed election. Meanwhile the Cormac Group has received $100,000 from the International Center for Democracy, a New York non-profit close to the PPP (Cormac subcontractor Otto Reich Associates has also disclosed $70,000 in payments).

On the other side, Granger’s APNU + AFC coalition hired JJ&B in April for $40,000 per month. The firm has yet to disclose how much it ended up getting paid.

Granger conceded defeat last month in the March election following a protracted recount amid intensifying pressure from the United States, including visa restrictions on officials blamed for “undermining democracy.”

You can find all our stories about the Guyana lobbying battle here:

Guyana party courted Biden campaign on election dispute

Lobbyists paint Guyana opposition as anti-US amid pressure to concede defeat

Iran-Contra figure lobbies on latest Latin America election dispute

Queens NGO joins lobbying fight over disputed Guyana elections

New lobbying disclosures

Qatar: The Qatar National Human Rights Committee, a government office in Doha, paid the Choharis Law Group $27,625 in the second quarter to lobby Congress and the State Department regarding “ongoing human rights violations of people throughout the Gulf of Arabia, including those violations caused by the blockade” against Qatar imposed by Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, and Egypt. The committee has paid Choharis more than $690,000 since registering as its lobbyist in February 2018. Registered to lobby on the account are firm founder Peter Choharis and associate attorney Mahmood Bakkash. The registration is under the domestic Lobbying Disclosure Act (LDA) rather than the more stringent Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA). For more, read our story on the UAE vs. Qatar lobbying war here.

Gulf airlines: The Partnership for Open and Fair Skies, a coalition of US carriers that want the US government to take action against Emirati and Qatari airlines for alleged violations of “Open Skies” agreements, paid BGR Government Affairs $50,000 in the first quarter, according to a late filing. The partnership hired former Rep. Sean Duffy (R-Wis.) and several other BGR lobbyists in February. BGR was paid a total of $70,000 before the contract was terminated in April but never disclosed any lobbying.

Francisco Bencosme is no longer expected to lobby for Amnesty International of the USA. He had been lobbying the Senate on the Uyghur Human Rights Act, which would direct the president to issue sanctions and export restrictions related to China’s treatment of the Uyghurs, a predominantly Muslim Turkic ethnic group.

In other news

The Daily Beast has the scoop on US government warnings to Republicans in Congress about former Ukrainian lawmaker Andriy Derkach‘s links to Russia. Derkach retained a Washington lobbying firm until July.