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Khashoggi brainchild launches; Obama era ambassador lobbies for Ivory Coast; ex-Schumer aide lobbies for Chinese drone maker: Tuesday’s Daily Digest

Khashoggi brainchild joins growing chorus of advocates against Arab autocracies

Jamal Khashoggi at his home in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia on Jan. 13, 2016 / Hany Musallam

The brainchild of murdered Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi became a reality today, joining a growing chorus of human rights groups advocating for a rethink of US ties to Arab autocracies.

Friends and former colleagues of the late Washington Post columnist formally launched Democracy for the Arab World Now (DAWN) almost two years to the day since his Oct. 2 killing in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul. The group’s executive director, Sarah Leah Whitson, described the nonprofit as a “hybrid organization” combining human rights research and advocacy, think tank analysis and a publishing platform for exiled voices from the region.

DAWN is not alone in its focus on this trio of countries that led the counter-revolution against the 2011 Arab Spring. Two other groups — Freedom Forward and the Freedom Initiative — have registered to lobby for human rights in some of those same countries over the past few weeks. Whitson name-checked both of them in her remarks.

“We are working in coalition with these excellent organizations [which] we consider our allies and our friends,” she said.

Read the story here.

New foreign lobbying filings (FARA)


Ivory Coast: Former US ambassador to Ivory Coast Phillip Carter III is lobbying for that country’s government as a consultant for the Glover Park Group.

Phillip Carter III
Phillip Carter III / LinkedIn profile

Glover Park signed a $300,000 contract with JWI (Jefferson Waterman International) last November to represent the Ivorian government. The firm has now signed a new contract directly with Yamoussoukro, but it has not yet been published in the Justice Department’s lobbying database. Carter served as ambassador to Ivory Coast from 2010 to 2013. He was later executive vice-president at JWI and is now an independent consultant. He joins Glover Park managing director Brett O’Brien, senior vice president Tod Preston and director Charles Schoenthaler on the new account. All three also lobby on the JWI account.

JWI has represented the government of Ivory Coast for the past decade. Last year it also signed a $360,000 contract with the country’s Cocoa and Coffee Council (Conseil Cafe Cacao) amid calls by some US lawmakers to ban imports amid reports of child labor. Meanwhile the Supreme Court is due to soon hear a case brought against Nestle and Cargill for allegedly abetting slave labor in the country.


South Korea: The Seattle-based US office of the Korea SMEs and Startups Agency received $1 million from its home office during the six months through May. During that period the US office provided market research for Korea-based companies seeking to expand into the US market, networked with business groups in Washington state, supported Korean government agency delegations and business groups and assisted Korean SMEs (small and medium enterprises) with marketing and business development.

Taiwan: The Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office in the US (TECRO), Taiwan’s de facto embassy in Washington, paid the Nickles Group $60,000 in the six months through August. During that period the firm contacted several lawmakers about Taiwan’s COVID-19 mask donations and its removal of restrictions on US exports of beef and pork, which could help pave the way for a free trade agreement between the two countries.


Bosnia: Alexandria Group International terminated its lobbying for transportation logistics company SH Logistics/Bosnia on Aug. 31, according to a new lobbying filing. The company hired the Alexandria Group last summer for $20,500 per month to lobby for “open and integrated markets, unity and democracy.” The firm repeatedly emailed House Foreign Affairs Committee staff director Jason Steinbaum during the six months through August to discuss “bilateral US-Bosnia relations and legislation.”

Bulgaria: During the six months through August Alexandria Group International contacted multiple US government officials to draw attention to what it called the “state criminal case” against its client, the Bobokov family, owners of the Prista Oil motor oil company. The firm notably emailed staff at the US Embassy in Bulgaria, the House Foreign Affairs and Senate Foreign Relations committees, and the Helsinki Commission. Brothers Plamen Bobokov and  Atanas Bobokov hired the firm for $156,000 in July after being charged as part of an investigation into the illegal import and export of hazardous waste, as Foreign Lobby Report first reported here. The Alexandria Group has been painting the country’s government as a threat to US investors in the country.

Middle East

Qatar: The strategic investment arm of Qatar’s ministry of defense spent an eye-popping $16.5 million to support its South Carolina-based aerospace company Barzan Aeronautical during the six months through September. Barzan Holdings‘ political activities included procurement and development of defense and security items; engaging in commercial activity with US companies and working with relevant US government export control agencies; working with local and state officials on job creation; and working with US colleges to facilitate student exchange programs. In all Barzan has spent $76.5 million since setting up the Charleston company in 2018.

New domestic lobbying filings (LDA)

Chinese drone maker DJI Technology has hired CLS Strategies to lobby on “issues and policies pertaining to unmanned aircraft systems,” including the American Security Drone Act that would restrict the US government from purchasing Chinese drones. Lobbying on the account is Andrew Koneschusky, the former national press secretary for Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.). CLS joins Akin Gump, K&L Gates and Cassidy and Associates on the account.