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Ivory Coast rivals lobby US ahead of election; anti-Netanyahu NGO hires US law firm for federal probes; armed Iranian Kurdish opposition loses lobbyist: Tuesday’s Daily Digest

Ivory Coast election rivals launch US lobbying war

A bitter electoral dispute in the world’s cocoa capital has spread to Washington as the incumbent president and his main challenger launch dueling lobbying campaigns for US support.

The office of Ivory Coast President Alassane Ouattara has agreed to pay the Glover Park Group $300,000.” The newly disclosed three-month contract, which runs until Dec. 15, comes as Ouattara’s opponents are crying foul over his decision to run for a third five-year term in the Oct. 31 election.

As government critics take to the streets the west African country, Ouattara’s opponents are also mobilizing in the United States.

Read the story here.

Israeli watchdog paid US law firm $40,000 for help with complaints to feds

An Israeli watchdog group critical of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu‘s behavior in office has paid a Washington law firm $40,000 for help with potential complaints to US authorities and whistleblower claims. The nonprofit Movement for Quality Government in Israel has retained Washington law firm Miller & Chevalier as counsel and paid the firm on Sept. 23, according to a recently disclosed lobbying filing with the US Department of Justice. The firm is assisting the group “in connection with its referrals to US authorities of potential violations of US laws impacting governance matters in the State of Israel.” Miller & Chevalier will also help advise the nonprofit “regarding potential whistleblower claims, if any, associated with such referrals.” The law firm has registered attorneys William BarryPaul Leder and James Tillen as foreign agents on the account.

The new disclosure lays out the following fee structure for the law firm’s work:

  • $30,000 for “presentations to various government agencies”;
  • $20,000 for the “initiation of investigation of by one or more US government agencies”; and
  • $10,000 for “advice regarding the filing of a whistleblower claim with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) or Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).” In the event the Israeli nonprofit receives any award from such a claim, Miller & Chevalier is entitled to 20%.

Neither the Movement for Quality Government in Israel nor Miller & Chevalier responded to repeated inquiries about the target of any complaints. But the group’s founder, Israeli lawyer Eliad Shraga, was quoted as a source in a recent Washington Post story about Netanyahu’s reported habit of letting US taxpayers foot the bill for cleaning his dirty laundry. “What’s different about this account is that Netanyahu is now being accused of misusing another government’s resources for his dirty laundry — not just his own,” Shraga told the Post. The story was published Sept. 23, the same day that Miller & Chevalier got paid. The nonprofit’s beef with Netanyahu isn’t new. The group has notably called for the prime minister to step down over accusations of corruption and has defended Israelis’ right to protest his government despite COVID-19 restrictions.

New foreign lobbying filings (FARA)


Nigeria: Mercury Public Affairs Managing Director Adam Bramwell has registered as a foreign agent for pro-independence activist Nnamdi Kanu of the Indigenous People of Biafra.

Zimbabwe: Mercury Public Affairs consultant William Lon Ogborn is no longer registered on the firm’s account with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Trade of Zimbabwe.


Haiti: Mercury Public Affairs employee Lucy Ann Dargahi is no longer registered on the firm’s account with the Presidency of the Republic of Haiti.


Australia: Edelman has inked a $56,000, month-long public relations contract with the Australian nonprofit Minderoo Foundation. The firm will highlight the foundation’s “OceanOmics initiative to better understand the biology of the deep ocean” as well as its “Stacked Odds” report “which details the
prevalence of women and girls in conditions of modern-day slavery.” Registered on the account are Senior Account Executive Iana Andrianova Pervazova and Assistant Account Executive Sean Thomas Willner in Washington and Senior Account Executive Jeremy Eisengrein in New York.

South Korea: Thomas Capitol Partners was paid $270,000 from the Embassy of the Republic of Korea in Washington and $71,000 from the Korea International Trade Association during the six months through September. The firm disclosed lobbying on the “U.S.-Korea General Bilateral Alliance” for the embassy and public relations services regarding “U.S.-Korea trade, investment and economic issues” for the association but provided little detail about specific contacts:

Thomas Capitol Partners lobbying disclosure / US Department of Justice

Middle East

Iran: Ayal Frank‘s AF International has stopped lobbying for the US office of the Komala Party of Iranian Kurdistan as of June 1. Frank communicated with the State Department’s Nathan Crook as well as officials from several pro-Israel groups on behalf of the armed Kurdish opposition movement during the six months through August, including the American Israel Public Relations Committee (AIPAC), the Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) and the American Jewish Committee (AJC), but did not disclose any payments from Komala. During the period Frank also communicated with Crook about US-Iran relations on behalf of the Iran Transition Council, which paid him $12,000. The group of exiled Iranian dissidents hired Frank in June, as Foreign Lobby Report first reported June 23. The Cogent Law Group remains registered to lobby for Komala.

Israel: Mercury Public Affairs employee Alicia Kimmelman is no longer registered on the firm’s account with Israeli spyware firm Q Cyber Technologies.

Syria: The Washington office of the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Council paid Ayal Frank‘s AF International $18,000 in the six months through August. Frank notably emailed with Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs David Schenker and staffers on the House and Senate Armed Services committees, as well as aides to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) during the period. The council hired Frank as their first Washington lobbyist over the summer, as we first reported on July 27.

United Arab Emirates: Edelman has added Vice President Vasudevan Rangarajan in New Delhi to its international PR contract with Mashreqbank, the UAE’s oldest privately owned bank.