By the numbers, New in Lobbying, Top contracts

$5 million Russian news contract tops September foreign influence spending

A Russian news agency’s $5.2 million contract with a Washington company to produce content for the Sputnik multimedia platform dominated foreign influence spending in Washington last month, according to a Foreign Lobby Report analysis of documents filed with the US Department of Justice in September.

The government of the Ivory Coast took second place with a $300,000 agreement signed by the office of President Alassane Ouattara ahead of controversial elections later this month.

And the Ministry of Petroleum of South Sudan signed a $280,500 deal with a New York communications firm for help removing sanctions against the country’s vital oil industry.

Other contracts had no end dates or had fees contingent on legal victories, leaving the possibility of even greater payouts.

New York CEO advisory firm Teneo Strategies for instance signed a $150,000-a-month deal with LetterOne, the Luxembourg investment vehicle founded by Russian oligarch Mikhail Fridman, the founder of Alfa Bank, Russia‚Äôs largest non-state bank. 

Meanwhile Maryland law firm Schulman Bhattacharya is to be paid out of any compensation it helps obtain for Fly Africa, a Somali aviation operator that lost a cargo plane carrying COVID-19 relief allegedly to Ethiopian fire. Likewise, Washington law firm Miller & Chevalier is entitled to 20 % of any whistleblower claims it can negotiate for the Movement for Quality Government in Israel, a watchdog group critical of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Foreign Lobby Report

Other interesting contracts include Tricuro‘s $58,000 deal to organize a Ukrainian delegation to Washington, which has been postponed until after the 2020 election amid concerns over foreign meddling in US politics.

With violence breaking out over the breakaway enclave of Nagorno-Karabakh in Azerbaijan, the Armenian government has hired former Sen. Bob Dole (R-Kansas) of the Alston & Bird law firm ahead of bilateral strategic talks in Washington later this month.

A US branch of a South Korean church linked to the worst COVID-19 outbreak in the country has also hired US help to defend itself from alleged persecution.

And the main Syrian opposition has rekindled its Washington presence after losing traction to rival Syrian Kurdish groups for years.

Finally, the Embassy of Japan has renewed its contracts with Holland & Knight and Hecht, Latham, Spencer & Associates. Holland & Knight also renewed its representation of the government of Gibraltar as the British overseas territory figures out its relationship with the European Union following Brexit.