- Russia tops September influence contracts
- Taiwan chipmaker debuts in-house lobbying
- Paul Ryan joins Teneo
$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.
Read the full story here.
New foreign lobbying filings (FARA)
Lobbyists for Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck held Zoom meetings with several lawmakers on behalf of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia during the six months through August, according to a new lobbying filing. These include Sen. Jack Reed (D-R.I.) , the top Democrat on the Senate Armed Services Committee, and Reps. Eric Swalwell (D-Calif.), Dan Kildee (D-Mich.), Chrissy Houlahan (D-Penn.), Angela Craig (D-Minn.) and Derek Kilmer (D-Wash.). Topics included the annual National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), the anti-cartel NOPEC Act, Saudi arms sales and this summer’s Saudi oil flotilla to the US Gulf coast. The firm did not report any fees from the kingdom during the period.
Other Brownstein clients include:
- The government of Cambodia: Brownstein received $180,000 from the Cambodian government during the period and lobbied on Appropriations legislation. Brian McKeon left the account on Aug. 31;
- Fujian Jinhua: Brownstein lobbyists emailed Under Secretary of Commerce for Industry and Security Cordell Hull several times in August to discuss the Chinese chipmaker, which paid the firm $287,000 during the six-month period;
- Liberian International Ship & Corporate Registry (LISCR): Former House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce (R-Calif.) held a July 20 call to discuss the Liberia shipping registry with six US officials: James Alverson and Gwen Huller of the Department of Defense; State Department Aviation and Maritime Affairs chief Evan Foster; State Department Maritime Security Lead Manoela Borges; State Department Africa Bureau maritime security initiatives expert Jennifer Ketchum; and Greg Garland, also of the State Department. Liberia is the world’s second most popular “flag of convenience”, behind only Panama, allowing more than 3,700 foreign-owned ships to register under its flag. The registry paid Brownstein $61,500 during the period.
Bermuda: The British overseas territory has been lobbying the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Congress regarding its ranking as a “Level 2” (moderate risk) country for COVID-19, which requires people coming from the country to quarantine if they travel to New York. “The Government of Bermuda is contacting officials at the CDC to inform them that Bermuda’s seven-day positivity rate is one, and its positivity rate is 0.1%,” Washington lobby shop theGROUP DC wrote in an email to staffers for House Foreign Affairs Committee and Congressional Black Caucus member Gregory Meeks (D-N.Y.).
Australia: Washington firm RAM Identity Strategies has deregistered as a foreign agent for Australia’s Biometrics Institute, saying it never needed to register its $700-a-day consulting work in the first place. The only registered agent on the account is Robert Mocny, a former director of the Department of Homeland Security’s Office of Biometric Identity Management.
Azerbaijan: BGR Government Affairs continues to distribute fact sheets blaming Armenia for the ongoing violence in the Nagorno-Karabakh enclave on behalf of Azerbaijan’s Embassy in Washington.
Turkey: Mercury Public Affairs helped disseminate a letter to editor to the Los Angeles Times from Merih Kepez, the deputy secretary-general of the Foreign Economic Relations Board of Turkey, taking issue with the newspaper’s reporting about tensions with the US. Mercury represents the Turkey-US Business Council (TAIK).
New domestic lobbying filings (LDA)
The US subsidiary of Taiwanese chipmaker MediaTek has registered an in-house lobbying arm. Vice President of Government Affairs W. Patrick Wilson will lobby on “export controls, trade relations, trade agreements, STEM programs, research partnerships, university research, US-Taiwan trade relations, federal government research program funding, semiconductor investment and manufacturing incentives” on behalf of the world’s fourth largest global fabless semiconductor company. Wilson served as director of the Commerce Department’s Office of Business Liaison until this July. The registration follows an August Commerce Department order that dealt a severe blow to the ability of MediaTek and other makers of off-the-shelf microprocessors to Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei.
In other news
Former House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) has joined Teneo as a senior adviser. The New York CEO advisory firm is registered as a foreign agent for Saudi Arabia’s futuristic megacity project NEOM and the United Arab Emirates’ Salama bint Hamdan Al Nahyan Foundation, as well as Russian oligarch Mikhail Fridman‘s LetterOne investment firm in Luxembourg.
Former Rep. Toby Moffett (D-Conn.) is joining Mercury Public Affairs as co-chair of its Washington office, Politico Influence reports. The firm represents a slew of foreign clients including the governments of Turkey, Libya, Haiti and Zimbabwe. Reports Politico: “He was previously a lobbyist at Mayer Brown and before that ran his own lobbying firm, the Moffett Group. He’s the latest former member of Congress working for the firm, where he’ll join former Sens. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) and David Vitter (R-La.) and former Reps. Joe Garcia (D-Fla.), Jeff Miller (R-Fla.), Denny Rehberg (R-Mont.), Max Sandlin (D-Texas) and Vin Weber (R-Minn.).”