Latest filings

Advocates hire lobby firm for Nigeria sanctions; Zimbabwe gains allies in fight against sanctions; Guyana party retains lobbyist after electoral defeat: Wednesday’s Daily Digest

Nigerian-American activists lobby for sanctions over police massacre

Several groups of Nigerian-American activists are lobbying Congress and the Donald Trump administration for sanctions against Nigerian officials after security forces shot and killed dozens of people protesting police brutality last week in the capital Lagos.

Washington policy and advocacy consulting firm Von Batten-Montague-York this week registered to lobby on behalf of an unincorporated group called The October 20th, 2020 Project, a reference to the date of the massacre. The firm’s Karl Von Batten is working the account alongside Andrew Eck, who served as a Treasury Department liaison to Congress until last month.

Meanwhile pro-independence Biafran activists have written to President Donald Trump urging him to adopt “punitive measures” unless Lagos adopts reforms.

Read the story here.


New foreign lobbying filings (FARA)

Africa

Zimbabwe: Mercury Public Affairs helped its client Zimbabwe mark its second anti-sanctions day on Sunday by distributing statements of support from the 16-member Southern African Development Community (SADC) in favor of an end to US and European sanctions imposed under former president Robert Mugabe. The campaign appears to have failed to change many minds, however, with US Ambassador Brian Nichols dismissing it as a distraction from needed reforms to tackle corruption and other ills. “I think if the government of Zimbabwe put the energy that they put into organizing these types of events and generating statements from other SADC members into pursuing the reform agenda the better [off they’d be],” he reportedly told reporters in Harare.

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Americas

Guyana:

Washington lobby firm JJ&B remains registered as a foreign agent for Guyana’s former ruling party despite its client’s electoral defeat. The firm signed up as a lobbyist for then-President David Granger‘s government and his APNU + AFC Coalition in the spring of 2020 amid a disputed recount and legal battle over March elections in the impoverished but oil-rich Latin American country. Opposition candidate Irfaan Ali was sworn in in August amid US and international pressure on Granger to concede defeat. A new lobbying disclosure for the six months through September show JJ&B continued to email congressional offices about the election and the recount as late as Sept. 7. The firm told Foreign Lobby Report the contract remains active as of today.

JJ&B has disclosed a total of $50,000 in payments from the APNU+AFC Coalition since March although the contract is for $40,000 per month. The contract runs until March 2021 but can be terminated by either party with 30 days’ notice. Registered on the account are partners James Albertine, John Albertine and Bart Fisher and consultants David Fraser and Michael Granger.

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Europe

Italy: The Italian Government Tourist Board’s offices in New York and Los Angeles received $1.24 million from their parent office in Rome to promote travel to the country in the first half of the year.

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Middle East

Morocco: Neale Creek received $120,000 via JPC Strategies in the six months through September for its lobbying on behalf of the Kingdom of Morocco. The firm’s owner and sole registered foreign agent, Andrew King, is a former deputy chief of staff to Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), the chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee panel with jurisdiction over foreign aid. King disclosed numerous contacts with Republicans on the House Appropriations committees as they prepared the annual foreign aid spending bill for FY 2021, which once again includes the disputed Western Sahara in the section on US aid to Morocco. King notably spoke by phone with Rep. Hal Rogers (R-Ky.), the top Republican on the foreign panel, as well as committee member Chris Stewart (R-Utah). He also spoke by phone with Senate Appropriations Committee members John Kennedy (R-La) and Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.) and met with Graham last month. Finally King logged three calls with Department of Energy senior adviser Victoria Coates in August and September.

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Qatar: Neale Creek also disclosed $300,000 in payment from the Embassy of Qatar in Washington during the six months through September. Founder Andrew King disclosed seven calls and one meeting with Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), his former boss, during the period as well as three calls with Department of Energy senior adviser Victoria Coates. Qatar is locked in a multi-million influence battle with the United Arab Emirates, which severed diplomatic ties along with Saudi Arabia in June 2017 over Qatar’s ties to political Islamists.

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