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Latin America dominates new lobbying in October; ex-Trump Treasury officials lobby for Africa sanctions; Edelman signs $1.3 million deal to help Panama with money laundering PR: Tuesday’s Daily Digest

Latin America dominates October foreign influence contracts

Latin America dominated foreign influence contracts last month, with El Salvador and the Dominican Republic spending more than $1 million to cement their new leaders’ standing with the Donald Trump administration and prepare for what comes next.

The office of Dominican President Luis Abinader led the pack with a six-month, $618,000 lobbying deal with Vision Americas, according to a Foreign Lobby Report review of new contracts disclosed with the US Department of Justice in October.

Meanwhile El Salvador has hired a Washington firm led by former Bill Clinton aide Patrick Dorton for public relations help after its previous contract with a lobbyist close to President Trump came under fire.

And another former Republican congressman from Florida, Rep. Connie Mack, joined the campaign to defend former Colombian President Alvaro Uribe from accusations of links to right-wing paramilitary groups.

Read the story and check out our comprehensive graphic here.

Podcast: Meet the lobbyist connecting foreign nations to the increasingly powerful Congressional Black Caucus

The Congressional Black Caucus has long had outsize influence over US policy in Africa and the Caribbean.

But with a record-breaking number of African-Americans in Congress and atop key committees, the group of lawmakers finds itself being courted by international actors like never before. And that’s proving a boon for lobbyists with longstanding ties to the organization.

In this week’s episode of our Influencers podcast we interview Michael Williams, whose CBC-connected Williams Group recently signed on to lobby for India and Saudi Arabia. Read more here and check out the podcast below.

New in lobbying


Ethiopia / Nigeria: A new lobbying firm started by former Donald Trump Treasury officials Andrew Eck and Michael DiRoma has registered to lobby for human rights sanctions against government officials in Ethiopia and Nigeria. DiRoma Eck & Co. is working for ​Von Batten-Montague-York on behalf of two US groups, the Oromo Legacy Leadership & Advocacy Association representing Ethiopia’s Oromo minority, and the October 20th, 2020 Project, which is made up of Nigerian-American activists protesting last month’s deadly crackdown on demonstrations against police brutality.

Eck and DiRoma both served as deputy assistant secretary of the Treasury for Legislative Affairs under Trump. They are seeking to build congressional support for the two groups’ mission and press for Magnitsky Act sanctions against Ethiopian and Nigerian security forces and government officials involved in extra-judicial killings and other human rights abuses against the Oromo people and Nigerian protesters, respectively.


Marginalized Oromos hire lobbyists amid ethnic strife in Ethiopia
Nigerian-Americans lobby for sanctions over police massacre


Panama: Edelman has signed a $1.275 million contract to raise Panama’s profile in the United States, United Kingdom and European Union. The effort is funded by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the world body’s global development network. The year-long contract was effective Oct. 23 and calls on Edelman to create a strategic communications aimed at improving the country’s reputation internationally in cooperation with the country’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The contract notably calls for the identification of international experts who can highlight Panama’s efforts to fight money laundering and support the country’s removal from international blacklists.

Reuters reported in May that the European Union had added the Central American country to its list of countries that “pose significant threats to the financial system of the Union” because of failings in tackling money laundering and terrorism financing. Meanwhile in August the United States announced a $5 million plan to help the year-old government of President Laurentino Cortizo fight money laundering and corruption. Registered on the Edelman account are Global Public Affairs Vice Chairman Jere Jerome Sullivan, Vice President Yazmine Esparza Blanco, account supervisor Kaitlyn Jane McBrayer and senior account executive Iana Andrianova Pervazova.


Pakistan: Linden Government Solutions General Counsel Brian Ettinger stopped representing the Embassy of Pakistan on Nov. 9.  Linden President Stephen Payne and Executive Vice President Joseph Fleming remain engaged on the pro bono contract after consultant Stuart Jolly, a former campaign aide to Donald Trumpstopped providing services on the account last month. Houston-based Linden recently renewed its contract with the embassy for another three months, until Jan. 15, 2021. The unusual contract is pro bono but allows Linden to seek payment from the diaspora community.

Middle East

Israel: Arnold & Porter Kaye Scholer counsel Samuel Witten deregistered as a foreign agent for the government of Israel effective Nov. 6.

Morocco: Several more people have joined Moroccan phosphate mining giant OCP‘s lobbying and public relations blitz against threatened US tariffs. Legal counsel Ali Mernissi has registered with the US Justice Department as a foreign agent for OCP’s US subsidiary, OCP North America, while OCP NA lobby shop Cornerstone Government Affairs has registered Principal and Director Louie Perry and Vice President and Counsel Alice Gomez on the account.

Mining giant leads Moroccan lobbying blitz