Latest filings

Top US diplomat Shannon lobbies for trade with Ecuador; Morocco phosphate lobbyists target farm-state senators on tariffs; ex-AIPAC official joins Rep. Royce, Pelosi aide on Egypt contract: Monday’s Daily Digest

Ecuador nabs top US diplomat Tom Shannon for $900,000 trade push

Ecuador has hired a veteran US diplomat with extensive experience in Latin America as it seeks to build on trade talks begun under the Donald Trump administration.

The Ministry of Production, Foreign Trade, Investments and Fisheries has hired white-shoe international law firm Arnold & Porter for $900,000, according to a new lobbying filing with the US Department of Justice. The contract was effective Nov. 10 and runs through May 2021.

Signing for the firm were former Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Tom Shannon and Raul Herrera, a former general counsel to the Inter-American Investment Corporation. Senior Minister Ivan Ontaneda signed for Ecuador.

Read the story here.

Morocco lobbyists target farm-state senators in fight over fertilizer tariffs

Phosphate mine / OCP

In case you missed this story Friday afternoon: Lobbyists for Morocco’s biggest company are targeting farm-state senators in their campaign to stave off threatened tariffs on a key fertilizer ingredient.

Phosphate mining giant OCP launched a massive lobbying and public relations campaign last month after the Mosaic Company, a Tampa-based rival, filed a complaint with the US Department of Commerce and the US International Trade Commission. Mosaic accuses Morocco and Russia of subsidizing their phosphate fertilizer industry through tax breaks and other means, which OCP denies.

Earlier this month OCP lobbyists emailed the offices of Sens. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) and Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) to invite them to connect with the head of OCP’s US subsidiary and sign on to a letter opposing the threatened tariffs, newly disclosed lobbying filings show.

Read the full story here.

New lobbying filings


Nigeria: Mercury Public Affairs distributed a Nov. 18 article quoting Christian activists pressing the State Department to label Nigeria a “country of particular concern” for religious freedom amid a surge in violence against Nigerian Christians. Mercury represents Indigenous People of Biafra leader Nnamdi Kanu, an exiled activist advocating for independence for the predominantly Christian southeastern region.

Nigerian-Americans lobby for sanctions over police massacre


Canada (Alberta): The Province of Alberta has renewed its lobbying contract with Ottawa-based Crestview Strategy through March 2021 amid a slew of trade challenges from the Donald Trump administration and the incoming Joe Biden team. The province has agreed to pay the firm $30,000 per month for six months starting Oct. 1, according to a new lobbying disclosure. That’s up from $5,000 per month when the firm was initially hired in August. Maryscott Greenwood, the manager of Crestview’s Washington office and the CEO of the Canadian American Business Council, is the only registered agent on the account. “We understand that the core issues of importance to the Province include energy and environmental policy; trade issues including food and agriculture; infrastructure and ‘Buy American’ proposals; and investment issues,” Greenwood wrote in an October engagement letter to James Rajotte, Alberta’s senior representative to the United States.

News of the contract renewal comes as the province earlier this month retained Sens. Trent Lott (R-Miss.) and John Breaux (D-La.) at Crossroads Strategies for $350,000 for 12 months for help with the Keystone Pipeline and other issues. Alberta is a part-owner of the proposed pipeline between the province’s oil sands and refineries in Illinois and Texas, which Biden vowed to stop during the presidential campaign.

Canada province braces for fight with Biden over Keystone Pipeline

Colombia: Colombian lawmaker Ivan Cepeda has petitioned a court in Bogota to shut down a US advocacy campaign that accuses him of being behind the investigation into former President Alvaro Uribe. The DCI Group and the Liberty International Group of former Rep. Connie Mack (R-Fla.) have been hired to help clear Uribe of accusations that he pressured witnesses into retracting damaging statements about his alleged links to right-wing paramilitary groups responsible for several massacres in the country’s war against left-wing militants. The campaign includes a “Free Uribe” web site and social media presence through which Mack has accused Cepeda of ties to the Marxist Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), which are a US-designated terrorist group. “Senator Ivan Cepeda cannot silence a former member of the U.S. Congress from posing legitimate questions of grave concern to the people of the United
States,” Mack said in response to the petition, according to a lobbying disclosure filed with the Department of Justice.

Former Florida Rep. Connie Mack registers as lobbyist for Colombia’s Uribe

Venezuela: Sovereign debt restructuring veteran Lee Buchheit provided “strategic advice on the treatment of Venezuela’s existing foreign currency debt stock, including advice on potential debt restructuring scenarios, the preservation of Venezuela’s assets, and communications with creditors and other interested parties” on behalf of US-recognized President Juan Guaido during the six months through mid-November. He did not disclose any payments or political activities on Guaido’s behalf during the period, however. Buchheit retired in 2019 after a 43-year career with Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton and registered as a foreign agent for Guaido’s government in May 2019.


China: The Chinese government spent more than $4.4 million in the six months through October on advertorial inserts in US newspapers and other expenses related to the distribution of China Daily, the global edition of the Chinese Communist Party’s English-language newspaper. The China Daily Distribution Corp., which publishes the newspaper, notably ran its China Watch inserts in the Los Angeles Times, the Chicago Tribune and, until this summer, the Wall Street Journal. China Daily began disclosing its payments to US media companies in June after being required to do so by the Department of Justice, Foreign Lobby Report first reported June 4.

Revealed: China media arm spent more than $10 million on US newspaper advertorials

Kazakhstan: Hutton-Transcon Joint Venture co-owner Osman Siddique terminated his registration as a foreign agent for the Ministry of Justice of Kazakhstan effective Nov. 7. Co-owner Michael Hutton remains registered. The firm registered as a subcontractor to RJI Capital Corporation on the account in December 2019. The Central Asian country has launched a massive lobbying and public relations campaign amid a $500 million legal fight with a disgruntled oil and gas investor.

Kazakhstan lawyer hires ex-journalists for ‘fair and balanced coverage’ of $500 million energy suit

Middle East

Egypt: Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck has added Attorney David Cohen to its new contract with the Embassy of Egypt. Cohen, a former deputy director for Policy and Government Affairs with the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) and former professional staffer on the House Committee on Banking and Financial Services, joins six others on the account including former House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce (R-Calif.) and Nadeam Elshami, former chief of staff to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.)

Egypt assembles bipartisan lobbying team for post-Trump era