Latest filings

DR nabs second ex-congressman; Libya activists look to Biden to ice out rebel leader Haftar; Edelman registers five on Saudi account: Wednesday’s Daily Digest

Former Black Caucus leader joins Latin America hawks on Dominican Republic contract

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo attends the inauguration lunch for Dominican President Luis Abinader in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, on Aug. 16, 2020/ State Department photo by Ron Przysucha

A former leader of the Congressional Black Caucus has joined a team of Latin America hawks working for the Dominican Republic, the second former member of Congress to lobby for the country’s new president.

Former Rep. Edolphus Towns (D-N.Y.), a senior adviser with Gray Global Advisors, has registered on the Washington firm’s $20,000-a-month subcontracting agreement with Vision Americas. The contract was effective Nov. 9 and runs through March 31, 2021.

Vision Americas signed a $600,000 agreement for six months with the Caribbean nation’s Ministry of the Presidency last month as newly elected President Luis Abinader seeks to consolidate the close US partnership he has forged under the Donald Trump administration.

Read the story here.


Libya activists look to Biden to put the screws on rebel leader Haftar

Command General of the Libyan armed forces Facebook page

The UN-recognized government in Tripoli and its US allies are banking on the incoming Joe Biden administration to ramp up Washington’s focus on Libya and deal the death blow to rebel leader eastern commander Khalifa Haftar‘s political ambitions.

Lobbyists for the Government of National Accord (GNA) and Libyan-American advocates are pursuing a multi-tiered campaign that includes stepped up US diplomatic engagement, congressional pressure on human rights and legal action against Haftar. The rebel leader’s rival US influence operations by contrast have largely dried up amid battlefield reversals and war crimes lawsuits in US court.

Read the story here.


Podcast: Transparency expert Ben Freeman on the trouble with FARA

Ben Freeman literally wrote the book on foreign lobbying.

The author of The Foreign Policy Auction, which he describes as the “first book to systematically analyze the foreign influence industry in the US,” Freeman is now the director of the Foreign Influence Transparency Initiative at the progressive Center for International Policy (CIP).

The initiative, which will celebrate its third anniversary on Dec. 1, was created to help bring the $500-million-a-year foreign influence out of the shadows. So it was both surprising and instructive to hear Freeman wrestle with the implications of the Justice Department’s massive expansion of the scope of the decades-old Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA) during his recent appearance on The Influencers, the podcast Foreign Lobby Report co-hosts with the LEVICK communications agency.

Read more here and click below to listen to the podcast.


New lobbying filings

Americas

Canada (Quebec): Maine PR firm Blaze Partners has added account manager Cameron Coleman to its account with the US affiliate of Canadian public utility Hydro-Quebec. The company faces environmental opposition in Maine to its plans for a $1 billion cross-border power transmission line to bring Quebec hydropower to New England.

Meanwhile the province’s chief executive, Premier Francois Legault, this week welcomed news of John Kerry‘s selection as President-elect Joe Biden‘s climate envoy by touting Quebec hydropower as something that US states should embrace if they want to fight against global climate change.

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Asia

Japan: New York PR firm Marathon Strategies has signed a $15,000 contract with the Consulate General of Japan in New York to “develop and execute a sponsored content partnership with one U.S. based media outlet.” The contract runs through March 31, 2020 and is in addition to the firm’s existing $11,845-per-month contract with the consulate.

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Middle East

Egypt: Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck has registered policy assistant Charlotte Carstens as a foreign agent on its new account with the Embassy of Egypt. She joins seven others on the account:

  • Former House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce (R-Calif.);
  • Nadeam Elshami, former chief of staff to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.);
  • Veteran Republican lobbyist and Washington office manager Marc Lampkin;
  • Democratic fundraiser Alfred Mottur;
  • Policy director Douglas Maguire;
  • Attorney David Cohen, a former deputy director for Policy and Government Affairs with the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC); and
  • Policy adviser Martha Burke.
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Saudi Arabia: Public relations giant Edelman has registered five people out of its Washington office on its $75,000-a-month contract with Saudi futuristic megacity Neom:

Read our full story from Tuesday on the contract here.

Yemen: New York nonprofit advisory group Independent Diplomat has amended the terms of its contract with Yemen’s separatist Southern Transitional Council. The new contract, which was signed Sept. 14, runs until the end of the year and calls on the group to be paid $20,000 per month, up from $15,000 previously. “Staff members will seek the views of the US Government by meeting officials and desk officers in the State Department including at the US Mission to the UN, in order to assist the STC in its diplomatic efforts,” Independent Diplomat said in its filing with the Department of Justice.

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