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Turkey arms sales lobbying falls prey to Armenia conflict; Glover Park Group joins $900,000 contract with Ecuador; Mexico agriculture ministry contract ends after 15 years: Wednesday’s Daily Digest

Turkey lobbying to unblock US veto on arms sales to Pakistan falls prey to Armenia conflict

T129 ATAK helicopter / Turkish Aerospace Industries

Turkey’s efforts to unblock a congressional hold on arms sales to Pakistan are the latest lobbying casualty of the conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan.

Greenberg Traurig ended its representation for Turkish Aerospace Industries on Oct. 29, according to a new lobbying filing.

The Ankara-based company hired the US firm in mid-July for $25,000 per month to help unblock a congressional veto on a $1.5 billion sale of 30 of its T-129 attack helicopters to Pakistan, Foreign Lobby Report first reported July 28. The defense contractor is owned by the Turkish Armed Forces Foundation and the Presidency of Defense Industries, both of which are under the purview of the Turkish Ministry of National Defense.

Read the story here.


Africa

Mali: The Coordination of the Movements of the Azawad, an umbrella group of former Tuareg rebels, paid New York advisory firm Independent Diplomat $28,000 in the six months through October for work that included helping set up a phone call with US Ambassador to Mali Denis Bruce Hankins and calling Michelle Zjhra, a political officer at the embassy.

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Western Sahara: New York advisory firm Independent Diplomat held a call with Rachel Smith-Levy, a political officer at the US Mission to the UN, and with the State Department desk officers for Algeria and Morocco during the six months through October on behalf of the self-declared Government of the Saharawi Arab Democratic Republic (SADR), which seeks independence for the Moroccan-administered Western Sahara. The firm also communicated with lobbyists for Foley Hoag, which represents SADR supporter Algeria.

Americas

Caribbean: Lobbying firm TheGROUP DC received $120,000 from the government of Bermuda and $195,000 from Invest Barbados during the six months through October. The firm communicated with the House Ways and Means Committee and the offices of Reps. Emanuel Cleaver (D-Mo.), G.K. Butterfield (D-N.C.), Yvette Clark (D-N.Y.) and Greg Meeks (D-N.Y.) regarding digital tax issues as well as “issues regarding the Center for Disease Control” on behalf of the government of Bermuda, which has been lobbying to lower its COVID-19 risk rating by the CDC. The firm also spoke with Clark, Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) and Del. Stacey Plaskett (D-V.I.) about priorities of the Caribbean Community CARICOM and COVID-19 issues on behalf of the government of Barbados. Finally, the firm held a May 12 call with Meeks to discuss bilateral relations with Trinidad and Tobago Prime Minister Keith Rowley.

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Canada: H.Q. Energy Services (U.S.), the US affiliate of Quebec public utility Hydro-Quebec, paid Maine public relations Blaze Partners $424,000 in the six months through October to help override environmental groups’ opposition to a $1 billion cross-border power line carrying hydropower to New England. H.Q. Energy Services (US) has retained the firm’s services for a maximum of $300,000 through 2020 to “provide strategic advice, digital media planning/buying and public relations services.” According to a new lobbying filing:

“Blaze was retained by HQ to create a series of advertisements, social media posts and public relations outreach aimed at informing Mainers on the virtues of clean, renewable hydropower — and the benefits it represents to the state both economically and in terms of reducing climate-changing, green house gases. With relatively low name recognition across the state, our efforts also include building positive brand awareness for the Quebec-based utility that receives 90+% favorability ratings amongst its Canadian customers.”

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Ecuador: The Glover Park Group has registered as a subcontractor to Arnold & Porter on the white-shoe law firm’s new $900,000 lobbying contract with the Ecuadorian Ministry of Production, Foreign Trade, Investments and Fisheries. Terms and conditions of the engagement, including duration, fees and expenses, are yet to be determined. Glover Park has registered Managing Director Brett O’Brien and Director Melissa Childs on the account. Arnold & Porter’s lobbying is led by former Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Tom Shannon and Raul Herrera, a former general counsel to the Inter-American Investment Corporation.

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Mexico: Greenberg Traurig terminated its representation of Mexico’s agriculture and rural development ministry on May 30, according to a new lobbying filing. The firm had represented Mexico’s agricultural interests since 2005.

Separately, Greenberg Traurig received $224,000 from Mexico’s Ministry of Economy during the six months through October for advice on implementation of the United States–Mexico–Canada Agreement (USMCA).

Asia

Australia: Edelman has added account executive Weston Yates Loyd to its account with Australian nonprofit Minderoo

Azerbaijan: Washington public affairs firm the S-3 Group received $40,000 from a Baku-based company called the Investment Corporation that critics call a front for the Azerbaijani government during the six months through October. The firm emailed dozens of media outlets during the period on topics including “Armenia breaking cease-fire” and “Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.” S-3 also registered Vice-President of Communications Sarah Dolan Schneider as a foreign agent on the account on Nov. 30.

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Japan: Washington public affairs firm the S-3 Group was paid $108,000 by the Embassy of Japan in Washington during the six months through October for monitoring and advice on congressional and executive branch actions and developments relating to trade with Japan. The embassy also paid Peck Madigan Jones $75,000 for “general information on the US political process” during the same period.

Kazakhstan: Lobbyists for Greenberg Traurig held a videoconference with Rep. Trent Kelly (R-Miss.) on July 2 on behalf of the Ministry of Justice of Kazakhstan. They also teleconferenced with with staffers for Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) and Rep. Steve Chabot (R-Ohio) and emailed with numerous Capitol Hill staffers during the six months through October.

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South Korea: The New Jersey-based Korea National Tourism Organization received $976,000 from headquarters in Seoul to promote travel to the country during the six months through October. The organization’s branch in Los Angeles received $588,000 from Seoul during the same period.

Europe

Italy: Washington public affairs firm the S-3 Group has registered Vice-President of Communications Sarah Dolan Schneider as a foreign agent on its account with the Embassy of Italy as of Nov. 30.

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Middle East

Turkey: The Embassy of Turkey paid Greenberg Traurig $769,000 in the six months through October before the contract was terminated on Oct. 27 amid blowback from Armenian-American groups over Turkey’s support for Azerbaijan in the conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh. During that time lobbyists for the firm texted with Rep. Joe Wilson (R-S.C.), the top Republican on the House Foreign Affairs panel on the Middle East, and conversed with staffers for the House Foreign Affairs and House Armed Services committees and the Republican Study Committee as well as aides to Sen. Ben Cardin (D-Md.) and to Reps. Steve Chabot (R-Ohio) and Steve Cohen (D-Tenn.).

Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus: The offices of the Representative of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus in Washington and New York received almost $500,000 from during the six months through October. During that time the US representative sent multiple letters to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and video-conferenced with multiple delegations to the UN in addition to speaking by phone with State Department Director of Southern European Affairs Maria Olson and Deputy Assistant Secretary for European and Eurasian Affairs Matthew Palmer. Mehmet Dana replaced Ismet Korukoglu as the New York-based representative on June 18.

Yemen: The separatist Southern Transitional Council paid New York advisory firm Independent Diplomat $45,000 during the six months through October. The firm conducted unspecified diplomacy at the United Nations on the council’s behalf during the period.

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In other news

Adam Bramwell, the former chief of staff and general counsel to Sen. Chris Coons (D-Del.), is leading the new government relations practice at law firm Cohen & Gresser less than a year after joining Mercury Public Affairs. During his time with Mercury, Bramwell was notably registered to lobby for the Presidency of the Republic of Haiti, Nigerian separatist leader Nnamdi Kanu and China’s Alibaba Group. Coons is one of president-elect Joe Biden‘s closest allies on Capitol Hill. Read Cohen & Gresser’s press release on the move here.

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