Latest filings

Energy co. suing Ukraine oligarch hires Dem firm with Burisma ties; ex-Rep. Boustany drops Turkey accounts; Saudi ambassador scores appearances across the heartland : Thursday’s Daily Digest

Energy co. suing Ukrainian oligarch Kolomoisky hires Dem firm with Burisma ties

Igor Kolomoisky speaks in Kyiv on March 26, 2015 / Shutterstock

A Canadian energy company mounting an international legal fight against a Ukrainian oligarch has hired a Democratic government affairs firm that got entangled in last year’s impeachment saga.

Calgary-based TIU Canada Ukraine Holdco Ltd. hired Blue Star Strategies effective Dec. 1 to lobby on “sustainable energy investments in Ukraine.” CEO Karen Tramontano, a former deputy chief of staff to President Bill Clinton, and COO Sally Painter, a former Clinton adviser, are registered to lobby for the company.

The contract comes as TIU is suing a ferroalloy plant owned by billionaire oligarch Igor Kolomoisky over accusations that the plant is trying to shake down TIU by disconnecting one of its solar power plants from the electricity grid.

Read the story here.



New lobbying filings

Africa

Baltimore-area consultant Richard Shamlin has stopped lobbying for the US-Africa Foundation as of Dec. 31. The Minneapolis non-profit hired Shamlin effective July 2020 to lobby on “healthcare and economic development in Africa.” Shamlin lobbied Congress and the US Institute of Peace on “East African development” in the third quarter of 2020. He disclosed receiving less than the $5,000 per quarter reporting threshold from lobbying activities on the foundation’s behalf.

Asia

Hong Kong: Capitol Counsel Principal Allegra Han has terminated her registration as a foreign agent for the China-United States Exchange Foundation as of Nov. 30. The firm has represented the foundation since 2014 and disclosed $90,000 in payments from the foundation in the six months through November. Partner Martin Gold remains registered on the account.

Europe

Bosnia-Herzegovina: Texas law firm McGinnis Lochridge disclosed $300,000 in payments from Bosnia-Herzegovina’s Bosnian Serb entity in the six months through November. Republika Srpska hired McGinnis in April 2019 to represent the entity’s “legal rights and obligations under applicable international law” including the Dayton Peace Accords, the European Convention on Human Rights and other international agreements. The firm runs a web site, www.bihdaytonproject.com, with news and opinion articles on behalf of Republika Srpska.

Italy: The Embassy of Italy in Washington has extended its public relations contract with the S-3 Group on a month-to-month basis. The embassy hired S-3 for $12,500 per month effective Oct. 1 to “amplify” virtual and in-person events hosted by the embassy and help draw a “more qualified audience.” S-3 reports to Giulia Prati, the head of the embassy’s Cultural Affairs Office.

According to the service agreement the campaign’s objectives are to :

  • Use social media to amplify online/virtual events and draw a more qualified audience to the embassy’s virtual events or events sponsored by the Embassy;
  • Use digital channels to promote and amplify monthly themes and ad-hoc campaigns of the embassy to specific target audiences and earned media, specialized press, blogs, and influences; and
  • Support the Embassy’s team in all aspects of social media execution, including helping to train the various team members located remotely at Consular offices in the US.

Registered on the account are S-3 Principal Matt Bravo, Managing Director / marketing Howard Opinsky, head of digital Hastie Afkhami, communications manager Nicole Connolly and communications associate Margaret Luddy. This is the first time in more than 50 years that the embassy has had a lobbying or public relations firm registered under the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA).

Russia: Washington television production company T&R received $20 million in the six months through November to produce news and opinion programs for Russia’s ANO TV-Novosti, the parent company of the state-owned English-language international television network RT. T&R registered as a foreign agent of ANO TV-Novosti in November 2017 after receiving a request from the US Department of Justice’s Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA) unit. T&R was formed in 2014 and is owned by Mikhail Solodovnikov, who is also the head of RT America.

Oct. 21, 2020
The US State Department designates six Chinese media outlets as “foreign missions”: Yicai Global, Jiefang Daily, Xinmin Evening News, Social Sciences in China Press, Beijing Review and Economic Daily.
Sept. 14, 2020
The US Department of Justice requires Al Jazeera‘s online news channel AJ+ to register as a foreign agent of the government of Qatar. AJ+ has yet to do so.
Sept. 14, 2020
Washington production company Ghebi registers as a foreign agent of Russia’s state-run Rossiya Segodnya news agency.
June 22, 2020
The US Department of State designates four Chinese media outlets as “foreign missions.” They are : China Central TelevisionChina News Service, the People’s Daily, and the Global Times
May 21, 2020
The China Daily Distribution Corp. discloses for the first time how much it spends to publish the Chinese Communist Party’s China Daily alongside US newspapers.
March 12, 2020
The US branch of Turkish public broadcaster TRT (Turkish Radio and Television Corporation) registers as a foreign agent of TRT. The DOJ determined that it had an obligation to do so back in August 2019.
Feb. 24, 2020
The US Department of State designates five Chinese media outlets as “foreign missions.” They are : Xinhua; China Global Television Network (CGTN); China Radio International; China Daily Distribution Corporation; and Hai Tian Development USA.
June 2019
Florida-based RM Broadcasting, which broadcasts Sputnik radio in the United States, registers as a foreign agent of Rossiya Segodnya after losing a lawsuit against the Department of Justice. The DOJ initially requested that RM register in June 2018.
Feb. 2019
CGTN America in Washington registers as a foreign agent of China’s CCTV. The Department of Justice required it to do so in December 2018. Xinhua has also been asked to register but has not done so, according to the Wall Street Journal.
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May 2018
Virginia-based content distributor MHz registers as a foreign agent of Germany’s DW (Deutsche Welle) and France’s FMM (France Medias Monde) “out of an abundance of caution.”
Feb.  2018
Washington-based RIA Global registers as a foreign agent of Rossiya Segodnya after receiving a request to do so from the DOJ in January.
Dec.  2017
RTTV America, which produces content for Russia’s RT and TV-Novosti, registers as a foreign agent of ANO TV-Novosti (RT’s parent company) after receiving a request in August.
Nov. 2017
Washington production company T&R registers as a foreign agent of Russia’s ANO TV-Novosti after DOJ requested it do so in August.
Timeline of recent foreign media registrations and designations / Foreign Lobby Report

United Kingdom: Washington law firm Harris, Wiltshire & Grannis disclosed $10,000 in payments from British law firm Linklaters for legal work on behalf of the UK’s Department for International Trade in the six months through November. The firm is one of five US law firms working as Linklater subcontractors on a post-Brexit free trade deal with the United States.

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Middle East

Turkey: Capitol Counsel disclosed $214,000 in payments from Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI) in the six months through November. The firm emailed and videoconferenced with multiple congressional staffers during the period. The firm initially acted as a subcontractor on the account but took the lead in late October after Greenberg Traurig terminated its contract with the embassy amid political fallout over Turkey’s support for Azerbaijan in its conflict with Armenia over Nagorno-Karabakh. Former Rep. Charles Boustany (R-La.) terminated his lobbying registration for the Turkish government on Nov. 30, leaving only Capitol Counsel partners Allegra Han and Towner French, a former deputy staff director for Rep. Pete Sessions (R-Texas), on the account.

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Turkey: Capitol Counsel disclosed $56,000 in payments from Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI) in the six months through November. The firm sent numerous emails and held several videoconferences with congressional staff and the office of Vice President Mike Pence during the period to try to lift a congressional block on the sale of Turkish-made attack helicopters to Pakistan. The firm initially acted as a subcontractor on the account but took the lead in late October after Greenberg Traurig terminated its contract with TAI amid political fallout over Turkey’s support for Azerbaijan in its conflict with Armenia over Nagorno-Karabakh. Former Rep. Charles Boustany (R-La.) and Greenberg partner Allegra Han terminated their lobbying registration for TAI on Nov. 15, leaving only Capitol Counsel partner Towner French, a former deputy staff director for Rep. Pete Sessions (R-Texas), on the account.

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Saudi Arabia: The Saudi Embassy in Washington paid the Iowa-based Larson Shannahan Slifka Group (LS2 Group) $506,000 in the six months through November to help get its message to the US heartland. During that time employees and contractors of the firm reached out to dozens of local media outlets, business groups and other sources of influence. The firm helped organize eight virtual events for the new ambassador, Princess Reema Bandar Al Saud, with World Affairs Councils and business groups in Indiana, Maine, Colorado, Iowa, South Dakota, Wyoming, Alaska and Pennsylvania. The firm also helped score two dozen radio interviews across the country for embassy spokesman Fahad Nazer; Abdulrahman Bakir, the Vice President for Investment Attraction & Development at the Saudi Ministry of Investment’s US office; and Hall Delano Roosevelt, the grandson of the late President Franklin Roosevelt and president and CEO of the US-Saudi Business Council. The LS2 Group in turn paid $161,000 to a bevy of subcontractors and consultants:

  • Summit Information Services (Colorado): $40,000
  • Anne Hathaway / Hathaway Strategies (Indiana): $40,000
  • South Dakota Republican Party Chairman Dan Lederman: $40,000;
  • Kathleen Summers-Grice (Maine): $38,000;
  • Crystal Canney (Maine): $3,000.
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