Latest filings

Top Latina lobbyist reps Argentina & Ecuador; Bobi Wine’s man in Washington presses Biden to rethink support for Uganda; former RNC chief of staff ends Saudi lobbying: Thursday’s Daily Digest

Arnold & Porter hires top Latina lobbyist for help with Argentina and Ecuador

Alberto Fernandez addresses supporters in Buenos Aires, Argentina during the presidential campaign on Aug. 12, 2019 / By Matias Baglietto / Shutterstock

Arnold & Porter has hired a top Latina lobbyist and Democratic strategist with deep ties to the powerful Congressional Hispanic Caucus for help with its million-dollar contracts with Argentina and Ecuador.

Cristina Antelo and her firm Ferox Strategies will provide “legislative and public policy services” including “government affairs representation before the federal government,” according to an engagement letter with Arnold & Porter dated Jan. 19. The contract is for a total of $110,000 for both accounts and runs from Jan. 19 through May 31.

Antelo founded the company in November 2017 after working as a Wall Street investment banker and wealth management adviser. A native Spanish speaker, she is a founding member and former president of the Hispanic Lobbyists Association and a former interim CEO of the non-profit Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute (CHCI), which connects Hispanic members of Congress, business executives and advocacy and thought leaders to develop “the next generation of Latino leaders.”

Read the story here.

Bobi Wine’s man in Washington presses Biden to rethink support for Uganda

Bobi Wine campaigns for the presidency of Uganda / Bobi Wine Facebook page

Don’t miss the latest episode of our weekly Influencers podcast, where we interview Bobi Wine‘s Washington lobbyist as the Ugandan opposition leader challenges last month’s election results that saw the incumbent win a sixth term in office.

Jeffrey Smith of Vanguard Africa dishes on the 38-year-old pop star’s appeal to a young generation thirsty for democracy across the continent, the difficulty in unseating President Yoweri Museveni after three and a half decades in power and the campaign to get the Joe Biden administration and Congress to rethink $1 billion in annual US aid to the country. The podcast is particularly timely, with MTV announcing today that it was postponing its Africa Music Awards show that had been scheduled to be hosted virtually in Kampala later this month.

Read the story here and listen to the podcast here:

New lobbying filings and developments


Democratic Republic of the Congo: A coalition of 30 Congolese and international advocacy groups including Freedom House, Human Rights Watch and Global Witness wrote to Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen this week to urge them to rescind the Donald Trump administration’s 11th-hour license to Israeli mining tycoon Dan Gertler. Gertler was sanctioned under the Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act in 2017 for allegedly using his connections to then-President Joseph Kabila to secure mining rights in the Democratic Republic of the Congo at artificially low prices, at the expense of the Congolese people. The license came after a lobbying campaign by Trump impeachment trial lawyer Alan Dershowitz and former FBI Director Louis Freeh.

DR Congo mining chief lobbies for US visit amid corruption allegations

Nigeria: Sada Cumber, a Pakistani–American businessman who served as special envoy to the Organization of the Islamic Conference in 2008-2009, has belatedly registered lobbying work done on behalf of former Nigerian Vice President Atiku Abubakar during his campaign for the Feb. 2019 presidential election (Abubakar lost to the incumbent, Muhammadu Buhari). Cumber disclosed paying Holland & Knight $50,000 to help Abubakar secure a visa to the United States. Cumber signed a $16.5 million agreement with representatives of Abubakar in October 2018 — including $5.5 million for the visa — but wrote in his Department of Justice filing that the agreement was not implemented. Abubakar ended up visiting the US in January 2019 and held a rally at the Trump International Hotel in Washington after being granted a temporary suspension of a travel ban linked to decade-old bribery scandals, Reuters reported at the time.

Nigerian-Americans lobby for sanctions over police massacre

Middle East

Saudi Arabia: Hathaway Strategies, the Indiana firm led by former Republican National Committee chief of staff and campaign manager for Sen. Dan Coats (R-Ind.) Anne Hathaway, stopped representing the Saudi Embassy in Washington on Dec. 31. The firm had been hired as a subcontractor by Iowa-based Larson Shannahan Slifka Group (LS2 Group) in November 2019 for $10,000 per month through Oct. 31, 2020, as part of Saudi Arabia’s outreach to the US heartland.

Separately, LS2 Group subcontractor Summit Information Services disclosed being paid $40,000 in the second half of 2020 for outreach to media and businesses in Colorado, including the Vail ski resort, as well as to local and state politicians include Democratic state Rep. Julie McCluskie, Summit County
Commissioner Elisabeth Lawrence and Frisco Mayor Hunter Mortenson. Senior Account Executive Carol Saade left the firm and the account on Aug. 31.

Saudis reach out directly to US states amid bipartisan blowback in Washington

Saudi Arabia: Lobbyists for Saudi Arabia sent around a Jan. 30 story in the Washington Post highlighting changes to Saudi textbooks, which have been criticized for anti-Semitic and other extremist content. The story was notably pushed out by former Sen. Norm Coleman (R-Minn.) of Hogan Lovells and Ari Zimmerman at Brownstein Hyatt.

“I wanted to make sure you saw the recent Washington Post article regarding recent reforms and progress being made to the educational curriculum in Saudi Arabia,” Zimmerman wrote in an email to two dozen House and Senate staffers. “As you’ll see in the article, ‘the Institute for Monitoring Peace and Cultural Tolerance in School Education (IMPACT-se), an Israel-based group that monitors school curriculums, welcomed the changes. The group’s chief executive, Marcus Sheff, called them ‘quite astonishing’.”


Avenue Strategies, the lobbying firm founded by former Donald Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski and campaign adviser Barry Bennett, is planning to shut down, CNBC reports. The firm is currently registered to lobby for Turkish member of Parliament Ali Ihsan Arslan (better known as Mucahit Arslan), who has long served as one of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan‘s backchannels to Washington, as Foreign Lobby Report first reported on Oct. 9.

The former head of the US Justice Department’s Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA) unit, Brandon Van Grack, has left the department after more than a decade to join Morrison & Foerster, where he will co-chair the firm’s National Security Practice and its Global Risk and Crisis Management Group. Former prosecutor and Goodwin Procter associate Jennifer Kennedy Gellie succeeded Van Grack as the head of the FARA unit last month.

Trump’s pardons undercut a decade of foreign lobbying law enforcement. What now?