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Morocco parts with GOP lobbyists after securing W. Sahara win under Trump; New York’s Teneo gets $3 million boost for UAE work; Turkey’s F-35 lobbying draws flak: Monday’s Daily Digest

Morocco parts ways with GOP lobbyists after securing W. Sahara win under Trump

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo meets with Moroccan Foreign Minister Nasser Bourita, at the Department of State, Sept. 17, 2018 / State Department photo by Michael Gross

The government of Morocco is revamping its US lobbying operations for the second time in four years after another changing of the guard in the White House.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation terminated its $75,000-a-month contract with Republican-owned JPC Strategies on Jan. 17, according to a new lobbying filing. The firm, which does business as Gentium Strategies, was founded by James Christoferson, a former deputy chief of staff for Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas).

JPC subcontractors FGH Holdings (formerly the Glover Park Group) and Neal Creek, which was founded by former Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) staffer Andrew King, have also deregistered as of last month. King notably accompanied members of the Republican Jewish Coalition on a January 2019 trip to Morocco attended by Elliot Abrams, who would go on to serve as special representative for Iran under Trump.

The lobbying reshuffle follows a familiar pattern.

Morocco first hired JPC in January 2018 shortly after parting ways with Democratic lobbyists following President Donald Trump‘s election. Previously the influence campaign had been led by the Moroccan American Center for Policy and its chairman Ed Gabriel, a former US ambassador to Morocco under President Bill Clinton who advised Hillary Clinton‘s 2016 presidential campaign.

Read the story here.

New in lobbying

Arnold & Porter has registered Senior Policy Specialist Adrienne Jackson on its accounts with the governments of Argentina, Ecuador and the Federated States of Micronesia. Jackson served more than four years as an aide to Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.) when he chaired the Senate Armed Services Committee.


Colombia: The government of Colombia has signed a new public relations contract with the Fratelli Group. The contract is for $242,000 from Feb. 10 through the end of the year, the same monthly rate as before. Registered on the account are Frances Cox and Peter Rooney. Fratelli began representing the Colombian government in 2008. The renewal comes as former President Alvaro Uribe has launched his own lobbying and public relations campaign as he battles allegations of links to right-wing paramilitary groups responsible for multiple massacres in the country’s long war with Marxist guerrillas.

Colombia’s Uribe hires GOP firm amid mass killing probe

Dominican Republic: Vision Americas has belatedly filed an English-language translation of the $600,000 contract it signed with the Dominican government in October 2020. The firm was founded by Roger Francisco Noriega, a former Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs and ambassador to the Organization of American States (OAS) under President George W. Bush.

Dominican Republic strikes $600,000 lobbying deal with veteran Latin America hawk


Armenia: The Armenian National Committee of America and the Armenian Assembly of America celebrated after more than 100 House members signed on to a Feb. 19 letter from Rep. Frank Pallone (D-N.J.), the founder of the Congressional Caucus on Armenian Issues, to Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin calling on the US to pursue pro-Armenian policy priorities and not “allow Russia, Turkey, and Azerbaijan to solely dictate and dominate the situation in Nagorno-Karabakh.”

Azerbaijan: Stellar Jay Communications received $49,700 from the Embassy of Azerbaijan in Washington in the six months through January for “op-ed submissions to editors and strategic consulting.”

Kazakhstan: Los Angeles-based law firm Latham & Watkins disclosed receiving $425,000 from Kazakhstan’s Ministry of Justice for legal representation in the six months through January. During the period the firm paid Mercury Public Affairs $210,000 for “professional services.” The firm is part of a team of law and public relations firms helping the Central Asian nation in a $500 million legal fight with Moldovan businessman Anatolie Stati. The two parties have been battling in US and European courts for years over Kazakhstan’s seizure of Stati’s petroleum operations in 2010.

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

South Korea: The Global America Business Institute (GABI) — the Washington-based sister institute of the Korean American Business Institute in Seoul — attended discussions with Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.) and then-Rep. Ben McAdams (D-Utah) through the Foundation for Nuclear Studies on behalf of the Korea Atomic Energy Research Institute (KAERI) according to a lobbying filing for the six months through October 2020. Florence Lowe-Lee, a former longtime treasurer of the Korea Economic Institute, founded GABI in 2011 and has been a registered foreign agent for KAERI since then.

The Korea Economic Institute of America (KEI) in Washington has registered multimedia producer Douglas Harrison Steinman as a foreign agent of the government-funded Korea Institute for International Economic Policy (KIEP). According to the filing, ” the aim of the Korea Economic Institute (KEI) is to raise awareness of Korea-related issues and its functions are limited to those of think tanks and academic activities such as educational outreach and promoting dialogue. KEI is a nonprofit and does not lobby.” KEI has been a registered foreign agent of KIEP since 1990.

South Korean institute defends trade pact with China

Taiwan: Taiwan’s de facto embassy in Washington has renewed its contract with International Trade and Development Agency Inc. of New York through the first half of the year. The contract with the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office (TECRO) is for $30,000 for six months, the same as previously. The firm will act as a “public relations and trade promotion consultant,” “arrange meetings” with Congress and the executive branch and “encourage visits to Taiwan.” During the second half of 2020, the firm reported that it conducted studies on US-Taiwan trade and relevant legislation Registered on the account are the firm’s owner, former congressman Lester Wolff, Democrat of New York; legal consultant Morgan Murphy; and consultant Michael Yorg.


Austria: The US subsidiary of Austrian vaccine company ​Valneva Austria GmbH has hired Covington & Burling to lobby on “coverage of CDC recommended vaccines.” Gary Heimberg and Joan Kutcher are registered on the account.

Middle East

Iraq (Kurdistan): The US office of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) has registered Public and Humanitarian Affairs Director Delovan Fattah Barwari as a foreign agent.

Israel: Arnold & Porter has renewed its contract with the Economic Office of the Israeli Embassy in Washington for legal services “in connection with economic and finance matters.” The contract, which runs from Jan. 1 through the end of the year, is for $6,000 per month, down from $10,000 per month previously. The firm has been registered as a foreign agent for the State of Israel since 1988.

Qatar: Veteran Democratic lobbyist Bob Crowe will lobby for the Embassy of Qatar in Washington after parting ways with Nelson Mullins, Politico reports. Nelson Mullins told Foreign Lobby Report that Qatar is expected to pay Crowe $15,000 per month and that its own contract with the embassy would be reduced by the same amount, from $125,000 to $110,000 a month. Crowe served as finance co-chair of the Democratic National Committee in 2004 and as John Kerry’s national finance co-chair during that year’s presidential campaign.

Qatar picks up ex-AIPAC liaison as Gulf lobby fight shows little sign of letting up

Saudi Arabia: Iowa public relations firm the Larson Shannahan Slifka Group (LS2 Group) has renewed its contract to provide “media outreach and engagement efforts across select media markets” for the Saudi Embassy in Washington for 2021. The new contract was effective Jan. 1. It is worth $114,000 per month, down from $126,500 per month when the firm was initally hired in November 2019. LS2 Group has hired consultants and subcontractors across the United States over the past year as the Saudis make their case directly to political and business leaders in the heartland amid bipartisan blowback in Washington.

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

Turkey: The Armenian National Committee of America and the Hellenic American Leadership Council are among the advocacy groups denouncing Arnold & Porter‘s lobbying for Turkey to reintegrate the F-35 fighter jet program (see tweet below). Foreign Lobby Report first reported on the $750,000 contract on Feb. 18. The politically powerful Armenian diaspora has previously targeted lobbyists for Azerbaijan and its ally Turkey follow last year’s conflict over the majority-Armenian enclave of Nagorno-Karabakh.

Armenian diaspora targets Azerbaijan lobbyists

United Arab Emirates: Teneo Strategy is expanding its contract with the United Arab Emirates by more than $3 million, according to a new lobbying filing. The New York CEO advisory firm has tacked on a $250,000 “additional monthly retainer” to its existing $250,000-a-month base contract with the Salama bint Hamdan Al Nahyan Foundation for the period from Feb. 1 through Oct. 31, for a total of $2.25 million. The firm will also be paid $800,000 for short-term work: $500,000 for “consultancy services to support organizational transformation and development” provided between Jan. 31 and March 30 and another $300,000 to develop a communications strategy and celebration committee plan for the 50th anniversary of the Gulf kingdoms’ union in December 1971, including “advisory, planning and narrative development.”

Teneo has represented the foundation dedicated to art, culture and heritage, health, and early childhood development since last spring. Princess Salama is the wife of Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, widely considered to be the de facto ruler of the United Arab Emirates.

Teneo to rep Emirati princess’s foundation for $3 million a year

United Arab Emirates: United Arab Emirates lobbyist American Defense International organized virtual meetings between Ambassador Yousef al-Otaiba and half a dozen US lawmakers in the six months through January: Sen. Jacky Rosen (D-Nev.) and Reps. Ted Lieu (D-Calif.), Andy Kim (D-N.J.), Mike Rogers (R-Ala.), Josh Gottheimer (D-N.J.) and Tim Ryan (D-Ohio). Otaiba also spoke by phone with House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) regarding UAE-related provisions in national intelligence legislation. Lobbyists for the firm also repeatedly contacted the offices of House Armed Services Committee Chairman Adam Smith (D-Wash.), Donald Norcross (D-N.J.), the chairman of the subcommittee on Tactical Air and Land Forces, and Mike McCaul (R-Texas), the top Republican on the House Foreign Affairs Committee to discuss a range of issues including US arms sales to the UAE and the conflicts in Libya and Yemen.

Shameless plug: On December 10 American Defense International lobbyists reached out to staffers for Reps. Kim and Lieu to inquire about a Foreign Lobby Report exclusive about Qatar’s lobbying on the F-35 sales to the UAE.


The Joe Biden administration has issued its first ethics waiver for former Amnesty International lobbyist Charanya Krishnaswami, Axios reports. Krishnaswami directed the organization’s advocacy programs for the Americas and now serves as senior counselor to Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas.

Sen. Roger Wicker (R-Miss.) has introduced the Democracy Dies in Darkness Act, which would amend the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA) to require paid inserts in US newspapers such as the Washington Post to prominently disclose their foreign source. The bill is particularly aimed at inserts from China Daily, an imprint of the Chinese Communist Party. Foreign Lobby Report first reported in June 2020 that China Daily Distribution Corp., which publishes the global edition of the Chinese Communist Party’s English-language newspaper, had paid the Post and the Wall Street Journal $10 million over the previous four years to carry its insert.

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

The New York Times has new revelations about the lobbying campaign that led President Donald Trump to lift sanctions on Israeli mining magnate Dan Gertler despite US sanctions linked to corruption in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

DR Congo mining chief lobbies for US visit amid corruption allegations