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Egypt taps former top Armed Services aide as Dems weigh military aid cuts; Maryland firm closes shop after failing to obtain US cannons for Taiwan; Bahrain investment agency renews with APCO: Friday’s Daily Digest

Egypt taps former top Armed Services aide as Dems weigh military aid cuts

Egyptian Air Force F-16 aircraft in formation / Egyptian Air Force photo

A former top congressional defense aide turned industry lobbyist has joined Egypt’s stable of influencers as Cairo looks to stave off potential military aid cuts by the new Democratic majority in Washington.

Josh Holly and his one-man lobbying firm Holly Strategies Incorporated have signed a $10,000-a-month subcontracting agreement with Brownstein Hyatt to represent the Egyptian Embassy in Washington. The contract was effective Feb. 15 and lasts one year.

Holly served as communications director for the House Armed Services Committee under chairmen Duncan L. Hunter (R-Calif.) and Buck McKeon (R-Calif.) before leaving for the now-defunct Podesta Group in 2011. He also represents the government of Iraq as well as several defense firms including Lockheed Martin, which makes the F-16 fighter jets that form the backbone of the Egyptian Air Force.

Read the story here.

New lobbying filings


Japan: Avanir Pharmaceuticals of California, a subsidiary of Japanese company Otsuka Pharmaceuticals, has hired Venn Strategies to lobby on “access to and innovation in biopharmaceuticals, including through policies related to payment, pricing and clinical trials.”

Taiwan: Maryland-based Black Bear ended its contract with Taiwan’s Ministry of Defense last spring after failing to acquire two M68A2 105 mm cannon systems on its behalf, according to a newly disclosed lobbying filing. The firm headed by Edward Bradley Perkins disclosed in 2019 that it had a deal with Yung Shung Hung, an acquisition official with the National Chung Shan Institute for Science and Technology (NCSIST), the ministry’s weapons developer, to obtain the weapons. According to a new lobbying disclosure Black Bear was able to secure an export license after approaching Rep. Brian Mast (R-Fla.) and then-Rep. Ted Yoho (R-Fla.). The deal fell through however when the US Army’s Watervliet Arsenal in New York “declined to accept an order for 2 cannons, due to the size of the order not meeting their ‘economic order minimum quantity’.” Black Bear subsequently ceased operations on Oct. 1, 2020 as “the purpose for the business no longer exists.”


France: Edelman has added media consultant Paul Bledsoe to its account with French insurance and financial services company AXA. The Chicago-based public relations firm was hired to “increase the visibility of Client and its leadership among key established stakeholder groups” in the United States. The $150,000 contract runs from Jan. 21 through June 30. Vice President Rachel Louise Millard, General Manager Sean Neary, senior account executives Julia Sofo and Weston Yates Loyd are also registered on the account.

Middle East

Bahrain: The Bahrain Economic Development Board has renewed its strategic communications and media relations contract with APCO Worldwide. The newly disclosed renewal runs for one year starting Oct. 7, 2020 and is for 1,872 Bahraini dinars (around $5,000) per month, down from $132,000 per year previously. APCO has represented the kingdom’s investment promotion agency since 2018.

Caught our eye

Christians United for Israel (CUFI) has launched a six-figure TV and digital ad campaign in West Virginia calling on the state’s democratic senator and key swing vote Joe Manchin to vote against Colin Kahl, President Joe Biden‘s pick for undersecretary of defense for policy, because of his “disgraceful” support for the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran and opposition to moving the US embassy to Jerusalem, the Washington Free Beacon reports.

Qatar hires former chief of staff to Senate power broker Manchin

The National Review has the scoop on a new Republican bill that would require think tanks to disclose any donations from foreign governments and political parties that exceed $50,000 annually. The bill is particularly aimed at curtailing rising Chinese influence in Washington.