Latest filings

UAE climate envoy launches US PR push; senior USAID official lobbies for Haiti; crisis communicators join Ethiopia account: Thursday’s Daily Digest

UAE climate envoy launches US PR push

US climate envoy John Kerry discusses climate cooperation with his counterpart Sultan Ahmed al-Jaber during an April 2021 visit to the UAE / Embassy of the UAE in Washington

The United Arab Emirates has tapped a public relations firm for its new climate envoy as the Gulf country cozies up to the Joe Biden administration on one of its main priorities.

The Abu Dhabi National Oil Company has hired APCO Worldwide to represent Sultan Ahmed al-Jaber in his “interactions with the United States as it relates to the global climate agenda.” The $45,000 contract with Dubai-based APCO Worldwide FZ is for “strategic communications and media relations services within the United States” and runs from April 4 through the end of June.

APCO, which is headquartered in Washington, has registered its founder and executive chairman Margery Kraus on the account along with Kraus’ chief of staff, Prateek Allapur, and consultant Suzanne Smalley.

Read the story here.


Guest column: Want to fix America’s foreign lobbying law? Learn from past reform failures

Since President Donald Trump‘s election, at least 44 bills to reform the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA) have been introduced in Congress.

None have been enacted.

Guest columnist Ben Freeman‘s Foreign Influence Transparency Initiative went through them all to draw some lessons for the current crop of lawmakers eyeing fixes to the country’s pre-eminent tool for keeping tabs on foreign lobbying and public relations efforts.

Read the column here.


New lobbying filings

Africa

Ethiopia: Holland & Knight has added two of its top crisis communications experts to its team of public policy lawyers lobbying for the government of Ethiopia. Audrey Young, the head of the firm’s High-Stakes Communications Team, and team member Stewart Gordon, have joined the firm’s six-month, $270,000 contract with the Ministry of Peace. Both are also members of the firm’s Risk and Crisis Management Team. They will provide “strategic counsel and federal government relations assistance before the Congress and Administration in Washington, DC.”

The ministry hired Holland & Knight last month amid bipartisan blowback over the conflict in the northern Tigray region and calls for sanctions by Ethiopian-American advocacy groups. Michael Cavanaugh, the co-chair of the firm’s energy team, signed the contract with Peace Minister Muferiat Kamil. Also registered on the account are lawyers Ronald Oleynik, Rich Gold, Francisco Sanchez and Michael Galano. The Ethiopian Embassy previously hired lobbying firm Venable in February for $35,000 per month for an initial three months.

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Meanwhile DiRoma & Eck ended its lobbying for sanctions on Ethiopian officials on Feb. 8, according to a new lobbying filing. The new firm started by Andrew Eck and Michael DiRoma, both former deputy assistant Treasury secretaries for Legislative Affairs in the Donald Trump administration, was hired by Von Batten-Montague-York on behalf of the Oromo Legacy Leadership & Advocacy Association in October. The firm reported receiving $30,000 to lobby for “Global Magnitsky Act sanctions against members of the Ethiopian security forces responsible for the extrajudicial killings and other human rights abuses committed against the Oromo people” and for reintroduction and passage of last year’s congressional resolution from Sen. James Risch (R-Idaho) “calling on the Government of Ethiopia and the Tigray Peoples Liberation Front to cease all hostilities, protect the human rights of all Ethiopians, and pursue a peaceful resolution of the conflict in the Tigray region of Ethiopia.”

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Americas

Aruba: Daniel J. Edelman‘s Zeno Group has signed a $1.1 million statement of work for public relations for 2021 with the Aruba Tourism Authority and a $75,000 statement of work to provide crisis and issues management and COVID-19 monitoring reports from April 1 through the end of the year. The tourism authority selected Zeno as its agency of record for North America for three years in March 2019.

Canada: Crossroads Strategies has struck a deal with the province of Alberta to bring on Canadian lobbying firm Crestview Strategy as a subcontractor. Crestview’s managing director for the US, Maryscott Greenwood, and Beth Burke will help arrange congressional meetings for Alberta’s senior representative to the US, James Rajotte. Crossroads signed a year-long, $350,000 contract for former Sens. Trent Lott (R-Miss.) and John Breaux (D-La.) to lobby for the oil-rich province and part-owner of the Keystone XL pipeline back in November. Crestview for its part had a $30,000-a-month contract with Rajotte that expired at the end of March.

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Haiti: The Miami-based Latin America Advisory Group has hired two consultants for help on its contract with the Haitian Embassy in Washington: Carlos Suarez, a partner at Continental Strategy of Coral Gables, and Ron Baldwin, a Democratic fundraiser and celebrity adviser who is the founder of Baldwin Strategies of Los Angeles. Suarez notably served as acting assistant administrator for Latin America and the Caribbean at the US Agency for International Development (USAID) and chief of staff to the US Mission to the Organization of American States (OAS) under President Donald Trump. Former Florida state representative Carlos Trujillo, the US envoy to the OAS from March 2018 until January 2021, is Suarez’s partner at Continental Strategy.

Suarez and Baldwin are tasked with advising the embassy while reaching out to Congress and the Joe Biden administration “about the importance of fostering strong dialogue between the US and Haiti.” They are each getting paid a $7,000 fee. The new hires come as the government of President Jovenel Moise faces calls from Haitian diaspora groups and Congress to step down.

The Latin America Advisory Group recently extended its contract with the embassy through January 2022 and increased its monthly fee to $25,000 from $8,000 per month previously. The embassy also hired Florida law firm Patino & Associates last month for $37,000 per month and has a pre-existing contract with Mercury Public Affairs that amounted to more than $500,000 in 2020. In addition, Johanna Leblanc, a former vice-chair of Washington Mayor Muriel Bowser‘s Commission on African Affairs, has been paid $5,000 a month to serve as an adviser to the Haitian government since March 2019.

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Honduras: Tricuro reported receiving around $37,000 from Honduran consumer products company Dinant in the six months through March for communications and advice about the company’s commercial activities.

Asia

China (Huawei): Boston technology communications firm Racepoint Global has added president Bob Osmond and director Alicia Daleiden to its account with the US affiliate of Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei. The two will provide strategic communications “for the purpose of educating policy makers and legislators” on Huawei’s positions. Huawei Technologies USA extended its contract with the firm last fall for $1.94 million through October 2021. 

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Japan: APCO Worldwide has registered senior associate director Melissa Petito and consultant Jack Kalavritinos on its account with the consulate general of Japan in New York to provide communications and media relations services in the US. APCO signed a six-month, $150,000 contract with the firm in late March and previously registered public relations consultants Anna DitchevSuzanne Lyons and Anna-Leigh Ong on the account.

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