- Afghan group opposed to withdrawal targets Armed Services members
- Trade lobby firm registers as Haitian agent
- Ukraine gas lobby cheers Cruz amendment on Nord Stream 2 sanctions
- Khashoggi-inspired human rights group adds four
- UK mining giant EVRAZ lobbies on vanadium tariff threat
- Japan embassy sticks with Alignment
- Seven Letter ends Japan engagement
- Japan’s Takeda lobbies on drug prices
New lobbying filings
Cayman Islands: The Cayman Islands Department of Tourism spent more than $5.5 million in the six months through March promoting travel to the country. The payments went to the Richards Group of Dallas, Kelly, Scott and Madison in Chicago and Coyne PR in New Jersey.
Haiti: Trade-focused lobbying firm Sorini Samet & Associates has registered as a foreign agent of the Haitian government for its work on behalf of the country’s private manufacturing lobby, the Association des Industries d’Haiti (Haitian Industry Association), or ADIH. The firm said it was registering under the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA) “out of an abundance of caution” because Haiti’s national investment promotion agency, the Center for Facilitation of Investments, may help fund ADIH and may benefit from the lobbying. Sorini Samet is already registered as a lobbyist for ADIH under the domestic Lobbying Disclosure Act (LDA).
The firm will be lobbying for the extension/renewal of the HOPE and HELP trade preference programs for textile and apparel exports to the US, which expire on Sept. 30, 2025, according to its new FARA registration. Registered on the account are firm principals Ronald Sorini and Andrew Samet, along with Chelsea Murtha, the firm’s director for Trade, Sustainability and Global Affairs. Sorini served as chief textile negotiator at the Office of the US Trade Representative (USTR) under President George H. W. Bush, while Samet was a deputy under secretary of Labor in the Bill Clinton administration. The firm has represented ADIH on and off since 2007.
The registration comes as the Haitian government has been ramping up its lobbying as President Jovenel Moise faces calls to step down, including from members of the Haitian-American diaspora as well as businessman and opposition politician Reginald Boulos, who has hired his own US lobbying firm.
|Haiti lobby battles diaspora over support for embattled president|
|Senior USAID official lobbies for Haiti|
Afghanistan: A lobby firm for an Afghan advocacy group that opposes the Joe Biden administration’s plans to withdraw troops from the country held virtual discussions in February and March with three dozen lawmakers and congressional staff, most of them on the House and Senate Armed Services panels. Duncap Strategies, a Mississippi firm led by the former director of communications of that state’s Republican Party, Jennifer Dunagin, helped organize the meetings on behalf of the Afghanistan-U.S. Democratic Peace and Prosperity Council, a US-based group funded by Afghan businessman Mohammad Gul Raoufi. Three Afghan lawmakers sit on its board of advisers: Mir Haider Afzaly, Naheed Farid and Haji Ajmal Rahmani. Duncap notably helped organize introductory meetings between the members of parliament and House Armed Services Committee members Jason Crow (D-Col.), Andy Kim (D-N.J.) and Chrissy Houlahan (D-Penn.) as well as House Foreign Affairs Committee member Susan Wild (D-Penn.).
Duncap is lobbying for the council as a subcontractor to Wise Capital Strategy, headed by former Republican Capitol Hill aide Matthew Wise. Jake Perry + Partners, a firm headed by a former top adviser to then-Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), is also registered as a Wise subcontractor. Veteran Republican operative Joe Pounder‘s Bullpen Strategy Group rounds out the stable of firms lobbying for the council. Martin Rahmani, a managing partner with Victory Six Advisors, serves as the council’s executive director.
|Afghan group adds fourth lobbying firm|
Japan: Alignment Government Strategies continues to represent the Embassy of Japan as the two parties negotiate a new contract after its previous one expired March 31. Alignment has represented the embassy since 2015, currently for $14,333 per month. Firm principals Rebecca Anderson, Michael Beer, Bertram Carp, Jennifer DiJames and Leo Jardot and counsels David Rudd and Tracy Taylor are registered on the account.
Japan: Seven Letter officially terminated its representation of the Embassy of Japan on Feb 28. The embassy had hired the Washington communications firm last summer for $40,000 per month through Feb. 28 to provide “media outreach and advertising campaigns to support the goals of the foreign principal, including the promotion of tourism in Japan, as well as raise awareness of Japan’s public health initiatives and COVID response.” In a lobbying filing for the six months through February the firm disclosed receiving $482,000 from the embassy, including $200,000 for a digital advertising campaign.
Philippines: BCW (Burson Cohn & Wolfe) invited journalists to an online press conference today about Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte‘s economic agenda. Participants were expected to include Secretary of Finance Carlos Dominguez III, Central Bank Gov. Benjamin Diokno and Secretary of Trade and Industry Ramon Lopez. BCW signed a one-year, $300,000 contract to provide “counsel and assistance for the Bangko Sentral ng Philipinas (BSP) and the government’s economic team in the area of strategic communications to promote BSP’s economic initiative and economic messages internationally.”
Ukraine: Yorktown Solutions distributed a statement from Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) after the Senate Foreign Relations Committee last week unanimously approved his amendment identifying 20 companies and ships allegedly involved in constructing Russia’s Nord Stream 2 pipeline to Germany. The amendment was included in the Ukraine Security Partnership Act, which would increase military aid for Kyiv amid reports that Russian troops are massing at its borders. The amendment requires the Joe Biden administration to determine whether they meet the criteria for the imposition of sanctions under the Protecting Europe’s Energy Security Act of 2019. Yorktown, which is led by former Cruz presidential adviser Daniel Vajdich, has been lobbying for such designations on behalf of the Federation of Employees of the Oil and Gas Industry of Ukraine. The group recently renewed its year-long, $960,000 contract with Yorktown through 2021.
The entities identified in the Cruz amendment are:
- Akademik Cherskiy;
- Yuri Topchev;
- DP Gezina;
- Krebs GEO;
- Vladislav Strizhov;
- Glomar Wave;
- Baltiyskiy Issledovatel;
- Artemis Offshore;
- Havila Subsea;
- Russian Maritime Register of Shipping;
- LLC Insurance Company Constanta; and
- TUV Austria Holding AG.
|Ukraine natural gas trade group renews $960,000 lobby push against Russian pipeline to Europe|
United Arab Emirates: BCW (Burson Cohn & Wolfe) registered senior account executive Gwendolyn Marie Abigail Corner to its account with the Government of Ras Al Khaimah. BCW has provided “strategic communications services to support Ral Al Khaimah’s objectives in the U.S. and Europe” since May 2019.
Evraz (United Kingdom): EVRAZ North America, the US subsidiary of London-ased steel producer and mining company EVRAZ, has hired Washington law firm DeKieffer & Horgan. The firm will lobby on the US Commerce Department’s Section 232 tariff investigation into the national security implications of potentially unfair trade practices regarding vanadium, a strategic material used in defense and civilian applications including jet engines, ballistic missiles and bridges. With operations in the United States, Russia, Canada, the Czech Republic, Italy and Kazakhstan, EVRAZ is the largest vanadium producer outside of China. Then-Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross initiated the investigation in May 2020 in response to a November 2019 petition filed by domestic producers. The registration was effective March. Firm principal J. Kevin Horgan is the only person registered to lobby on the account. Largo Resources of Toronto for its part hired Harbinger Strategies last year to lobby on the issue.
EVRAZ previously hired Strategic Marketing Innovations (SMI) effective Feb. 19 to lobby Congress on research and development of military supplies. The firm received $10,000 from EVRAZ during the first quarter of the year. SMI Vice President William Berl is the only registered lobbyist on that account.
Takeda Pharmaceuticals (Japan): Takeda Pharmaceuticals America, a US affiliate of the Japanese drug maker, has hired Tiber Creek Group (formerly Peck Madigan Jones) to lobby on issues related to drug pricing. Registered to lobby on the account are former Senate Veterans Affairs Committee staff director Bryant Hall; John Michael Gonzalez, a former chief of staff to Reps. Melissa Bean (D-Ill.) and Chris Bell (D-Texas); and Jonathon Jones, a former chief of staff to Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.). The registration was effective April 1.
Tiber Creek also lobbies for the Embassy of Japan. Jones is registered on that contract along with Jay Heimbach, a former chief of staff to Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) and special adviser to President Barack Obama; and Jen Olson, a former policy adviser to Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.).
Takeda’s new registration comes less than a month after the company hired Holland & Knight to lobby on tax issues. The only lobbyist on the account is Joshua Odintz, a former tax counsel on the Senate Finance Committee.
Tencent (China): The Chinese conglomerate that owns China’s ubiquitous WeChat app has amended its first quarter filing. Tencent‘s in-house lobbying arm reported spending $330,000 in the first three months of 2021, not $630,000 as previously reported. That’s still up from the last quarter of 2020.
Caught our eye
Washington advocacy group Democracy for the Arab World Now (DAWN), the brainchild of slain Saudi dissident Jamal Khashoggi, has brought on four new people as it continues to grow. Joining DAWN are:
- Executive editor for DAWN’s Democracy in Exile journal Frederick Deknatel, a former editor at World Politics Review and Foreign Affairs;
- Development director Carolyn Ziv, a veteran of the Fund for Global Human Rights, the American Jewish World Service and Human Rights Watch;
- Arabic media manager Taghreed Risheq, a former correspondent in Amman and Washington for Jordan’s Al-Ghad newspaper; and
- Communications associate Sophie Holin.
“These four new hires … bring a wealth of diverse experiences and expertise to the DAWN team,” DAWN Executive Director Sarah Leah Whitson said in a statement. “They will help build the future of DAWN, enabling the organization to continue to grow and flourish.”