Latest filings

Iraqi Kurds shake up lobbying after longtime KRG lawyer switches firms; PR firm for Canadian utility hires GOP help amid Tucker Carlson attack; lobbying for ruling Georgian Dream party ends amid bipartisan blowback: Tuesday’s Daily Digest

Iraqi Kurds shake up lobbying after longtime KRG lawyer switches firms

KRG Prime Minister Masrour Barzani

The Kurdistan Regional Government has swapped out Washington lobbying firm Dentons for Arent Fox after the Kurds’ longtime legal adviser David Tafuri left the former for the latter.

The semi-autonomous government of northeastern Iraq signed a $20,000-per-month contract with Arent Fox, according to a new lobbying filing. The Washington-based white shoe law firm will provide “legal advice on various issues including legal and regulatory matters” while also tracking congressional action and working to strengthen US-KRG relations. The legal engagement was effective April 1, with government relations work starting April 20.

The contract was signed by Tafuri and the KRG’s representative to the US, Bayan Sami Abdul Rahman

Read the story here.

New lobbying filings


Canada (Quebec): H.Q. Energy Services (US), the US affiliate of Canadian public utility HydroQuebec, has extended its public relations contract with Washington-based Forbes Tate Partners to promote a $1 billion cross-border power line to bring hydropower from Quebec to New England. The five-month extension began in April and is worth a maximum amount of $758,500, up from a maximum of $449,000 under a previous six-month agreement. Forbes Tate has worked on the account since July 2020.

Forbes Tate has also added Eaton River Strategies of Maine and Hynes Communications of New Hampshire as subcontractors on the account. Eaton River President and CEO Kathleen Summers-Grice, a political consultant who has worked on several Republican campaigns in New England, and Eaton River partner Garret Mason are registered on the account as is Hynes Communications President Patrick Hynes, an adviser to four Republican presidential campaigns. Summers-Grice and Mason are to be paid a $17,000 fee for their service, while Hynes disclosed getting $5,000 per month. The hires come as the project has come under fire from Fox News host Tucker Carlson, who has sided with Maine environmentalists against the project in his new show on the entertainment streaming service Fox Nation.

Forbes Tates’ main task is promoting the projects as a benefit to Maine citizens and identifying supporters within the state. A recent fact sheet distributed by the firm insists that the proposed project “will help protect and preserve Maine’s 17.6 million acres of the most beautiful woods in the world. 2/3rds of the route follows existing power lines created for the state’s hydroelectric industry almost a century ago. The remaining 53 miles of new corridor is just 54 feet wide and will run through commercial working forests.”

Quebec power company prepares for Round 2 against Maine environmentalists

Colombia: The DCI Group has terminated its contract with 31416 S.A.S., a company in Medellin run by the son of the former President of Colombia Alvaro Uribe The exact date of the termination is unclear from DCI’s filing. The firm was hired by the company for $40,000 per month last August to battle accusations linking him to right-wing paramilitary groups responsible for mass killings during his time in office. DCI managing partner Justin Peterson and account executive Andres Taborda were registered on the account. The firm hired former Rep. Connie Mack (R-Fla.) and his Liberty International Group as a subcontractor on Aug. 31.

Colombia’s Uribe hires GOP firm amid mass killing probe

Former Florida Rep. Connie Mack registers as lobbyist for Colombia’s Uribe


Japan: Hogan Lovells has renewed its contract with the Japanese Embassy in Washington for another year starting April 1. The contract is for $16,000 per month, the same as before. The firm has represented the embassy since 2008. The engagement focuses particularly on bilateral trade issues. Former Sen. Norm Coleman (R-Minn.), Aaron Cutler and Ivan Zapien are registered to lobby on the account.

Japan: Forbes Tate Partners has renewed its $178,000 annual contract with the Embassy of Japan in Washington through March 2022. Six Forbes Tate employees are registered on the account: founding partners Alan Forbes and Daniel Tate, along with Cynthia Brown, John Buscher, Rachel Miller and Adrienne Schweer. Tate is listed as the principal point of contact on the contract. The firm has represented the embassy since February 2018.

Report lays bare Japan’s $32 million lobbying spree and its impact on US defense

Marshall Islands: The Embassy of the Marshall Islands in the US sent a letter to Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) on April 27 thanking her for including the Marshall Islands, Micronesia and Palau (collectively known as the Freely Associated States) and four US territories in her broadband expansion legislation known as the Accessible, Affordable Internet for All Act. The bill would invest more than $94 billion to build high-speed broadband in unserved and underserved US communities, including $100 million for the Freely Associated States and territories. The letter, which was distributed by Marshall Island lobbyists at Akin Gump, points to the importance of developing broadband on the islands due to US military activities there and issues caused by COVID-19.


Georgia: Georgia’s ruling Georgian Dream party has lost its last US lobbyist amid bipartisan criticism by the Joe Biden administration and Congress following disputed elections. The DCI Group terminated its representation of the party effective March 31, a month after Hogan Lovells did the same. The party founded by oligarch-turned-politician Bidzina Ivanishvili hired both firms in early 2020, DCI for $33,333 per month and Hogan Lovells for $75,000 per month. Meanwhile opposition leader Nikanor Melia has launched his own lobbying campaign as his United National Movement disputes the results of last fall’s elections while the European Union seeks to mediate an end to the country’s political crisis.

Georgia opposition leader hired US lobby firm days before arrest

Business lobbying

Ultisat (Australia): Maryland-based communications services provider UltiSat, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Australia’s Speedcast International, has hired Washington-based The Vogel Group to lobby on “issues concern satellite communications services.” The firm’s founder and CEO Alex Vogel, a former chief counsel to then-Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn.), and director of policy research Ali Khimji are registered to lobby on the account. This is the company’s first lobbying registration.