Latest filings

Somali warlord Aidid’s son lobbies Washington for support in presidential run; El Salvador’s Bukele renews with Clinton press aide’s firm; Israel’s Shalom Corps hires Democratic fundraisers: Thursday’s Daily Digest

Remember Black Hawk Down? Somali warlord’s son now lobbying Washington for support in presidential run

Hussein Farrah Aidid served as deputy prime minister of the Somali Transitional Government in 2005-2007

A US-educated son of the Somali warlord who battled American forces in the famous Black Hawk Down confrontation of 1993 has hired a US consulting firm to build support in Washington for his run for the country’s presidency.

Hussein Mohamed Farrah Aidid, a US Marine veteran and son of the late Gen. Mohamed Farrah Aidid, hired Independent Intelligence Agency of Miami to act as his campaign adviser and lobbyist.

The firm has notably been reaching out to the embassies of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates during the six months through April regarding Aidid’s candidacy. The outreach to the two Gulf countries sheds light on the role outside actors are playing in Somali politics, with their regional rival Qatar widely seen as backing incumbent President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed and his powerful spy chief, Fahad Yasin.

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New lobbying filings

Africa

Uganda: Mercury Public Affairs has registered Morris Reid, a partner in the firm’s Washington and London offices and senior aide in the Bill Clinton administration, to its new account with the government of Uganda. Reid joins former British diplomat George Tucker in London and senior strategic adviser Deirdre Stach in Washington on the account. Reid is also a registered foreign agent for the governments of Zimbabwe, Haiti and Qatar and the National Unity Government in Libya, as well as Anglo-Russian energy and metals company EN+ Group.

Mercury is working as a subcontractor to London-based Mercury International UK Ltd. on the account, which renews month-to-month starting April 22. The firm is providing “strategic consulting, government relations, lobbying, and media relations consulting and management services” on behalf of President Yoweri Museveni‘s government. The contract comes amid a bipartisan outcry in Washington over reports of voter intimidation and violence against the opposition during the presidential election in January.

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Meanwhile Uganda’s only other lobbying firm, Scribe Strategies and Advisors, has belatedly registered three people on a slew of current and terminated contracts with other African nations and actors:

  • Embassy of Guinea (Scribe has represented Guinea since July 2019): Firm founder Joseph Szlavik and consultants Alexander Beckles and Richard Sincere;
  • Democratic Republic of the Congo state mining company Gecamines (since May 2018): Beckles, Szlavik and Sincere;
  • Government of Gambia (Jan. – Aug. 2017): Szlavik;
  • DR Congo ministry of communications (May 2017 – Jan. 2020): Szlavik and Sincere;
  • Equatorial Guinea’s Partido del Progreso-EG, USA Inc. (April 2016 – Aug. 2017): Beckles, Sincere and Szlavik; and
  • Spanish Consulting and Business Development Firm Contrasta Global (Jan. – March 2020): Szlavik and Sincere.

Americas

El Salvador: Rational 360 is in the process of negotiating a contract extension with the government of Salvadoran President Najib Bukele after the initial 6-month agreement expired April 15. The country’s presidential palace signed a $65,000-a-month contract with the Washington strategic communications firm for help with “public relations and communications support, consultation, and technical support” in mid-October. Managing partner and former Bill Clinton White House senior press aide Patrick Dorton is registered as a foreign agent on the contract along with Senior Director Nicholas Fitzgerald and Director of Digital Media Andrew Ryan Homan. Bukele’s government paid the firm $35,000 on April 30 “for services under the pending contract renewal,” according to a new lobbying filing.

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Haiti: Mercury Public Affairs has registered Toby Denselow, a vice-president in the firm’s London office, as a foreign agent for the office of Haitian President Jovenel Moise. Mercury has had a contract with its parent company Mercury International UK to represent the office of President Moise since 2018. While the contract doesn’t spell out specific fees, Mercury disclosed receiving $506,000 ($368,000 in fees and $138,000 in expenses) for its Haiti work in 2020.

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Asia

Afghanistan: The Afghanistan-US Democratic Peace and Prosperity Council is sharing a list of 10 recommendations with Congress for peace and stability that the group says were developed in cooperation with members of the Afghan parliament’s Defense Committee and Human Rights, Civil Society and Women’s Affairs Committee. These include keeping funding for the Afghan Security Forces at the FY2021 level of $4 billion and “implement an immediate plan for contractors to continue providing mission critical equipment maintenance and logistics.” The US-based group, which opposes President Joe Biden’s planned withdrawal, is funded by Afghan businessman Mohammad Gul Raoufi. Three Afghan lawmakers sit on its board of advisers: Mir Haider AfzalyNaheed Farid and Haji Ajmal Rahmani

The group has hired two lobbying firms: Wise Capital Strategy, headed by former Republican Capitol Hill aide Matthew Wise, and veteran Republican operative Joe Pounder‘s Bullpen Strategy Group. Wise is being paid $30,000 per month and Bullpen $25,000 per month. Another two firms are registered as subcontractors to Wise: Jake Perry + Partners, headed by a former top adviser to then-Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.); and DunCap Strategies, a Mississippi firm led by the former director of communications of that state’s Republican Party, Jennifer Dunagin.

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Japan: Two more lobbying firms and a subcontractor have renewed their lobbying contracts on behalf of the Embassy of Japan in Washington through March 31, 2022:

  • Greenfield Law: renewed at the previous rate of $30,000 per year (the firm has provided assistance in furthering the economic and legislative collaboration between the Embassy of Japan and the state of Maryland since 2015);
  • Tiber Creek Group (formerly Peck Madigan Jones): renewed at the previous rate of $15,000 per month (the firm began representing Japan last year); and
  • Tiber Creek subcontractor Patrick Griffin, renewed at the previous rate of $2,500 per month.

South Korea: Brownstein Hyatt has registered policy director Zachary Pfister, a former Democratic congressional aide, as a foreign agent for the Embassy of South Korea. Pfister joins former House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce (R-Calif.) and former Sen. Mark Begich (D-Alaska) on the $30,000-per-month account. Nadeam Elshami and Brian McGuire, former chiefs of staff to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), are also registered on the account.

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Middle East

Israel: The Israeli government-backed nonprofit Shalom Corps has hired Berger Hirschberg Strategies to serve as a fundraising consultant. The contract is for $15,000 per month and runs from March 1 through the end of May. Founded by presidential campaign veterans Stephanie Berger and Rachel Hirschberg, Berger Hirschberg bills itself as “Washington D.C. and New York City’s premier Democratic political fundraising firm.” 

Earlier this year the Shalom Corps hired former Bill Clinton aide Steve Rabinowitz  and his firm Bluelight Strategies for $30,000 to raise funds and awareness for the corps and its initiative to vaccinate all 320,000 surviving Holocaust survivors around the world against the COVID-19 virus.  Launched in 2019 to promote volunteering by Jewish youth, the nonprofit is a joint effort between the Jewish Agency and Mosaic United (Mosaic is a partnership between the Diaspora Affairs ministry and Jewish philanthropists).

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