- Turkey’s Gulenists pick up 15-member lobbying team for human rights push
- Haiti businessman hires lobbyist as he eyes presidential run
- Quebec hydropower utility hires its first lobbying firm in fight with New England environmentalists
- Mercury pulls Washington lobbyist off Uganda account amid protests
- Sinn Fein leader briefs Rep. Boyle
- Feds probe Giuliani’s Romania work
Turkey’s Gulenists pick up 15-member lobbying team for human rights push
Turkey’s Gulenist movement has picked up a bipartisan lobbying firm to take full advantage of Washington’s exasperation with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan‘s government.
The National Council on Civil Advocacy, which is close to exiled cleric Fethullah Gulen, has hired Mehlman Castagnetti Rosen & Thomas effective April 1 to lobby on “democracy, human rights and rule law for Turkey” as well as proposals to address human and civil rights violations, especially against Gulenists. Turkish authorities blame Gulen for a failed 2016 coup and have jailed tens of thousands of his alleged followers while seeking his extradition from his complex in Pennsylvania.
The contract comes as Ankara’s once-massive lobbying operation has largely collapsed in recent months.
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New lobbying filings
Uganda: Mercury Public Affairs has removed Deirdre Stach, a senior vice president in the firm’s Washington office, as a registered foreign agent for Uganda. Stach was the first person to register for work on behalf of President Yoweri Museveni‘s government after Mercury signed a month-to-month contract with London-based Mercury International UK Ltd., effective April 22. Her deregistration follows an intensifying pressure campaign from Museveni’s opponents, including criticism on social media and a protest in front of Mercury’s Washington office earlier this month. Morris Reid, a partner in the firm’s Washington and London offices and a former senior aide in the Bill Clinton administration, remains registered on the account along with former British diplomat George Tucker in London. Museveni’s government is battling a bipartisan outcry and calls for aid restrictions in Washington over reports of voter intimidation and violence against the opposition during the presidential election in January.
Aruba: Daniel J. Edelman‘s Zeno Group has registered social content strategist Rocco Antolini and assistant account executive Sara Wright as foreign agents for the Aruba Tourism Authority. The firm signed a $1.1 million statement of work for public relations for 2021 with the 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. Aruba’s tourism authority selected Zeno as its agency of record for North America for three years in March 2019.
Canada: The US affiliate of Canadian public utility Hydro-Quebec has retained Washington lobbying firm Capitol Counsel to lobby on “issues regarding clean energy transmission projects and the value proposition of hydro power.” Hydro-Quebec is seeking to build a $1 billion transmission line to bring hydropower from Canadian dams to New England but faces opposition from Maine environmentalists worried about damage to the Maine woods. The registration was effective April 1. Registered to lobby for HQ Energy Services (US) Inc. are:
- Ann Jablon, a former chief of staff to House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard Neal (D-Mass.);
- Bob Brooks, a former chief of staff to former Reps. Jim McCrery (R-La.) and Jay Dickey, Republican of Arkansas (McCrery, a former top Republican on the Ways & Means Committee, is himself is a partner with Capitol Counsel); and
- Robert Diamond, a director of private sector engagement under President Barack Obama.
This marks Hydro-Quebec’s first lobbying hire but the company already has several public relations firms working on its behalf. The company recently extended its contract with Washington-based Forbes Tate Partners from April through August for a maximum amount of $758,500. Forbes Tate has registered a seven-person team to work on the campaign, including Crystal Canney, a former communications director for Sen. Angus King (I-Maine). The firm has also hired a slew of subcontractors and consultants, including Eaton River Strategies and Blaze Partners of Maine and Hynes Communications of New Hampshire as well as market research firm Certus Insights of Arlington, Va.
The new contract with Capitol Counsel comes as Forbes Tate has released new polling questions that draw attention to the hydropower project’s promise of greener energy. Maine voters will get to decide on the future of the project in a statewide referendum in November.
Cayman Islands: Hill & Knowlton Strategies has registered assistant account executive Jacqueline Benitez as a foreign agent for the Cayman Islands. The firm signed a $300,000 contract from Feb. 1 through the end of the year with the Caymans’ Ministry of Financial Services, Commerce & Environment as the British Overseas Territory seeks to improve its international reputation as a tax haven.
Haiti: Haitian doctor turned businessman Reginald Boulos has hired a second lobbyist as he eyes a presidential run. Former Colorado state lawmaker Joe Miklosi (D-Denver) has registered to help Boulos build “constructive partnerships with leaders in the United States government and the Haitian American diaspora community.” The registration, which was effective May 7, states that the former head of Haiti’s Chamber of Commerce and Industry is “considering running for the presidency” as the head of the MTV Ayiti political party (Movement for the Transformation and Valorization of Haiti).
Miklosi joins the Estopinan Group of Art Estopinan, a former chief of staff to former House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairwoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.), in lobbying for Boulos. Estopinan has lobbied on human rights in Haiti since November 2019 but not on Boulos’ political agenda. Meanwhile Allison Maria Llera of Florida registered as a foreign agent of MTV Ayiti in the fall of 2019 to help with outreach to the Haitian diaspora in the United States but has not disclosed any lobbying activity since then. The registration comes as the government of Haiti has been ramping up its own lobbying amid calls by diaspora groups and their allies in Congress that President Jovenel Moise step down amid a political crisis in the country.
China (Huawei): Ruder Finn has registered executive vice president Charles Gould as a foreign agent for Huawei. The New York public relations firm signed a year-long, $1.45 million contract with the Chinese telecommunications giant’s US subsidiary in Plano, Texas, Huawei Technologies USA, at the end of October for “strategic counsel, media relations, analyst relations, data insights, content strategy and policy communications.”
China (Jinkosolar): Mercury Public Affairs has registered George Tucker, a former British diplomat based in the firm’s London office, as a foreign agent for the US affiliate of Chinese solar panel manufacturer JinkoSolar.
Ireland: The New York-based Friends of Sinn Fein organized a Dec. 3 Zoom briefing to discuss “Brexit and recent political developments in Ireland” with Rep. Brendan Boyle (D-Penn.). Joining him were Irish opposition leader and Sinn Fein President Mary Lou McDonald and Sinn Fein Representative to North America Ciaran Quinn.
Caught our eye
The Department of Justice is investigating Rudy Giuliani‘s past work for Romanian property mogul Gabriel “Puiu” Popoviciu as part of its ever-deepening probe into the former New York mayor’s unregistered foreign lobbying work, Politico reports. Giuliani wrote a letter to Romanian President Klaus Iohannis in 2018 decrying the “excesses” of Romania’s National Anticorruption Directorate and calling for an amnesty for people found guilty of corruption without ever disclosing that he wrote it at the behest of former FBI Director Louis Freeh‘s Freeh Group. Popoviciu hired Freeh in 2016 to review the evidence against him.
The American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) lobbied lawmakers not to sign on to a letter last week led by Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) to President Joe Biden that condemned Hamas’ rocket attacks against Israel while decrying “Israeli police violence,” the New York Times report. The letter also insisted that “Palestinians should know that the American people value their lives as we do Israeli lives, and recognize that they too have the right to live in safety, free from fear.”