- Congolese millionaire politician Moise Katumbi restarts US lobbying
- New PR firm tapped for closer US-Pakistan ties
- China’s Hikvision taps BCW for $500,000 digital push
- Taiwan ends work with Trump-friendly firm
- Abu Dhabi investment PR contract updated for first time since 2010
Congolese millionaire politician Moise Katumbi restarts US lobbying
Millionaire Congolese politician Moise Katumbi Chapwe has relaunched his US lobbying campaign after a brief pause following his return from exile in 2019.
The former governor of Katanga province has hired international law firm King & Spalding to lobby on human rights violations, anti-bribery and anti-corruption legislation, child labor, economic and environmental cooperation, and international trade and investment, according to a new lobbying filing. The firm is expected to arrange meetings with Congress and the Joe Biden administration and engage with think tanks, media and other groups.
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New lobbying filings
Guinea: Retired US Army Col. Richard Orth has registered his firm Ambessa Solutions as a lobby shop for Guinean opposition leader Cellou Dalein Diallo under the Lobbying Disclosure Act (LDA). The registration is on behalf of the Guinean American League of Friends for Freedom, Inc. and was effective May 25. Orth’s registration states that he will seek sanctions against President Alpha Conde and other government officials and “call attention to the current political situation in Guinea, specifically the lack of democratic transparency, human rights abuses, the lack of free and fair elections, and restrictions imposed by the Guinea Government” on Diallo’s Union of Democratic Forces of Guinea (UFDG).
The registration mirrors Orth’s previous registration for Diallo under the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA). That registration, which requires greater transparency, stated that Ambessa is to be paid $15,000 per month for 12 months, for a total of $180,000, to be invoiced to the Guinean diaspora in the United States. Diallo is a former prime minister who has unsuccessfully faced off three times against the 82-year-old Conde and accuses him of stealing last fall’s election.
Cambodia: A second American attorney has registered as a foreign agent for the Cambodian government to help the country repatriate ill-gotten antiquities scattered around the world. Los Angeles medical malpractice attorney Steven Andrew Heimberg joins Bradley James Gordon, an American lawyer practicing in Phnom Penh, in registering for work on behalf of the Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts. Heimberg is connected to Cambodia via his volunteering for the Cambodian Education Project, which provides education and outreach programs to poor Cambodian children.
As with Gordon (see our write-up from Friday), Heimberg’s registration states that the attorney has been working pro bono for the ministry since May 2018 but now anticipates being paid. Both men say they are providing research and communications services, but not lobbying.
China (Hikvision): The US affiliate of Chinese videosurveillance company Hikvision has expanded its contract with BCW (Burson Cohn & Wolfe). The firm will now also “advise and execute on digital infrastructure, to include SEO (search engine optimization), training and broader digital strategy. ” The new contract runs for 12 months with professional fees estimated to be $42,729 per month, or about $512,000 total.
BCW has advised Hikvision USA on public affairs and policy issues, strategic planning and guidance, and media relations since 2018 and disclosed $1.78 million in fees and expenses from the company in 2020. Hikvision has been accused of posing a cybersecurity risk and enabling human rights abuses against ethnic Uyghurs in China’s Xinjiang region. Mercury Public Affairs and Sidley Austin also represent Hikvision, with former Sen. David Vitter (R-La.) notably registered on the Mercury contract.
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Pakistan: The Council on Pakistan Relations, a Washington nonprofit that advocates for closer US-Pakistani ties, has hired new Washington public relations firm Fenton/Arlook to “inform American and international media about the council’s desire for productive diplomatic and economic relations between Pakistan and the United States.” The firm, which was incorporated this March in Washington, is co-owned by Fenton Communications founder David Fenton and Fenton advocacy campaigns chief Ira Arlook. The council is led by Mohammed Qazi, the president and CEO of Ciena Healthcare in Michigan.
According to the registration, Fenton/Arlook has a six-month verbal agreement with the council for $25,000 per month plus out of pocket expenses such as travel. The firm disclosed receiving a first installment of $55,000 on June 4 for “public relations fees and expenses.” The firm’s activities will be limited to “communicating with US and global media on the importance of positive diplomatic and economic relations between Pakistan and the U.S. This will include dissemination of background materials to journalists, writing op-eds, placing spokespeople in media, and normal public relations activities.”
Fenton and Arlook previously worked together on a $50,000 contract with the International Humanitarian Foundation, a Houston-based organization that supports India’s withdrawal from the disputed territory of Kashmir. As part of that engagement they helped set up Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan‘s September 2019 appearance on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” program in which Khan lambasted India’s decision to revoke Kashmir’s semi-autonomous status and took President Donald Trump up on his offer to help with the crisis.
Taiwan: Taiwan has ended its three-year engagement with Donald Trump-friendly Potomac International Partners as of June 1, according to a new lobbying filing. The firm was founded in February 2018 when six small lobbying and public affairs firms (Cowan Strategies, Weber Merritt, 3 Click Solutions, Bond & Associates, PCA & Company and Global Political Solutions) joined forces to try to capture business from Republican firms damaged by their opposition to Trump. The firm signed with Taiwan’s de facto embassy in Washington, the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office (TECRO), a month later for $30,000 per month. Registered on the account were Potomac leaders Mark Cowan, Phillip Bond and Mattie Amagai.
The firm played played a behind-the-scenes role in easing US-Taiwan trade tensions this summer, scoring an Aug. 27, 2020 call with Vice-President Mike Pence to discuss Taiwanese restrictions on imports of US beef and pork, according to a lobbying disclosure. The very next day, President Tsai Ing-wen announced plans to allow the import of US pork containing ractopamine and allow in US beef more than 30 months old, paving the way for a potential free trade deal. The trade push continued in the early days of the Joe Biden administration, with the firm logging an April 5 contact with Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack‘s chief of staff Katharine Ferguson to schedule a meeting with TECRO representatives.
United Arab Emirates: FGH Holdings (formerly the Glover Park Group) has signed a contract extension with the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority until the end of the year. The firm has provided public relations services for the authority since 2010. This is its first time updating the contract since then. The firm is paid hourly rates.