- Former Rep. Delahunt lobbies on agricultural policy for Ukrainian company
- Accused Panamanian official hires Republican firm for State Department outreach
- Florida Republican got GOP lawmakers to go to bat for Colombia’s Uribe
- Maine PR firm joins Uzbek privatization account
New lobbying filings
Canada: Washington law firm O’Brien, Gentry & Scott has registered partner Shannon Paul on its contract with the Canadian Commercial Corporation (CCC), Canada’s government-to-government contracting organization. She will “provide advisory role specific to defense procurement policy.” The firm has represented the CCC since 2010. In the six months through January the firm was paid $42,000 to provide “information, analysis, and guidance” regarding the overall US defense budget, military vehicle and aircraft programs and policy, defense trade policy, export controls and technology, contracts and regulations policy and Buy American protectionism provisions.
Colombia: Former Rep. Connie Mack (R-Fla.) ended his lobbying for former Colombian President Alvaro Uribe on April 30, according to a new lobbying filing. Mack’s Liberty International Group registered as a lobbyist for Uribe in October as a subcontractor to the DCI Group, a Republican firm in Washington that has also terminated its work for the former president. DCI was paid around $181,000 to defend Uribe against charges of witness tampering in connectiong with decade-old allegations of ties to right-wing paramilitary groups. DCI in turn paid Mack $67,500.
According to the new filing, Mack held phone calls with House Western Hemisphere panel Chairman Albio Sires (D-N.J.) and senior staffers for Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) and Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart (R-Fla.) in early September. Soon after, Diaz-Balart wrote to then-Attorney General Bill Barr asking him to investigate one of Uribe’s main accusers, Colombian Sen. Ivan Cepeda, while Rubio tweeted in support of Uribe on Oct. 7. Three days later, he was released from house arrest.
Mack followed up with zoom calls in December with former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and six members of Congress: Sens. Rick Scott (R-Fla.) and Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and Reps. Diaz-Balart, Maria Salazar (R-Fla.), Mike McCaul (R-Texas) and Gregory Meeks (D-N.Y.), who now heads the House Foreign Affairs Committee.
Uribe’s fate has continued to improve since then, with the country’s Attorney General now seeking to drop the criminal charges before a trial is held. Uribe was a mentor to the current president, Ivan Duque.
Panama: A former Panamean minister facing trial on corruption charges has retained a Republican lobbying firm for help with reputation management with the State Department. Blueprint Communications is representing Demetrio “Jimmy” Papadimitriu, a former minister of the presidency under President Ricardo Martinelli, pro bono as of June 10. The firm is expected to have “direct contact with U.S. government officials to address State Department reports that mention foreign client and his work.”
“He has been my friend for nearly 30 years which is why I offered – for no compensation – to engage the State Department to discuss his continued appearance in country reports despite having been out of government for almost a decade,” Blueprint co-founder Chad Kolton (bio) told Foreign Lobby Report in an email.
A former press aide for former Rep. John Boehner (R-Ohio) and the George W. Bush administration, Kolton is the only person registered to lobby on the account. Kolton previously provided public relations services for the Martinelli administration between 2010 and 2012 via HDMK, a firm he co-founded with fellow with fellow Blueprint co-founder Jim Morrell and two other Republican communications professionals (Kolton and Morrell left HDMK in 2013).
Papadimitriu is one of three former Panamean ministers accused of money laundering in connection with Brazilian construction giant Odebrecht. The State Department has mentioned the allegations against Papadimitriu in its annual human rights reports for the past several years in its section on corruption and lack of transparency in government. This year however the release of State’s latest report in March made headline news in Panama.
The Papadimitriu registration comes as public relations firm Edelman last year signed a $1.275 million contract to raise Panama’s profile in the United States, United Kingdom and European Union. That effort is funded by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the world body’s global development network. Blueprint is also registered to provide “communications and media relations consulting” on behalf of the Fujian Jinhua Integrated Circuit Company, a Chinese company accused of stealing US technology.
Japan: APCO Worldwide has registered director Lauren O’Leary on its public relations contract with the Consulate General of Japan in New York. The firm signed a six-month, $150,000 contract with the consulate in late March to provide communications and media relations services in the US. Along with advising and representing the consulate, the firm is expected to contact the media and other organizations.
Uzbekistan: Joseph Quinn Martin, the managing director of Maine-based Frontier Consulting, has signed on to help with the Uzbek government’s months-long campaign to attract private investors and US government support for its massive privatization push. Martin is registered as a foreign agent via Tashkent-based AH5 Ventures, which was hired by the Agency for Management of State Assets in March to provide “public relations, event management, and branding and marketing activities” for the agency and its related entity UzAssets. The eight-month contract runs from March 25 to Nov. 25 and is worth about 1.2 billion Uzbek soms, or $113,000.
Previously registered on the account are AH5’s Chief Strategy Officer Esfandyar Batmanghelidj, a US citizen based in London who also runs the Middle East and Central Asia-focused Bourse & Bazaar think tank, and Tashkent-based AH5 CEO Dinara Dultaeva. Uzbekistan previously hired Martin’s Frontier Consulting to provide PR services for its Agency for Information and Mass Communication for two months in October 2019.
Ukraine: Former Rep. Bill Delahunt (D-Mass.) has registered to lobby on agricultural policy for a leading Ukrainian farm equipment manufacturer. The Quincy-based Delahunt Group International is to be paid $200,000 for the 10 months starting June 10 for the Kherson Machine-Building Plant, which makes combine harvesters and other machinery. Delahunt is registered to lobby on the account along with his stepson and firm co-owner Nickolai Bobrov.
According to the registration, Delahunt and Bobrov will assist with outreach to Congress regarding “agricultural legislative matters.” They will also help the company with access to “US agriculture sector experts in the renewable fuels industries, such as bio fuels and other progressive agricultural technologies, and US agricultural sector experts in the agricultural machinery/equipment industry.”
This is the Delahunt firm’s first time registering under the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA). The firm previously lobbied from 2014 to March 2020 for Fuels America, a biofuel lobby.
Saudi Arabia / Yemen: Account executive Jared Franz has left Qorvis Communications as of June 15. He had been registered to lobby for the Embassy of the Republic of Yemen, the Kingdom of Saudia Arabia and the Mecca-based Muslim World League.