Latest filings

Anti-Taliban leader hires lobbying help; DR Congo’s Katumbi adds DCI to influence line-up; right-wing Guatemala politician renews lobbying

Welcome to Foreign Lobby Report’s biweekly roundup of all the latest lobbying developments. Every week we go through dozens of filings under the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA) and the Lobbying Disclosure Act (LDA) to offer our readers the most comprehensive snapshot anywhere of the foreign governments, political groups and businesses trying to influence US policymaking and public opinion.

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New lobbying filings (FARA)

Cornerstone Global Affairs has registered its new associate Lily Woodall as a foreign agent for the governments of India and South Korea as well as Moroccan phosphate mining company OCP.

Africa

Angola: Squire Patton Boggs is lobbying for a meeting between Angolan President Joao Lourenco with US Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo when he visits Washington this week ahead of his attendance at the UN General Assembly in New York. Lourenco is in Washington today for the US Congressional International Conservation Leadership Awards Dinner of the International Conservation Caucus Foundation (ICCF), a Washington nonprofit that helps promote US leadership for international conservation worldwide. 

Squire Patton Boggs has represented the Angolan government since 2019 and signed a $3.75 million yearlong contract extension in June 2021. Luanda is courting international investors following 2017 elections that saw President Jose Eduardo dos Santos step down after 38 years in power marked by massive corruption in the oil-rich nation

Democratic Republic of the Congo: Republican lobbying firm the DCI Group is the latest firm to sign up as a foreign agent for Congolese millionaire politician Moise Katumbi as he lays the groundwork for a presidential run in 2023. The firm is to be paid $45,000 for three months of work as Katumbi seeks US support in opposing proposed legislation that could bar him from running because his father wasn’t native Congolese. The firm was previously registered to lobby for Katumbi from April 2016 to December 2019 (see chart below).

Lobbying and PR on behalf of Moise Katumbi and political allies

Firm
Principal
Dates
Payment
ACTIVE REGISTRATIONS
DCI Group
Moise Katumbi
Effective
Sept. 16, 2021
$45,000 for three months
King & Spalding
Moise Katumbi
Effective June 3, 2021
€40,000 ($48,500)
per month
Brownstein Hyatt
Moise Katumbi
(via King & Spalding)
Effective July 14, 2021
$100,000 for five months
Edwin Alan Platt
Moise Katumbi
(via King & Spalding)
Effective July 9, 2021
$7,500 per month
Milos Ivkovic
Moise Katumbi
(via King & Spalding)
Effective July 30, 2021
Pro bono
TERMINATED
Akin Gump
Moise Katumbi
April 2016 – March 2020
$1.09 million
DCI Group
Moise Katumbi
(via Akin Gump)
April 2016 – Dec. 2019
$490,000
(from Akin Gump)
RMG Africa Advisors
Moise Katumbi
(via Akin Gump)
Sept. 2017 – Dec. 2017
$45,000
(from Akin Gump)
Blueprint Communications
Moise Katumbi
(via Gabara Strategies)
July 2017 – Sept. 2017
$42,500
(from Gabara Strategies)
Brownstein Hyatt
Moise Katumbi
(via Blueprint Communications)
July 2017 – Sept. 2017
$40,000
(from Blueprint Communications)
Akin Gump
Martin Fayulu
(as part of Katumbi contract)
Dec. 2018 – Feb. 2019
N/A
DCI Group
Martin Fayulu
(via Akin Gump)
Dec. 2018 – Feb. 2019
N/A
Ballard Partners
Group of Seven
Oct. 2017 – May 2019
$600,000
George Denison /
Herman Cohen
Coalition for a Free
Democratic Congo
Aug. 2015 – present
(currently inactive)
$360,000
Source: Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA), Lobbying Disclosure Act (LDA)

DCI joins King & Spalding on the contract along with several King & Spalding subcontractors, most notably former House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce (R-Calif.) of Brownstein Hyatt. Last week King & Spalding lobbyists shared with congressional staff a statement from Rep. Chris Smith (R-N.J.), the top Republican on the House Foreign Affairs panel on Africa and co-chairman of the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission, raising concerns over the proposed law and attacks against the Catholic Church for opposing it.

RELATED:
Congolese millionaire politician Moise Katumbi restarts US lobbying ahead of 2023 election

Liberia: The opposition to Liberian President George Weah has hired Washington advocacy firm the BW Global Group for $180,000 to court US support for his yet-to-be-determined opponent in the 2023 presidential election. The firm is also lobbying for US support for the establishment of a War Crimes and Economic Crimes Court to hold accountable those responsible for the civil wars of 1989-1997 and 1999-2003. Longtime Africa lobbyist Jeffrey Birrell and Alan White, an-ex war crimes prosecutor who helped put away former Liberian President Charles Taylor, are heading the effort. Liberian ambassador to the US George Patten has criticized the congressional Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission for holding a hearing in favor of such a tribunal back in June during which White testified as a witness, Liberian newspaper FrontPage Africa reports.

Read our story from Thursday here.

Americas

Guatemala: The Sonoran Policy Group (dba Stryk Global Diplomacy) is once again registered to lobby for Guatemalan politician Zury Mayte Rios de Smith after briefly representing her pro bono during her stillborn 2019 presidential bid, which saw her candidacy revoked by the constitutional court. The firm led by Robert Stryk, a West Coast presidential adviser for Donald Trump in 2016, will lobby the federal government and connect with the media, business leaders and think tanks “to promote the principles and values of liberty, freedom, universal rights to take part in public affairs, women’s rights, family values, respectful foreign policy conduction,” according to its Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA) filing. The new pro bono registration was effective Sept. 1 and runs through February 2022, with a “new contract to follow within six months with agreed compensation,” according to the contract.

Zury Rios is the leader of the right-wing Valor Party and the daughter of the late military dictator Jose Efrain Rios Montt. Stryk is registered as a foreign agent on the account along with Sonoran CEO Christian Bourge and Mario Duarte, the president of Stryk Global Diplomacy Latin America.

RELATED:
Lobbyist for Assange pardon scored almost $30 million in foreign contracts under Trump

Asia

Afghanistan: Anti-Taliban resistance leader Ahmad Massoud has retained former Donald Trump campaign  adviser Robert Stryk‘s Sonoran Policy Group (dba Stryk Global Diplomacy) to lobby the US for military and financial support. Massoud also wants to stop the US from recognizing the Taliban government. Stryk is registered to lobby on the account along with Sonoran CEO Christian Bourge.

In a message to Politico, Stryk wrote that the Taliban may have the “geography” but Massoud and his  National Resistance Front have the “hearts and minds” of the Afghan people.

“It’s time for Congress to push the Biden Administration to unleash the individual geniuses of the brave men and women of the Central Intelligence Agency,” Stryk wrote. “Massoud and his righteous warriors don’t need double speak from Special Representatives and Washington Bureaucrats, they need guns, bullets, RPGs and so much more. It’s time to start channeling Charlie Wilson.” (Wilson is the late Texas congressman who backed the CIA covert operation to arm the Mujahideen against the Soviets).

The registration comes as the Taliban are also reportedly looking for US representation. The US-based the Afghanistan-U.S. Democratic Peace and Prosperity Council, which represents several members of the now-disbanded parliament, has several lobbying and public relations firms on its payroll and is also looking to influence the administration’s next steps.

RELATED:
Afghan group lobbies against Sept. 11 troop withdrawal

India: The Embassy of India renewed its contract with Cornerstone Government Affairs in March for the six months through August, according to a new lobbying filing. The contract renewal was for $35,000 per month, down from $40,000 per month previously. The firm has represented the embassy since December 2019.

Separately, Hill & Knowlton has added assistant account executive Brigethia Arai Guins-Jamison as a registered foreign agent on its account with India’s Gem and Jewellery Export Promotion Council. The council hired the firm in April for $160,000 through the end of the year to help boost a labor-intensive industry hit hard by the coronavirus epidemic.

READ MORE:
India taps PR firm to boost gem exports hurt by covid

Japan: The Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) office in New York has registered Director of Public Affairs Takaaki Nakayaraa and Director of the Agriculture and Livestock Department Takuya Okada as foreign agents.

South Korea: Brownstein Hyatt has terminated the foreign agent registration for policy analyst Charlotte Carstens effective Sept. 10 and removed her bio from its web site. She had notable been registered on the firm’s $30,000-a-month contract with Seoul signed shortly before President Joe Biden took office in January.

READ MORE:
South Korea hires former lawmakers Royce, Begich amid tensions with US over China, N. Korea

Middle East

Egypt: Brownstein Hyatt has terminated the foreign agent registration for policy analyst Charlotte Carstens effective Sept. 10 and removed her bio from its web site. She had notable been registered on the firm’s $65,000-a-month contract with Cairo signed soon after Joe Biden defeated Donald Trump in the 2020 presidential election.

READ MORE:
Egypt assembles bipartisan powerhouse lobbying team for post-Trump era

United Arab Emirates: St. Louis public relations Fleishman-Hillard has a new contract to provide PR services to “enhance the reputation of the UAE as a location for business and investment.” The firm is assisting its UK affiliate Fleishman-Hillard Group Ltd and Impact Plus in the UAE with “media relations and outreach activities to inform business audiences” on behalf of the UAE Ministry of Cabinet Affairs and the Future. The US firm’s engagement is for $72,500 and runs from Sept. 1 through Nov. 30.

The firm has registered six employees as foreign agents on the account:

  • Senior vice president and senior partner Amy Rand;
  • Senior vice president and partner Michael Schmidt;
  • Senior vice president Jessica Dillman;
  • Vice president Colin Hart; and
  • Senior account executive Amanda Jada and Shelby Powers.

Fleishman-Hillard previously provided PR services for the UAE’s mission to Mars last year and signed a follow-up deal earlier this year to promote the country’s economic strategy.

RELATED:
UAE hires PR firm to boost Mars mission

Business lobbying (LDA)

China (Jinkosolar): Washington law firm Miller & Chevalier has registered to lobby on “issues related to domestic manufacturing of solar panels and import of solar cells or solar panels” on behalf of the US subsidiary of Chinese solar panel maker JinkoSolar. The registration was effective Sept. 17. Registered to lobby on the account are customs and import trade practice lead Richard Mojica (bio), business and human rights lead Nathan Lankford (bio) and counsel Virginia Newman (bio).

The firm joins The Vogel Group, Section VII Strategies and Mercury Public Affairs in lobbying for San Francisco-based JinkoSolar (US). The latest registration comes amid reports that some of the company’s solar panels have been stopped at the US border “due to concerns that solar products may contain material produced by the forced labor of Muslim minority groups in China’s Xinjiang region,” according to Reuters.

RELATED:
Meet the former US lawmakers lobbying for China, Inc.

Greece (Black Summit Financial): Black Summit Financial of Kentucky has hired K&L Gates to lobby on “U.S. investment in Greek ports.” Black Summit is 35 % owned by GEK Terna SA of Athens. The registration was effective Aug. 4. Lobbyists on the account include former CIA general counsel Michael O’Neil (bio), former US Senate Commerce Committee counsel Emanuel Rouvelas (bio), former US Pacific Command director of legislative affairs Steven McCain (bio) and Stacy Ettinger (bio), a former Commerce Department official and senior counsel to Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.).

Iceland (ALOR): Former North Dakota state senator Curtis Olafson has registered as a foreign agent for Icelandic battery energy storage technology company ALOR. Olafson is expected to contact “individuals or entities here in the US for assistance in developing the technology, and in the future for assistance with marketing the technology.” Olafson registered under FARA after being advised to do so by staff for a US senator he reached out to discuss potential US support for a research demonstration project of ALOR’s technology in the US. According to his registration, “no formal agreement has been discussed at this time” between Olafson and ALOR and terms “will be discussed at a later date.”

Netherlands (ASML): Goldstein Policy Solutions has registered as a subcontractor to Putala Strategies on behalf of the US subsidiary of Dutch semiconductor photolithography systems manufacturer ASML, effective Aug. 1. The firm will lobby on “issues related to semiconductor development, manufacturing, trade, and the CHIPS Act and the US Innovation and Competition Act of 2021. Firm president Lon Goldstein is the only lobbyist on the account. ASML US previously registered an in-house lobbying arm and hired Ogilvy Government Relations and former Joe Biden Senate Judiciary Committee aide Christopher Putala‘s Putala Strategies earlier this year.

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