Latest filings

Ex-Navy Secretary lobbies on subs for Australia; Ethiopia picks up ex-Murphy aide; US Chamber in South China taps BGR for help

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

Cornerstone Government Affairs has registered its new senior associate Alex Heathcock (bio) as a foreign agent for the governments of India and South Korea as well as Moroccan phosphate mining giant OCP. Heathcock joined the firm last month and was previously a staffer for former Sen. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.) and a community outreach coordinator for the City of Fort Lauderdale.

READ MORE:
Morocco lobbyists target farm-state senators in fight over fertilizer tariffs

Africa

Ethiopia: Mercury Public Affairs has registered two more employees as foreign agents on its new contract with the government of Ethiopia. George Tucker (bio), a managing director in the firm’s London office who previously served as a top British diplomat in Kenya,, and Avery Rose Royster (bio), a former deputy press secretary for Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) who joined the firm in February, will provide PR services and consulting with Royster also expected to lobby.

Washington-based Mercury registered as a subcontractor to its London affiliate Mercury International UK last month as Addis Ababa beefs up its Washington lobbying presence amid growing pressure from Congress and the Joe Biden administration over the violence in Tigray. Mercury previously registered to lobby for a new US Ethiopian diaspora group, the American Ethiopia Public Affairs Committee (AEPAC), which supports Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed‘s offensive against the Tigray People’s Liberation Front and its allies.

READ MORE:
Ethiopia hires Mercury amid US pressure over Tigray
Ex-members of Congress lobby for new Addis-approved Ethiopian diaspora group

Tanzania / Uganda: Vanguard Africa continued to lobby for Tundu Lissu in the six months through September as the Tanzanian opposition candidate pursues his criticism of last fall’s election that saw President John Magufuli re-elected to a second term (Magufuli died of Covid-19 in March and was replaced by Samia Suluhu Hassan of the long-dominant  social-democrat Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM) party). Vanguard Executive Director Jeffrey Smith notably held an Aug. 24 with Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for East Africa and the Sudans Bryan Hunt to discuss Tanzania.

Smith also lobbied for Ugandan musician-turned-opposition leader Robert Kyagulanyi (better known as Bobi Wine) during the period, including seeking a meeting with US Agency for International Development Deputy Assistant Administrator for Africa Travis Adkins. The US provides about $1 billion in annual aid to Uganda, something Smith is lobbying to rethink after President Yoweri Museveni won a sixth term under questionable circumstances in January.

Listen to our February podcast interview with Smith :

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Bobi Wine’s man in Washington presses Biden to rethink support for Uganda

Americas

El Salvador: Washington public affairs firm Foreign Advisory Services has registered public relations consultants Kristen Elizabeth Hoff and Lauren Ashley Zelt for help “contacting members of the media to interview El Salvadorian officials and consider publishing opinion pieces written by those officials.” The firm signed a $7,500-a-month contract in November with Invest El Salvador, a US company that signed a $65,000-per-month contract with President Nayib Bukele‘s government last fall.

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El Salvador’s Bukele hires former top US diplomat on $1.2 million contract amid IMF push

Asia

Australia: Australia has retained former Secretary of the Navy Donald Charles Winter for assistance with security partnership consultations agreed to earlier this month between Australia, the United Kingdom, the United States (AUKUS). According to a new Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA) filing, Winter will “coordinate with DoD [Department of Defense] leadership, principally Navy, to further AUKUS implementation.” Winter had been working as a special adviser for the Australian government but was asked to expand the scope of his engagement during Prime Minister Scott Morrison‘s visit to Washington last week, according to the filing. He is to be paid $6,000 per day plus expenses for “activities intended to support 18 month study phase per AUKUS agreement,” which notably calls for Australia to partner with the US and the UK develop up to eight nuclear-powered submarines.

Donald Winter

Winter served as Secretary of the Navy in 2006-2009 under Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama. In 2015, the Australian government appointed him to a four-member expert advisory panel to oversee the so-called “competitive evaluation process” for the Australian Navy’s future submarine fleet. He also served as a senior defense industry adviser under President Donald Trump.

Winter is being compensated via US defense consulting firm Burdeshaw Associates, which has contracts to provide “expert advice on sovereign naval shipbuilding capability” with the Australian government. Winter disclosed receiving 10,125 from Burdeshaw on Aug. 20 for “technical advisory services.”

Separately, retired Marine Lt. Gen. John Eric Wissler has registered as a foreign agent for the government of Australia’s Northern Territory Government (NT) as the region emerges as a key US ally against rising Chinese influence and threats in the Indo-Pacific. A former commander of United States Marine Corps Forces Command, Wissler has been providing strategic advice to the northern territory since April 2019 but is only now registering under the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA) as his mission evolves. “Moving forward, the NT desires that I accompany them in visits to US Department of Defense officials to include uniformed personnel and thus my filing for foreign agent status,” Wissler told the US Department of Justice FARA unit.

Palau: Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld has brought on its longtime consultant Jeffrey Farrow (bio) of The Oliver Group as a subcontractor on its new contract with the Pacific island of Palau. A former senior staffer who worked on insular policy in Congress and the White House for more than two decades, Farrow will be paid $16,000 per month starting in mid-August, according to a lobbying filing that was just uploaded to the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA) web site. Palau hired Akin Gump last month to lobby ahead of the 30th anniversary review of its 1994 compact of free association with the United States in 2024 (Akin Gump also lobbies on the matter for the Marshall Islands). The contract, effective Aug. 16, is for $40,000 per month through September and renewable annually after that. Former House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairwoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.) is among those lobbying on the account.

Europe

Germany: The state-owned foreign trade promotion agency for the German state of North Rhine-Westphalia has registered Joerg Rose as its new representative in California and Daniel Dueren as director of economic development for the southeast.

Middle East

Qatar: Jordan Colvin is no longer registered to lobby for the government of Qatar after terminating her consulting work for Praia Consultants on Aug. 31. The firm founded by former Serbian Ambassador to Washington Vladimir Petrovic struck a $1.2 million subcontracting deal with Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman last summer to advise the firm on “US-Qatar relations and the business and political climate in the US.” Petrovic remains registered as a foreign agent on the account along with Dan Shomon, a former Senate campaign manager and political director for Barack Obama.

READ MORE:
Former Serbia envoy’s new firm taps ex-Obama aide for $1.2 million Qatar deal

Saudi Arabia: Squire Patton Boggs has terminated its five-year-old registration on behalf of Saudi Arabia’s Center for Studies and Media Affairs at the Saudi Royal Court following an avalanche of bad publicity after the center was tied to the assassination of dissident Jamal Khashoggi. The Sept. 17 termination, first reported by Mother Jones, follows an advocacy campaign led by the Khashoggi-inspired Democracy for the Arab World Now (DAWN) calling on members of Congress to refuse to meet with lobbyists for the center.

The White House Office of Director of National Intelligence in its February report on the killing said that the team dispatched to kidnap or kill Khashoggi at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul “included officials who worked for, or were associated with” the center. Squire Patton Boggs hasn’t disclosed any lobbying activity on behalf of its client since 2016 but continued to disclose payments for legal work as recently as this year. Over the past five years the firm has disclosed $2.7 million in payments for its work for the center.

RELATED:
Khashoggi brainchild joins growing chorus of advocates against Arab autocracies

Turkey: Longtime Senate aide Patrick Garvey‘s firm Garvey Strategies now has a formal contract to represent the government of Turkey after registering as a foreign agent back in June. The longtime aide to the late Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Richard Lugar (R-Ind.) will be paid $90,000 as a subcontractor to Lydia Borland‘s LB International Solutions to provide lobbying and government relations services during the second half of 2021.

A retired captain in the US Navy, Garvey advised Lugar on military affairs, counterterrorism, and Middle East policy for many years before leaving for the private sector. He later served as deputy director of the Foreign Affairs, Defense, and Trade Division of the Congressional Research Service, the internal research and analysis arm of the US Congress, and as a senior fellow with the Lugar Center, a Washington think tank dedicated to advancing the senator’s vision of bipartisan US leadership in global affairs. He incorporated Garvey Strategies in Annapolis, Maryland in February.

A longtime Turkey lobbyist, Borland signed a six-month, $545,000 contract with the Turkish embassy in Washington at the end of June as Ankara looks to rebuild its decimated lobbying team for the Joe Biden era. In addition to Garvey, Borland has also brought on former House Appropriations Committee staffer Mark William Murray for $35,000 from Sept. 15 through the end of the year.

READ MORE:
Turkey scrambles to rebuild decimated lobbying team as tensions with US pile up

Turkey: Washington law firm Arnold & Porter has renewed its sub-contracting agreement with former Lockheed Martin executive Steve Williams for help trying to get the Turkish defense industry back into the F-35 program. Williams’ firm Pentagon Strategies will be paid $240,000 for a 12-month engagement starting Aug. 15. Arnold & Porter renewed its engagement with Ankara-based SSTEK Savunma Sanayi Teknolojiler (Defense Industry Technologies) last month for $1.5 million following an initial six-month engagement back in February. SSTEK is wholly owned by the Presidency of Defense Industries (SSB), the government office that manages Turkey’s defense industry. The Donald Trump administration expelled Turkey from the multi-national program in 2019 over its purchase of Russia’s S-400 air-defense system. 

A former regional president for continental Europe for Lockheed Martin, the stealth jet’s manufacturer, Williams is well-known within the F-35 community. He left Lockheed Martin in the summer of 2016 to become CEO of the North American subsidiary of Danish defense and aerospace company Terma, which says it makes “more than 70 mission-critical parts for the F-35” including advanced lightweight composite components and radar electronics. Williams founded Pentagon Strategies in Virginia in March 2020.

READ MORE:
Turkey lobbies to get back in F-35 program

Business lobbying

China: The American Chamber of Commerce in South China has hired BGR Government Affairs to provide “strategic counsel on bilateral issues,” according to a new domestic lobbying filing that was effective Sept. 1. Registered to lobby for the Guangshou-based nonprofit are Loren Monroe (bio), the head of the firm’s Head of the firm’s State & Local Practice; Jonathan Mantz (bio), the head of the firm’s Democratic outreach efforts; and Mark Tavlarides (bio), a veteran of the Bill Clinton National Security Council and the House Foreign Affairs Committee.

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