Latest filings

Anti-Taliban front registers in-house lobbying arm; D’Amato firm reps Canadian utility’s New York power project; ex-Sen. Pryor lobbies for Cambodia

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 developments

The BGR Group has named firm principal Maya Seiden as the co-chair of its International and Trade Practice, elevating a veteran of the Bill Clinton and Barack Obama administrations who has been with the firm since 2014 after stints in the White House and the State and Energy departments. Seiden is registered as a foreign agent for the governments of Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Bangladesh and India as well as former Libyan interior minister Fathi Bashagha, who is eyeing a presidential run in December.

Africa

Democratic Republic of the Congo: Republican lobbying firm the DCI Group has registered firm partner and George W. Bush administration veteran Craig Stevens (bio) as a foreign agent for Congolese millionaire politician Moise Katumbi. The firm signed up to represent Katumbi last month 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.

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Americas

Canada: Washington PR firm Forbes Tate Partners has hired the New York lobbying firm founded by ex-Sen. Al D’Amato (D-N.Y.) to provide government and public affairs consulting services for Canadian public utility Hydro-Quebec‘s proposed underground and underwater power cable linking Quebec to the Astoria neighborhood in Queens. Park Strategies will be paid $10,000 in October and $17,500 a month from November 2021 through Jan. 31, 2022, to secure “grassroots/grasstops advocates, stakeholders, and organizations to share messaging through earned/social media and advocacy activities” in support of the Champlain Hudson Power Express project (CHPE). The 339-mile transmission line from the US-Canada border would carry 1,250 Mw of hydroelectric power to energy-strapped New York. Managing directors Ryan Moses and William McGahay are registered as foreign agents on the account. Forbes Tate also provides PR services to Hydro-Quebec in its fight with Maine environmentalists over a proposed power line to New England.

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Panama: Edelman has registered senior account supervisor Lorena Hoz de Vila in Miami as a foreign agent on its $1.3 million contract to help raise Panama’s profile in the United States, United Kingdom and European Union. The effort is funded by the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), the world body’s global development network. 

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Asia

Afghanistan: Anti-Taliban leader Ahmad Massoud‘s National Resistance Front of Afghanistan has registered an in-house lobbying arm in California as it seeks to promote itself as the “protector of America’s 20-year investment in Afghanistan and the force to rid the country of intolerance and terrorism.” The office will advocate for “freedom, justice, and democracy in Afghanistan through active outreach to Congress, the Administration, and the American people,” according to its Department of Justice filing under the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA). The registration comes a month after former Donald Trump 2016 campaign adviser Robert Stryk registered as a pro bono lobbyist for Massoud, tasked with getting US military and financial support for the resistance and preventing the US from recognizing the Taliban government in Kabul.

Ali Nazary, the head of foreign relations for the resistance group, has registered as a pro bono foreign agent for the group. Nazary is a former director of media affairs for Abdullah Abdullah‘s presidential run and currently the director for Afghanistan and Central Asian government relations with California lobbying firm Bellwether Partners.

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Cambodia: Former Sen. Mark Pryor (D-Ark.) has registered to lobby for the government of Cambodia, providing “government relations services and strategic counsel on matters before the US government.” Pryor (bio) joined Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck in November 2020 as a shareholder in the firm’s government relations department in Washington. The firm has represented Phnom Penh since 2019 for $720,000.

This is Pryor’s first time registering under the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA). His registration comes as Cambodia has been beefing up its lobbying and public relations presence, hiring Qorvis Communications last month “in support of increasing public awareness along with travel and tourism for the Kingdom of Cambodia.”

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Middle East

Yemen: Yemen’s separatist Southern Transitional Council has renewed its contract with New York nonprofit advisory group Independent Diplomat for the four months from Sept. 1 through the end of the year. The contract is for $10,000 per month. The firm will “seek the views of the US Government by meeting officials and desk officers in the State
Department including at the US Mission to the UN, in order to assist the STC in its diplomatic efforts.”

Independent Diplomat has advised the United Arab Emirates-backed council since 2018Ryan Allman is the sole registered agent on the account. The council declared self-rule last spring but struck a power-sharing arrangement with President Abdrabbuh Mansur Hadi’s UN-recognized government in December in an effort to reunite the two sides against their common foe, the Iran-backed Houthis.

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