- The Timeline
- Republican Party
- Ed Lozansky Russian-born, founded Russia House–American University & Young Republicans in Moscow, World Russia Forum; August 1, 2010: us-russia.org; propagandist, anti-Magnitsky Act
- Electronic Voting
- GOP Donors
- Religious Right
- Council for National Policy
- Judicial Crisis Network-Public Relations for the Judicial Branch
- The Federalist Society–Leonard Leo, trains and selects Judicial appointments
- Judicial Nominations
- Neil Gorsuch, SCOTUS
- Brett Kavanaugh, SCOTUS
- Matthew Whitaker, Acting AG
- Judicial Nominations
- The Federalist Society–Leonard Leo, trains and selects Judicial appointments
- Right Wing Media
- FACT-Foundation for Accountability and Civic Trust, (Former Trump Acting AG) Matthew Whitaker Executive Director
- The Pro-Israel Lobby
- Sheldon Adelson
- David Horowitz Freedom Center
- Sheldon Adelson
- David Horowitz Freedom Center
- Rabbi Shmuley Boteach Attacked National Security Adviser Susan Rice for “genocide”
- John Bolton, US Amb to the UN 2005-6; National Security Advisor April 2018-September 13, 2019
- Council for National Policy-John Bolton
- NRA National Rifle Association-John Bolton
- Friends of Israel Initiative – Founded by John Bolton in 2010
- Jewish Institute for National Security of America JINSA- John Bolton
- Gatestone Institute aka Hudson Institute New York-Anti-Muslim think tank paid fmr.chairman Bolton over $310,000 in 2013. Founded by president Nina Rosenwald former chairman John Bolton Authors: Nonie Darwish, Alan Dershowitz, Raymond Ibrahim, Denis MacEoin, Daniel Pipes, Raheel Raza, Khaled Abu Toameh, Geert Wilders, Janusz Wójcik, Bat Ye’or, Josef Zbořil and Dexter Van Zile. Chairman Amir Taheri. . 2016 Revenue $2.3 million.
- John Bolton presided over anti-Muslim think tank. NBC News. Heidi Przybyla April 23, 2018
- Rebekah Mercer–2017 member, Mercer Family Foundation gave Gatestone $150,000 in 2014-15
RT & Sputnik-Russian state media, appearance by Gatestone authors
- Gatestone created the “No-Go Zone” disinformation about European “Muslim enclaves in European cities are also breeding grounds for Islamic radicalism.” 2016 Campaign repeated by Bobby Jindal, Ted Cruz, and Donald Trump
- Rebekah Mercer–2017 member, Mercer Family Foundation gave Gatestone $150,000 in 2014-15
- Alan Dershowitz
- 1995- Banned in 2007 The K Street Project- Political Pressure to blacklist any Democrat employers/cooperators in lobbying firms led by DeLay & Norquist
- Tom DeLay
- Grover Norquist
- American Conservative Union
- Paul Erickson
- Newt Gingrich
- Roger Stone
- Paul Manafort
- Sam Patten
- Richard Burt–Gazprom Lobbyist
- Louis Freeh, Former FBI Director
- Joe Lieberman-Ran as an Independent to become Sen. of CT
- National Rifle Association
- Scott Walker Former WI Governor–lobbying against Congressional Redistricting, Koch
- Jack Abramoff–2005 Indian casino lobbying fraud with Ralph E. Reed Jr., Grover Norquist, Michael Scanlon, implicating Tom DeLay and Bob Ney (R-OH). 2001 George W. Bush White House Transition Team: White House Contact was Abramoff’s former aide Susan Ralston, Executive Asst. to Karl Rove
- Greenberg Traurig
- Fmr. FBI Director William Sessions-Semyon Mogilevich–Ukraine–born- Negotiated a deal with the US DOJ for Mogilveich on a 45-count racketeering and money laundering indictment in Philadelphia, masterminding European shell companies, and separate probe: 2005 Ukraine Minister of Energy Yuri Boyko used Annex Holdings(Caribbean) to pay for DC lobbying, Yuri Boyko arranged energy/gas deals between Russian OAO Gazprom & Ukraine possibly tying(at the time) to Semyon Mogilevich. Sessions offered information on Islamist terrorism in exchange for negotiating charges, rejected by DOJ. Talks went through Neil C. Livingstone (Former CEO of GlobalOptions DC corporate intelligence operating in Russia & Caribbean with William Sessions on advisory board), from the 1980s Iran-Contra scandal and work with White House aide Oliver North. 2004 GlobalOptions/Livingstone was introduced to Ukrainian oligarch Dimytro Firtash‘s Cyprus-based Highrock Holdings with shares owned by Semyon Mogilevich‘s wife by Barbour Griffith: GlobalOptions/Livingstone’s lawsuit claimed Dimytro Firtash/Highrock Holdings owed for a “special operation” for a Ukrainian official in US District Ct, DC, however Livingstone said it was for passenger jet safety certification in the Central Asian market.
- Barbour Griffith & Rogers (Fmr. Gove. Haley Barbour-MI founded)-Alfa-for Russian Telecom-ALFA BANK–run by Russian minister Leonid Reiman, Putin close ally (DC Adviser was Mark D’Anastasio, WSJ reporter in 2007)- Reiman under US Money Laundering investigation; 2002-3 Friends of Ukraine (Headquartered at BG’s DC office, Chair Lanny Griffith) paid Barbour Griffith $320,000;2004 UK Shell Foruper Ltd. paid Barbour Griffith $820,000, via an attorney who structured deals under US DOJ investigation for Semyon Mogilevich ties
- Paul Manafort, Adviser to 1996 Dole Campaign, 2016 Trump Campaign Manager, Fmr. Ukraine PM Viktor Yanukovich, Rinat Akhmetov–with Bruce Jackson, Akhmetov met VP Dick Cheney
- Bruce Jackson-1996 Dole Fundraiser – Ukraine oligarch Rinat Akhmetov, Yanukovych’s benefactor/ally gave $300,000 to Mrs. Jackson’s charity in 2005
- Alston & Bird–Fmr. Sen. Maj. Ldr. Bob Dole 1996 Presidential nominee- Helped Russian aluminum oligarch Oleg Deripaska with visa to visit the US in 2005 despite US Security concerns ($300,000-2003, $260,000-2005)
- Social Media 2016 Campaign
WHAT IS FARA? UNDERSTANDING THE FOREIGN AGENTS REGISTRATION ACT Public Integrity May 31, 2018 Updated — September 24, 2018
FARA- Foreign Agents Registration Act Quick Search & Document Search Tool
Paul Manafort & Roger Stone– Manafort, Black, Stone and Kelly
“The Torturer’s Lobby”; MBSK established dirty lobbying throughout the 1980s.
Manafort’s guilty plea exposes hardball tactics he used to thrive in Washington swamp Washington Post By Rosalind S. Helderman Tom Hamburger Matt Zapotosky “The prosecution of Manafort by special counsel Robert S. Mueller III has drawn in players from across the political spectrum, including pillars of the Washington lobbying and legal community like Mercury Public Affairs; the Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom law firm; and the now-defunct Podesta Group, helmed by Democratic lobbyist Tony Podesta.”
America First Policies-Parscale & Ayers
Nonprofit arm of America First Action, founded by Trump Campaign 2020 manager Brad Parscale and VP Pence Chief of Staff Nick Ayers. December 17, 2018, Full-page Border Wall ad in the Washington Post signed by “Sheriff” David Clarke first.
American Conservative Union
Oldest US lobbying organization which William F. Buckley Jr. helped found. Hosts the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC).
Ballard Partners- Brian Ballard
Thread from contributor Dave Levinthal “ABOUT LAST NIGHT [March 8, 2019] … PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP gave a quick impromptu speech to guests at dinner at Mar-a-Lago. SPOTTED: Ivanka Trump, HUD Secretary Ben Carson, SBA Administrator Linda McMahon, RNC Chair Ronna Romney McDaniel, RNC Co-Chair Tommy Hicks, Trump Victory Finance Chair Todd Ricketts, Roy Bailey, Brian Ballard and David Tamasi.” Politico
FLORIDA LOBBYIST TURNING TRUMP TIES INTO MEGA-MILLIONS Public Integrity Rachel Wilson (Dave Levinthal contributed to this report.)July 5, 2017, updated March 9, 2019 Brian Ballard’s new D.C. office has bagged a gaggle of big-name clients by Rachel Wilson July 5, 2017 Updated — March 9, 2019 Ballard “raised 2020 re-election campaign money as recently as June 28 at Trump’s hotel in Washington, D.C.” Ballard started as “director of operations to then-Florida Gov. Bob Martinez at the tender age of 26″ Florida Gov. Charlie Crist and current Gov. Rick Scott, The Trump Organization (2013-16). He served as the Florida finance chairman for the Republican presidential campaigns of both McCain in 2008 and Romney in 2012.
While generally in league with Republicans, Ballard isn’t a conservative caricature. He’s occasionally given Democrats money, touts his environmentalist credentials and has over the years lobbied for hundreds of clients, each of which have their own political agendas. He hires bona fide liberals to work at his firm. Ballard even married into politics, as his wife, Kathryn, is the daughter of Jim Smith, a one-time Florida gubernatorial candidate who also served last century as Florida secretary of state and attorney general. Ballard and his father-in-law also worked together for many years.
Since opening his Washington, D.C., office in January — the new digs are just three blocks away from the White House and stocked with prominent influence brokers — Ballard has signed 35 federal-level clients. Most haven’t previously worked with him. The list includes less-than-First-World foreign governments — Turkey and the Dominican Republican, [and Albania] — and brand-name companies and organizations, such as Amazon.com Inc., American Airlines, tobacco giant Reynolds American, private prison firm Geo Group Inc., Prudential Financial Inc., NextEra Energy Inc., the U.S. Sugar Corporation and the American Health Care Association.
In just five months, Ballard Partners’ federal lobbying operation has generated nearly $4 million in current and contracted business from foreign and domestic lobbying clients, according to a Center for Public Integrity review of lobbying records filed with the U.S. Congress and Department of Justice. That’s as much lobbying money as some established firms make in a year. Ballard broadly touted his long-standing relationships with Republican congressmen, governors and pre-Trump presidential candidates, such as John McCain and Mitt Romney. Then there’s Ballard’s West Palm Beach office —an eight-minute drive to Trump’s Mar-a-Lago Club resort, which Trump has dubbed the “winter White House.”
Wallace Cheves, managing partner of Sky Boat Gaming and a new client for Ballard, said he signed on because of Ballard’s “class A name on national issues with the Republican party.” Ballard’s D.C. office is now heavy on Trump campaign and transition veterans such as Susie Wiles and Dan McFaul. While Ballard may downplay his Trump ties, Wiles and McFaul aren’t being as shy about their connections.
McFaul’s Ballard Partners biography advertises his role as a Trump presidential transition team member and notes he was responsible for “recruiting and vetting potential appointees to the upcoming administration, specifically for the Department of Defense, Department of Veterans Affairs, the Armed Services and the Intelligence community.”
Lobbying disclosure records show McFaul is now lobbying the Department of Veterans Affairs for a Ballard client, Veterans Evaluation Services. The company declined to comment. Ballard has also hired former Rep. Robert Wexler, D-Fla., who is quarterbacking the firm’s contract with Turkey. Also on Ballard’s team: Otto Reich, a former ambassador to Venezuela and prominent official in the administrations of presidents Ronald Reagan, George H. W. Bush and George W. Bush. Reich, who at Ballard Partners specializes in international affairs, has been a controversial figure since the 1980s, when the U.S. General Accounting Office found he engaged in “prohibited covert propaganda” in a bid to sway public opinion in support of Nicaraguan contras.
Meanwhile, two other Ballard clients — Univision and the Socialist Party of Albania — appear eager to court Trump’s administration after their own campaign-season conflicts. Univision, a Spanish-language television network headquartered in New York City, refused to broadcast the Trump-owned Miss Universe and Miss USA pageants after he made disparaging remarks about Mexican immigrants while campaigning. Trump later sued Univision for $500 million. The lawsuit has since been settled. Trump himself booted Univision journalist Jorge Ramos from a campaign press conference in 2015. Univision is now turning to Ballard to help mend the rocky relationship between Trump and the network. The Socialist Party of Albania, currently the ruling party in the Balkan nation, also has some fences to mend: Edi Rama, the current prime minister and party leader, said during the campaign that Trump represented a “threat to Albanian-American ties.”
The Most Powerful Lobbyist in Trump’s Washington Hint: It’s not Corey Lewandowski. Politico By THEODORIC MEYER April 02, 2018 “Ballard is closer to the president than perhaps any other lobbyist in town. Those clients paid Ballard nearly $10 million last year for help navigating Trump’s first year in office. (Those numbers don’t include the $3.1 million the firm says it brought in representing foreign clients such as Turkey and the Dominican Republic.) The two men have known each other for nearly 30 years. Ballard met Trump after picking up a copy of The Art of the Deal in the 1980s. Ballard helped orchestrate a fundraiser in 2005 at Trump Tower in Manhattan for Crist’s campaign for Florida governor. Trump named Ballard his Florida finance chairman, and Ballard raised millions for his campaign. He spoke with Trump often and traveled on the campaign plane with him. The effort also put him in close touch with Reince Priebus, the Republican National Committee chairman who would be tapped as White House chief of staff, and Steven Mnuchin, the campaign’s finance chairman, who’s now treasury secretary. Ballard isn’t the only Washington lobbyist who has a personal relationship with Trump. Dave Urban, a veteran lobbyist who helped Trump carry Pennsylvania, is also widely believed to be close to the president. Even [Matt] Gaetz sometimes needs help from Ballard lobbyists to get what he wants from the West Wing. “Even as a friend of the president who speaks frequently with the president, sometimes I have to call Susie Wiles to get my way,” he said.
Work on behalf of Katumbi, the exiled Congolese opposition leader. Katumbi, who fled the Democratic Republic of the Congo in 2016 to avoid being thrown in prison by President Joseph Kabila, hired Ballard to help persuade the Trump administration to pressure Kabila to allow him to return. Ballard, Lukis and Katumbi met with a deputy to Nikki Haley, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, in October before Haley traveled to the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Haley forcefully called for the country to hold elections this year on her trip.
Not all of Ballard’s foreign clients are as sympathetic. Ballard signed a contract with the Turkish government worth $125,000 a month on May 11, days before Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s security guards beat up peaceful protesters outside Turkey’s embassy, according to a Justice Department filing. Another filing shows Ballard met several times with administration officials on Turkey’s behalf, including Sean Cairncross, a senior adviser to the White House chief of staff, and Matt Mowers, a State Department official who worked on Trump’s campaign. And he started lobbying the White House for Crowley Maritime, a Florida shipping company, four days after the administration waived the Jones Act in an effort to speed the delivery of hurricane relief to Puerto Rico. Thomas Crowley, the company’s chief executive, told the Washington Post at the time that waiving the Jones Act — which requires shipments between U.S. ports to be carried on American-flagged vessels — wouldn’t help relief efforts. The Jones Act, Crowley added, “is very important to our company and America’s shipping industry.” Trump allowed the waiver to lapse days later.”
DONALD TRUMP’S ETHICS REFORM PLAN: DIM PROSPECTS AHEAD New proposal would face hurricane-force political headwinds Public Integrity Carrie Levine October 18, 2016 Updated March 9, 2019
Ed Rogers is a a political consultant and a veteran of the White House and several national campaigns. He is the chairman of the lobbying and communications firm BGR Group, which he founded with former Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour in 1991.” What is so significant about Sam Nunberg? ” Bidzina Ivanishvili, a billionaire tycoon of Georgian descent who is working closely with Irakli Alasania, the leader of Georgia’s Free Democrats Party and the president’s main political rival. Ivanishvili is currently paying the lobbying firm BGR Group $25,000 per month, according to disclosure filings, in a contract signed last November. He is also paying another $20,000 per month to Sam Patten, a Tbilisi-based consultant who is working with BGR on behalf of Ivanishvili, the disclosure records show. That money is paid through a London-based entity called BGR-Garbara, LTD, which the records state is working on behalf of Ivanishvili. BGR-Garbara, LTD, also pays Patten $10,000 per month to work on behalf of Alasania, according to disclosure filings, to “advise U.S. officials” on political developments in Georgia, and for “arranging meetings with U.S. officials on behalf of the foreign principal [Alasania].” Another contract filing shows that BGR-Garbara, LTD, also pays BGR an undisclosed sum to work on behalf of Alasania and the Free Democrats. The filing defines BGR-Garbara, LTD, as “a pan-European government affairs and public relations firm engaged by ‘Free Democrats’… for the purposes of promoting a stronger Georgian democracy through fair, open, and honest elections in 2012.” Former U.S. Ambassador to NATO Kurt Volker is also working on the contract for BGR, according to lobbying e-mails sent out by BGR to journalists and non-governmental organizations. We’re told by two sources that Alasania and Ivanishvili have also recently signed a contract with Patton Boggs, a powerful D.C. lobbying law firm, although no disclosure forms have yet been submitted. Both sources also confirmed that Ivanishvili’s representatives made a pass at the Podesta Group, offering to double their fee to switch teams, but Podesta declined. Ivanishvili is also working with Sam Amsterdam, the son of Robert Amsterdam, the Canadian lawyer made famous by his defense of imprisoned Russian oil tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky. There’s no disclosure filing for that relationship because Sam Amsterdam is not a U.S. citizen and is not lobbying U.S. officials. Ivanishvili has made statements criticizing Khordorkovsky in the past. Robert Amsterdam is not working with Ivanishvili or his son on the project. Ivanishvili’s critics paint him as a Russia-funded oligarch whose agenda is anti-Western and therefore anti-American. They point to his seemingly soft stance on Russia, such as when he said of once and future President Vladimir Putin, “the Russian people like this man,” and that Russia “is not the worst example of an undemocratic state.” He has also blamed Saakashvili for the outbreak of war with Russia in 2008. Ivanishvili’s ties to Russia are not only political, but economic. He made his fortune in Russia in the 1990s, and still maintains at least a 1 percent stake in Gazprom, the semi-state controlled energy behemoth. (The Russian Federation and Gazprom are represented in Washington by Ketchum).”
Cove Strategies-The Koch-funded Schlapps-Mercedes in the White House-Team Trump–NRA Board
Matt Schlapp, Wichita, KS,Fox News contributor. Matt and wife Mercedes founded Cove Strategies in 2009 with KOCH as its first client. Mercedes Schlapp has been an NRA board member and strategic consultant.(2015: $60k, 2016: $45k @ ) 1 hr./wk.) Matt Schlapp was Deputy Assistant to Pres. George W. Bush, 1st term while Mercedes was Director of Strategic Communications/Specialty Media. Joined Koch Companies as VP of Federal Affairs, National Association of Manufacturers Board, U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Archive. ‘In September 2018, Schlapp tweeted a photo of three Democratic Senators, all of whom were people of color, and wrote, “Look at this photo conservative voters in WV, ND, IN, FL, MO, MT, MI, TN, AZ, NV.” Critics, including conservative Bill Kristol and Tom Nichols, accused Schlapp of racial dog-whistling, which Schlapp denied.“Wikipedia
Meet the Schlapps, Washington’s Trump-Era ‘It Couple’Matt and Mercedes Schlapp at home in Alexandria, Va. To some Republicans, the Schlapps are a conservative “it couple.” To others, they’re opportunists. NYTimes by Elizabeth Williamson April 30, 2018. “Mr. Trump appeared at CPAC as president in 2017 and in February was again the star of the three-day conference, attended by about 10,000 people and underwritten by a multitude of sponsors and exhibitors, some of them former Cove Strategies clients. While Mr. Schlapp said not all participants are pro-Trump, prominent “Never Trump” conservatives like John Kasich, George Will and Bill Kristol were not invited to speak. But as Mr. Trump closed in on the presidency, the Schlapps drew closer to Mr. Trump, who despite his no-show at CPAC had contributed tens of thousands of dollars to the group in earlier years. By the end of the campaign, the Schlapps were making some 30 press appearances a week for Mr. Trump. There was one setback: Ms. Schlapp seeing her husband defend Mr. Trump on Fox News after an “Access Hollywood” tape surfaced of the candidate boasting of grabbing women’s genitals. Mr. Schlapp did condemn Mr. Trump for “inexcusable talk” and evoked his wife, “who has been in situations where it was hard for her to be an attractive woman in the workplace.” “
h/t @ninaandtito Lobbying Arrangements Results for ‘Cove Strategies’ @ninaandtito Pro Public. No FARA records h/t
Matt Schlapp: ’Mueller will be gone soon’ Politico February 14, 2019By BRENT D. GRIFFITHS “Matt Schlapp, a conservative activist and commentator, said now that William Barr was becoming attorney general, special counsel Robert Mueller’s days were numbered, a striking statement from someone whose wife works in the White House and one that runs counter to Barr’s own words during his contentious confirmation process.
“Tomorrow will be the first day that President Trump will have a fully operational confirmed Attorney General,” Schlapp wrote Thursday on Twitter. “Let that sink in. Mueller will be gone soon.”
Definers Public Affairs-3D Global Affairs- “America Rising”: AR2 Inc., America Rising LLC, America Rising PAC
website 2012 founded by Mitt Romney Paul Ryan Campaign Manager Matt Rhoades and RNC Research Director “combining political intelligence, legal advisors, campaign-style tactics, lobbying, governmental affairs, research, and communications into one unique offering” Dentons Law Firm merged in 2017 Definers Public Affairs to create 3D Global Affairs The Hill December 5, 2017Core Services: Legal Services, Government Relations And Lobbying Support, Communications And Rapid Response, Campaign-Style Opposition Research, War Room Style Media Monitoring, Disrupt The Political, Regulatory, And Communications Environment Over The Long-Term”
“Here is the contract that the Environmental Protection Agency signed with the Virginia-based Definers Pubic Affairs and its related Definers Corp. in early December, to provide media monitoring services to the agency headquarters, a contract awarded on a no-bid basis. The company also noted that it is “self-certified disadvantaged business” even though it is controlled by two well-known Republican operatives, Matt Rhoades and Joe Pounder. Mr. Pounder said he believed the designation was a clerical flaw and that his company did not register itself as disadvantaged or receive any benefit from the designation. The E.P.A. says this contract is only related to monitoring news coverage of the agency, not to attempt to gather information on employees who are critical of the agency.” h/t @arlebear“Their job is to shut down criticism of their clients, as they did for Pruitt at the EPA.”
“Guess what else AmericaRising/TheDefiners have done for Pruitt & his cause. They ran this http://CONFIRMPRUITT.COM website (now down) to push Senate to confirm him. Then they started to investigated his critics at EPA. Now EPA has hired them with tax $$$s.” @EricLiptonNYT
E.P.A. Employees Spoke Out. Then Came Scrutiny of Their Email. NYTimes By Eric Lipton and Lisa Friedman December 17, 2017
“These entities apparently all related: AR2 Inc., America Rising LLC, America Rising PAC. etc” @mrspanstreppon
“Oh, in case it wasn’t clear,
@definersdc is the firm hired by the EPA on our dime to smear actual science and prop up the fossil fuel industry.” @phlubup
The EPA Hired a Major Republican Opposition Research Firm to Track Press Activity It promises “war room” style media monitoring. Mother Jones DECEMBER 15, 2017
Fidelis Government Relations
“Bill Smith, Vice President-elect Mike Pence‘s former chief of staff in Congress and the governor’s office, recently started lobbying at the federal level through his friend Terry Allen‘s firm, Fidelis Government Relations. David Schwartz, a New York lawyer whose Gotham Government Relations & Communications has worked with Trump in the past, also announced plans to open a Washington office.” Politico
NRA leader, Jack Abramoff and GOP operative tied to alleged Russian spy Maria Butina have long history as foreign agents lobbying together Open Secrets By Anna Massoglia
December 10, 2018 “Keene’s history as a foreign agent
Amidst all of the buzz surrounding his ties to alleged Russian agent Maria Butina, NRA board member and former NRA president David Keene took a different approach, registering as a foreign agent representing the interests of the government of Algeria. Unlike Butina and Erickson, who are alleged to be Russian agents under Section 951, Keene has now registered as a foreign agent under FARA. This is hardly the first time Keene has had a hand in foreign influence operations.
Keene kicked off his first registered foreign lobbying and influence shop, Keene, Shirley & Associates, in 1987 by inking a $60,000-per-year contract with the National Farmers’ Federation of Australia before signing on to represent Nicaraguan interests the following year. The firm’s board of directorsincluded Keene’s wife, Diana, and another political consultant named Craigan Shirley. Perhaps most well-known is Keene’s lobbying for Nigeria and Algeria — which was disclosed under the Lobbying Disclosure Act. Keene went on to lobby for a broad array of interests, including the World Wrestling Federation.
Now David Keene has again registered as a foreign agent, according to FARA filings made available through CRP’s Foreign Lobby Watch tool.Outlining the terms of their $360,000 lobbying agreement, Algeria’s government issued a cheeky press release titled “Algeria is Keen on NRA Alum Keene.” One chapter of Keene’s lobbying history has made even fewer headlines: The time he, Paul Erickson and Jack Abramoff were lobbying for a widely recognized dictator’s entry into the United States.
Erickson and Abramoff had been longtime friends whose professional lives often intertwined. After college Republicans, Erickson and Abramoff went on to do more than just develop the anti-Communist Dolph Lundgren flick Red Scorpion together. In 1995, Erickson obtained a $30,000 contract for a six-week stint lobbying for entrance into the United States on behalf of Mobutu Sese Seko, the president of the Republic of Congo during the Rwandan genocide who was widely referenced as a military dictator. Mobutu had been banned from the entering the United States after he developed political ties while working as a journalist then formed an authoritarian regime. He was notorious for corruption, nepotism, and embezzlement between $4 and $15 billion during his reign as well as widespread human rights violations.
As Abramoff noted in the FARA disclosures, he was “under no illusion we are dealing with Thomas Jefferson.” The official foreign principal who hired Erickson’s firm was Andre Soussan, a “Danish citizen residing in Paris who is a close political advisor to President Mobutu Sese Seko of Zaire,” according to the FARA disclosures obtained by CRP. Soussan reportedly “acted as an intermediary for President Mobutu’s quest for a U.S. visa,” which entailed rallying together members of Congress to write letters of support and “employment of Mr. Keene to assist in Andrew Soussan’s visa quest.” But the FARA disclosures discovered through Foreign Lobby Watch’s full-text search feature show Soussan played little role in the operation.
In the FARA disclosure, Abramoff argued that negotiations in the United States, “where Mobutu has few or no friends — would be less susceptible to manipulation.” U.S. officials did not agree, reportedly pushing back that Mobutu merely wanted to sanitize his image by appearing to support democratic reforms so he could stage controlled elections and further consolidate his power. The State Department ultimately rejected Mobutu’s entrance into the United States. He stayed in power until he was expelled in 1997. Abramoff has again been implicated in Erickson’s schemes related to Butina, though the full extent and scope of Abramoff’s role is unclear.
Anti-fraud investigators at Wells Fargo bank, acting on a tip from federal investigators, flagged potentially suspicious bank transfers from an account held jointly by Butina and Erickson to what appeared to be a shell company tied to Abramoff’s family. Erickson sent wire transfers for $15,000 to a California company incorporated in March 2017 out of the home of Abramoff’s son who is listed as its CEO and sole director while Abramoff’s brother is the registered agent.”
Russian Federation and Gazprom How Western PR Firms Quietly Push Putin’s Agenda Another front in Russia’s effort to shape the hearts and minds of Americans has received little attention in mainstream U.S. media since the election. Fast Company July 1 , 2017 BY SUE CURRY JANSEN ”
Industry publication PRWeek reports that Russia has spent $115 million on Western PR firms since 2000, with most going to the U.S. firm Ketchum, a division of Omnicom. (To put that in context: According to the Center for Public Integrity, the 50 countries with the worst human rights violation records have spent $168 million on American lobbyists and PR specialists since 2010.)
From 2006 to 2014, Ketchum had ongoing contracts with the Russian government and its state-owned energy company Gazprom.
Charged with improving Putin’s and Russia’s image abroad, Ketchum facilitated op-eds by Russian officials in publications around the world, including Putin’s 2013 New York Times article warning the U.S. on Syria.
According to ProPublica, Ketchum also placed what appeared to be independent opinion pieces praising Russia in the Huffington Post, on CNBC’s website (where links to those stories are no longer active), and in other publications without acknowledging their sources. The firm lobbied Time magazine to name Putin “Person of the Year,” which it did in 2007.
That same year, according to Reuters, Ketchum tried to convince the U.S. State Department to soften its assessment of Russia’s human rights abuses. The firm also contacted reporters who cover Russian human rights abuses and urged them to tone down their criticism.
Faced with intense criticism after Russia seized Crimea in 2014, Ketchum formally ended its contract with Russia in March 2015, tersely announcing that it “no longer represents the Russian Federation in the U.S. or Europe with the exception of our office in Moscow.” However, one of its partners, GPlus, continued the relationship under similar terms.”
Mercury Public Affairs– Oleg Deripaska & David Vitter former US Senator (R-La.)
Too big to sanction? U.S. struggles with punishing large Russian businesses Oleg Deripaska and the companies he controls were hit with U.S. sanctions in April, leading to a spike in global aluminum prices and an outcry from manufacturers and foreign governments.By Jeanne Whalen John Hudson August 26, 2018 “The sanctions beginning this week are the administration’s response to what the United States and Britain say was Russia’s use of a nerve agent to try to assassinate a British citizen [Skirpal] and former Russian intelligence officer. Deripaska, Rusal and En+ did not respond to requests for comment. The Deripaska-controlled holding company is leaning on several Western establishment figures to plead its case in Washington. Leading that effort is En+ Chairman Gregory Barker, a former U.K. energy minister and a member of Britain’s House of Lords. To help press his agenda, Barker hired Mercury Public Affairs, which assigned an influential lobbyist to the case: former U.S. senator David Vitter (R-La.).
“DERIPASKA PAYDAY REVEALED: Washington lawyers who negotiated a deal with
@USTreasury to lift sanctions on the Russian oligarch’s companies were paid “a multiple” of the $600k+ that was paid to Mercury Public Affairs for lobbying to lift the sanctions, per @GregBarkerUK last week. The British Lord ( @GregBarkerUK) who leads DERIPASKA’s cos. reportedly will receive a “success fee” for leading effort to lift US sanctions. He suggested to parliament MERCURY, which lobbied for sanctions relief, also would receive a success fee, but his spox now denies that. FARA LOOPHOLE: The law firms that helped negotiate the sanctions relief for DERIPASKA’s companies — including @lathamwatkins, @steptoellp & @Dentons — were not required to disclose how much they were paid under the Foreign Agents Registration Act, because it exempts legal work. VIDEO: Here’s a link to the full hearing from Wednesday of the hearing of the U.K. parliament’s foreign affairs committee, which was quite skeptical of both the U.S. lobbying & the sanctions relief for DERIPASKA’s companies, as this clip makes clear. https://www.parliamentlive.tv/Event/Index/1ca4606c-787b-4759-9cf7-e7d23a01a5e8. NEW DERIPASKA DETAILS: Under @USTreasury‘s sanctions relief deal, 10.5M shares (current value: $94.5M) of Deripaska’s EN+ were transferred to a mysterious entity called the LIBERI FOUNDATION. *Despite the name, Liberi is actually a trust fund for Deripaska’s kids, I can confirm. The transfer of $94.5M worth of shares to a trust fund for DERIPASKA’s kids means that the sanctioned Russian oligarch’s family will benefit from a TRUMP administration deal intended to punish him.” @kenvogel UK Foreign Affairs Committee List of attendees Lord Barker EN+ William McGlone (Latham & Watkins) Tom Tugendhat (chair) Bob Seeley Chris Bryant Mike Gapes Ann Clwyd Ian Murray Royston Smith @shady_inf0
RUSSIAN BANK HIRES TWO FORMER U.S. SENATORS U.S. sanctions against Russia are becoming a boon for Washington’s lobbyists Public Integrity Alexander Cohen “Last month, Russian gas firm OAO Novatek retained Washington, D.C., public relations firm Qorvis to lobby the administration and Congress after one of its largest shareholders, an associate of Russian president Vladimir Putin, was similarly targeted for sanctions by the United States.”
Squire Patton Boggs-Michael Cohen– Gazprombank – Cambridge Analytica
Squire Patton Boggs Strikes Alliance With Trump’s Lawyer Michael Cohen, a personal lawyer to President Donald Trump who started his own firm two weeks ago, has agreed to form a strategic alliance with global legal giant Squire Patton Boggs. American Lawyer By Katelyn Polantz | April 03, 2017
“The deal, announced Monday evening, makes official a link between the president and foreign and corporate interests, many of whom rely on Squire Patton Boggs for legal and lobbying counsel. A press release by the firm said it would partner with Michael D. Cohen & Associates to “advance the interests” of its clients.” @dark_wisdom.
Breaux, Lott to Stay at Squire Patton for Another Year Washington’s two most eligible lobbyists are off the market for another year. Former Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott and former Senator John Breaux, who co-chair the public policy practice at Squire Patton Boggs, have signed a one-year extension with the firm. Their contract was set to expire this month. National Law Journal by Katelyn Polantz | June 24, 2015
RUSSIAN BANK HIRES TWO FORMER U.S. SENATORS U.S. sanctions against Russia are becoming a boon for Washington’s lobbyists Public Integrity Alexander Cohen “In a filing submitted Friday and effective that day, former Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott, R-Miss., and former Senator John Breaux, D-La., are listed as the main lobbyists under the Gazprombank account for the firm Squire Patton Boggs, lobbying on “banking laws and regulations including applicable sanctions. Gazprombank GPB (OJSC) is a subsidiary of Gazprombank, Russia’s third largest bank. On July 16th, the U.S. Treasury Department added it to a list of Russian firms barred from debt financing with U.S. institutions. In 2008, they started a lobbying firm with their sons, Breaux Lott Leadership Group, which was acquired by D.C.-lobbying powerhouse Patton Boggs in 2010. Patton Boggs merged with Squire Sanders to form Squire Patton Boggs in June. In July, The Permanent Court of Arbitration, an intergovernmental organization located in The Hague, Netherlands, ruled that the Russian government should reimburse $50 billion to certain shareholders of former Russian oil company Yukos. The tribunal said the government, in a series of actions starting in 2003 “accompanied by serious due process violations,” had dismantled and seized the assets of Yukos and transferred them to Gazprom and state-run oil company Rosneft.”
Breaux Lott, Patton Boggs Deal Final The BLT July 1, 2010 “Breaux and Lott quickly built the Breaux Lott Leadership Group into a bipartisan powerhouse, reporting $11.2 million in lobbying revenue in 2009, according to the Influence 50. The firm’s clients include Chevron USA Inc., Citigroup, Diageo, FedEx Corp., Goldman Sachs Group” h/t @dark_wisdom.
Squire Patton Slates Ex-Sens. To Lobby For Gazprombank Law360 September 2, 2014 — “Squire Patton Boggs lobbyists and former U.S. Senators John Breaux and Trent Lott will lobby on behalf of Gazprombank GPB, the financing arm for energy giant Gazprom” h/t @dark_wisdom
“Squire Patton Boggs had their “best year ever” in 2016. Interesting note: they also hired John Boehner in September.” @dark_wisdom
Still in Growth Mode, Squire Patton Boggs Boosts Partner Profits National Law Journal Squire Patton Boggs edged total revenues closer to the $1 billion mark and boosted average partner profits to nearly $1 million in 2016, in what global managing partner Steve Mahon called the firm’s “best year ever.” By Katelyn Polantz March 29, 2017
Data Firm Funded By Backer Of Donald Trump And Breitbart Threatens To Sue The Guardian Huffington Post The British news organization had been investigating links between conservative billionaire Robert Mercer and the Brexit vote. On Wednesday, The Guardian informed staff that the firms had threatened legal action and it added a disclaimer to more than a half-dozen articles and editorials, including “Robert Mercer: the big data billionaire waging war on mainstream media” and “Revealed: how US billionaire helped to back Brexit” from February and this month’s “The great British Brexit robbery: how our democracy was hijacked.” “These articles are the subject of a legal complaint on behalf of Cambridge Analaytica LLC and SCL Elections Limited,” the disclaimer reads. Cadwalladr said [Cambridge Analytica‘s] attorneys, Squire, Patton & Boggs, sent the paper a “Pre-Action Protocol for Defamation.” And the firms’ displeasure with Cadwalladr’s reporting was made clear in the article, which was published in The Observer. The aforementioned articles were written by Carole Cadwalladr, who reported Sunday that two data firms tied to competing pro-Brexit Leave campaigns, Cambridge Analytica and Canada’s AggregateIQ, hadn’t disclosed a partnership, a possible violation of British election law. The firms denied such a relationship.” h/t @lovetogive2