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Qatar Hires New US Lobby Firm- Firm Consultant Former Aide To Powerful Democratic Senator

March 18th, 2021 14:11

US media is report­ing that Qatar has hired yet anoth­er lob­by­ing firm in con­tin­u­ance with its past and exten­sive lob­by efforts. Accord­ing to ForeignLobby.com:

March 8, 2021 The Embassy of Qatar has signed a year-long, $30,000-a-month con­tract with Inte­grat­ed Strat­e­gy Group (ISG), accord­ing to a new lob­by­ing fil­ing. ISG was co-found­ed in 2018 by for­mer Rep. Heath Shuler (D‑N.C.) and James Mur­phy, the nation­al polit­i­cal direc­tor for Don­ald Trump‘s 2016 pres­i­den­tial cam­paign, who co-own the firm via Shuler Fam­i­ly Invest­ments and JLMVA Consulting…the firm will assist the embassy with “con­gres­sion­al liai­son and gov­ern­ment affairs, includ­ing advo­ca­cy before fed­er­al offi­cials in Con­gress and the Exec­u­tive Branch”.

Read the rest here.

The report goes on to iden­ti­fy ISG con­sul­tant Hay­den Rogers as the only per­son reg­is­tered as a for­eign agent on the account for the time being. Between 2013–2015, Rogers worked with Demo­c­ra­t­ic senior sen­a­tor Joe Manchin of West Vir­ginia, who, accord­ing to the report:

…has emerged as one of the most pow­er­ful law­mak­ers in Wash­ing­ton as a cen­trist Demo­c­rat who can cast the decid­ing vote in the 50–50 Sen­ate. The sen­a­tor also serves as chair­man of the Ener­gy and Nat­ur­al Resources Com­mit­tee and sits on the pow­er­ful Armed Ser­vices and Appro­pri­a­tions pan­els, all of which play a role in craft­ing leg­is­la­tion that can impact ener­gy-rich Qatar.

In August 2018, the Wall Street Jour­nal report­ed that dur­ing 2017, the year in which Qatar’s neigh­bor­ing Gulf coun­tries imposed their block­ade, Qatar spent $16.3 mil­lion on lob­by­ing, direct­ly employ­ing 23 lob­by­ing firms. The WSJ also dis­cussed a list of 250 peo­ple iden­ti­fied as influ­en­tial in Pres­i­dent Trump’s orbit who were to be approached. In March 2020, Tablet Mag­a­zine report­ed that some of these efforts were ded­i­cat­ed to bring­ing US Jew­ish lead­ers to speak with Qatari offi­cials on a vis­it to Doha. Tablet Mag­a­zine also referred to a sig­nif­i­cant amount of mon­ey Qatar had poured into local gov­ern­ment, edu­ca­tion­al insti­tu­tions, think tanks, and media across Amer­i­ca, adding that Qatar had already turned much of its ener­gy wealth into an envi­able invest­ment port­fo­lio with sig­nif­i­cant hold­ings through­out the US.

Pre­vi­ous report­ing by the Glob­al Influ­ence Oper­a­tions Report (GIOR) on Qatari lob­by­ing efforts in the US have included:

  • A report from Jan­u­ary 2021 that Qatar has hired a for­mer AIPAC liai­son close to the Biden administration.
  • A report from Decem­ber 2020 that Turkey and Qatar are among the coun­tries vying to secure influ­ence in the incom­ing Biden admin­is­tra­tion, using var­i­ous lobbyists.
  • report from Octo­ber 2020 on what has been described as the ‘unusu­al’ hir­ing of a Demo­c­ra­t­ic lob­by­ing firm by the Qatari gov­ern­ment, after years of attempts to get clos­er to Pres­i­dent Trump and oth­er promi­nent Repub­li­cans. This under the assump­tion that Joe Biden gets elect­ed President.

In August 2015, the Glob­al Mus­lim Broth­er­hood Dai­ly Watch report­ed that the Sheikh Eid Bin Mohammed al-Thani Char­i­ta­ble Foun­da­tion had hired a lawyer and for­mer Chief Coun­sel for the US House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives, Com­mit­tee on the Bud­get, to lob­by in the US on its behalf.