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”.
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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.
- A 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.