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RussiaFebruary 28 2022, 11:30 am

US Lobby Firms Deserting Their Russian Clients

US media is report­ing that due to Rus­si­a’s inva­sion of Ukraine, many US lob­by­ing firms are rush­ing to cut ties with their Russ­ian clients. Accord­ing to a CNN report:

Feb­ru­ary 26, 2022 In the years lead­ing up to Rus­si­a’s attack on Ukraine, US lob­by­ists have raked in mil­lions of dol­lars from Russ­ian banks and finan­cial firms pay­ing to push their inter­ests in Wash­ing­ton. Now, in the wake of the Russ­ian inva­sion and new sanc­tions announced by Pres­i­dent Joe Biden, many of those lob­by­ing firms are rush­ing to cut ties and drop their lucra­tive con­tracts. At least six lob­by­ing firms that pre­vi­ous­ly rep­re­sent­ed now-sanc­tioned Russ­ian banks and com­pa­nies tied to a Russ­ian nat­ur­al gas pipeline ter­mi­nat­ed their con­tracts or rep­re­sen­ta­tion this week, accord­ing to state­ments and fed­er­al lob­by­ing dis­clo­sures. The exo­dus marks the rup­ture of a Moscow-to-K-Street con­duit that has long employed for­mer fed­er­al offi­cials and mem­bers of Con­gress of both par­ties, experts said. “For any­body that’s rep­re­sent­ing a Russ­ian enti­ty in Wash­ing­ton, DC, it’s an uphill climb… that has just got­ten a lot steep­er,” said Ben­jamin Free­man, a research fel­low at the Quin­cy Insti­tute for Respon­si­ble State­craft, a for­eign pol­i­cy think tank, who has writ­ten a book on for­eign influ­ence. “It’s going to be hard to find a sym­pa­thet­ic ear for any of these Russ­ian clients on the Hill right now.” Sanc­tions announced by US Pres­i­dent Joe Biden tar­get VTB Bank PJSC. Pho­tog­ra­ph­er: Andrey Rudakov/Bloomberg via Get­ty Images Sanc­tions announced by US Pres­i­dent Joe Biden tar­get VTB Bank PJSC. Pho­tog­ra­ph­er: Andrey Rudakov/Bloomberg via Get­ty Images Some of the banks Biden tar­get­ed with sanc­tions, includ­ing VTB, Rus­si­a’s sec­ond-largest, were put under “full block­ing” sanc­tions, which freeze orga­ni­za­tions’ US assets and pro­hib­it them from doing busi­ness in the coun­try. That means it would be ille­gal for lob­by­ists to work for them unless they receive a license from the Trea­sury Depart­ment, accord­ing to legal experts.

Read the rest here.

The Glob­al Influ­ence Oper­a­tions Report (GIOR) report­ed ear­li­er this month that Rus­sia was pour­ing mil­lions of dol­lars into for­eign influ­ence and lob­by­ing oper­a­tions tar­get­ing the US as the con­flict with Ukraine was escalating.

 

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