A US lobbying watchdog is reporting that Qatar has recently hired several US lobby firms for government and media outreach and communication counseling activities. According to a database by Open Secrets, the Qatari government has hired no less than ten US lobbying and communication agencies to work on its behalf in 2022 alone. According to the database, the following firms have been engaged in 2022:
- Lumen8 Advisors (July)
- BRG Government Affairs (June)
- SGR Government Relations & Lobbying (June)
- Decision Sciences Corp (May)
- Nelson, Mullins, et al (April)
- Becker & Poliakoff (March)
- Blueprint Advisors (March)
- Mercury Public Affairs (February)
- Rubin Turnbull & Assoc (February)
- Venable LLP (January)
The database says these firms were hired either by the Government of Qatar or the Qatari Embassy in the US. In addition, the database lists several Qatari state-linked entities that have also engaged in US lobbying efforts, including the security firm Barzan Holdings, Qatar Museum, the Qatar Foundation, and the Civil Aviation Authority of Qatar. According to Open Secrets, the total amount of Qatari governmental spending on US lobbying has amounted to at least $3.3 million in 2022 to date.
In March, US media reported that Qatar hired Becker & Poliakoff to pursue an influence campaign targeting US Republicans, noting that Qatar “is looking to capitalize on the chillier US-Saudi Arabia relationship since Biden has been in power.” According to a report by Intelligence Online:
March 22, 2022 The Qatari embassy in Washington registered Omar Franco and Chris Berardini of the law firm Becker & Poliakoff on the Department of Justice’s list of foreign agents in March, as Doha pushes forward with its efforts to reconnect with Republican representatives in Congress. […] The Qatari embassy in Washington has hired the services of no fewer than nine consulting firms since Joe Biden moved into the White House in January 2021. […] Qatar’s Emir Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani is looking to capitalise on the chillier US-Saudi Arabia relationship since Biden has been in power (IO, 10/03/21). Qatar has registed 24 of its 34 lobbyists with the DoJ since 2017. In June of that year, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt all received Trump’s seal of approval (IO, 07/06/17). Qatar has doubled its expenditure on Washington lobbyists since then, to a total of close to $10m a year. Doha’s aim is to replace Riyad or Abu Dhabi as Washington’s privileged partner in the Middle East, a diplomatic game that is playing out while the war in Ukraine is at its height
Read the rest here.
The Global Influence Operations Report has extensively reported on Qatar’s growing lobbying efforts in the US.