US media is reporting that Qatar has hired yet another lobbying firm, the fourth new firm to sign with the embassy this year. According to a Politico report:
March 26, 2021 The Qatari Embassy continues its hiring spree that began at the beginning of this year. Earlier this month the embassy hired Empire Consulting Group’s Mike McKay and Eulice Brandon Garrett to represent the gulf nation in Washington for $40,000 per month, according to a contract filed with the Justice Department. McKay is a former senior adviser to new House Foreign Affairs Chair Gregory Meeks (D‑N.Y.), while Garrett previously worked for Rep. Robin Kelly (D‑Ill.), new HUD Secretary Marcia Fudge, and as a policy director and political adviser to then-Vice President Joe Biden during the 2012 reelection.
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In August 2018, the Wall Street Journal reported that during 2017, the year in which Qatar’s neighboring Gulf countries imposed a blockade, Qatar spent $16.3 million on lobbying, directly employing 23 lobbying firms. The WSJ also identified 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 U.S. Jewish leaders on a visit to Doha to speak with Qatari officials. 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 U.S.
Previous reporting by the Global Influence Operations Report (GIOR) on Qatari lobbying efforts in the US has included:
- A report from March 2021 that Hayden Rogers, who previously worked with Democratic senior senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia, was registered as a foreign agent on behalf of the Integrated Strategy Group (ISG), hired by Qatar.
- A report from January 2021 that Qatar had hired a former AIPAC liaison close to the Biden administration.
- A report from December 2020 that Turkey and Qatar were 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.