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Qatar Hires The Fourth Lobbying Firm This Year

March 31st, 2021 13:43

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.
  • 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.