US media has reported on the continuing increase in Qatari lobbying efforts. According to a Bloomberg report:
April 27, 2021 Qatar is ramping up its lobbying efforts in the U.S., eager to cultivate a closer relationship with the Biden administration and Congress in order to avoid a repeat of 2017, when it was caught off-guard by a Saudi-led boycott in the Persian Gulf. Since January, Qatar has hired seven prominent firms to do lobbying and consulting work in Washington at a combined rate of $186,000 per month, according to Foreign Agent Registration Act documents. At least five of the firms have close ties to Democrats, including links with the House and Senate foreign affairs committees.=
Read the rest here.
The report also cited the following comments by Meshal bin Hamad Al Thani, the Qatari ambassador to the US
- The year 2017 marked a pivotal change for Qatar…Qatar was subjected to an aggressive, vicious campaign and in response we defended ourselves.
- We hired lobbyists to correct factual errors and address the damage the disinformation campaign did to our reputation…Qatar will continue its important work with the United States on issues like Afghanistan, Iraq, Horn of Africa, or assisting in the region
- Now what we are doing is proactively engaging Congress, think tanks, and the media on what Qatar is doing in partnership with United States.
The report details the names and affiliations of Qatar’s lobbyists hired since January 2021, relying on Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA) documents.
Previous reporting by the Global Influence Operations Report (GIOR) on Qatari lobbying efforts in the US has included:
- A report from March 2021 that two advisers to Democratic politicians were hired by Qatar.
- A report from March 2021 that a former aide to a Democratic Senator was registered as a foreign agent on behalf of a lobbying firm hired by Qatar.
- A report from January 2021 that Qatar had hired a former American Israeli Public Action Committee (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.