LOBBYING TRACKER

PRESENTED BY

DATAPOINTS

For AIPAC / AIEF

$4 Million

LOBBYING SPEND (2018)

2

LOBBYING/PR FIRMS

8

REGISTERED AGENTS

AL-MONITOR
LOBBYING RANK

#1

Jewish Agency for Israel - American Section

Registered: 2013

NEW Supplemental
(Nov. 1, 2019 – April 30, 2020)

NEW Registered foreign agent
Lior Nagola

The Jewish Agency for Israel American Section received $3.75 million and spent $2.36 million in the six-month period ending April 30. Lior Nagola has registered as the organization’s director of operations and logistics.

Zionist Advocacy Center
(for International Legal Forum)

Hired: May 2019

NEW Informational materials

New York employment lawyer David Abrams has disclosed the complaint he sent to the Internal Revenue Service seeking to cancel the tax-exempt status of the Wespac Foundation. According to the complaint, the foundation acts as the “fiscal sponsor for numerous anti-Zionist organizations all over the United States.” Abrams runs the Zionist Advocacy Center and is a foreign agent for the Israel-funded International Legal Forum.

Mercury Public Affairs
(for Q Cyber Technologies)

Hired: Dec. 2019
Contract: $1.4 million/year

NEW Informational materials

For Israeli spyware company Q Cyber, Mercury pushed back against claims that a company claiming to be the North American branch of the NSO Group — which is linked to Q Cyber — pitched its hacking tools to US police. The firm also issued a statement on a court in Ghana sentencing ex-government officials for purchasing spyware from the company.

Rivendell Group
(for EarlySense)

Hired: March 2020

NEW Domestic lobbying registration

The US office of Israeli medical device maker EarlySense hired the Rivendell Group law firm to work on the “education of policymakers about EarlySense's continuous patient monitoring solutions and how it can assist in COVID-19 efforts.” The registration was effective March 16.

Kasowitz Benson Torres
(for Claroty)

Hired: Feb. 2019
2019 fees: $100,000

NEW Q1 domestic lobbying filing (termination)

Kasowitz Benson Torres stopped lobbying for the US subsidiary of Israeli cybersecurity company Claroty on March 31. Claroty paid the firm $100,000 in lobbying fees in 2019.

MWW Group
(for Israel Ministry of Tourism)

Hired: 2017
2018 fees: $440,000

NEW Supplemental
(Oct. 1, 2019 – March 31, 2020)

Israel’s Tourism Ministry paid MWW $280,000 in the six-month period ending March 31. The company wrote in a filing that it conducted “media relations” and “strategic communications counseling related to US public relations.” The firm also noted that it sent “travel pitches” and “press trip invitations,” and had a $240,000 budget for its work for the ministry.

Consultants Matthew Frappier and Stephen Macias stopped working on MWW’s account with Israel’s Tourism Ministry in March and February, respectively.

Emanuel & Associates
(for Israel Aerospace Industries North America)

Hired: Jan. 2018

NEW Q1 domestic lobbying filing

Emanuel & Associates was paid less than $5,000 by the US subsidiary of Israel Aerospace Industries. The firm lobbied Congress and the Defense Department on the Arrow missile defense program.

Freeh Sporkin & Sullivan
(for Dan Gertler)

Hired: Oct. 2018

NEW Q1 domestic lobbying filing

Ex-FBI director Louis Freeh’s firm, Freeh Sporkin & Sullivan, was paid $30,000 in the first quarter to lobby the Treasury Department and State Department for sanctioned Israeli billionaire Dan Gertler. Freeh lobbies on the account, as does Alan Dershowitz, a high-profile confidant and defender of US President Donald Trump.

Zionist Organization of America
(in-house)

2019 fees: $200,000

NEW Related news

The right-wing Zionist Organization of America managed to delay former Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society chair Dianne Lob’s appointment as the next chair of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations until 2021. ZOA spent $200,000 on in-house lobbying last year; the group lobbied Congress and the Department of Education.

Christians United For Israel Action Fund
(in-house)

Registered: 2016
2018 fees: $120,000

NEW Q1 domestic lobbying filing

The Christians United For Israel Action Fund spent $58,000 on in-house lobbying Congress on legislation that would provide $3.3 billion in annual aid to Israel, legislation sanctioning Turkey for its offensive in Syria and acquisition of a Russian S-400 air defense system, and a bill expanding programming by the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.

  • 2018 total: 40 trips; $443,000
    In-house lobbying
    • Registered: 2003  
    • Latest Filing  
    • Registered agents

      • Alex Bronzo
      • Jeffrey Colman
      • Marvin Feuer
      • Michael Fleischman
      • David Gillette
      • Enia Krivine
      • Ester Kurz
      • Joshua Nason
      • Samuel Peyton
      • Deborah Saxon
    • 2019 fees: $3 million
    In-house lobbying
    • 2019 fees: $200,000
    Monument Advocacy
    terminated December 31, 2019
    • 2019 fees: $140,000
    In-house lobbying
    • Registered: 2008  
    • Latest Filing  
    • Registered agents

      • Jackie Blank
      • Kyle Fradkin
      • Ashley Freiberger
      • Hannah Morris
      • Debra Shushan
      • Dylan Williams
    • 2019 fees: $400,000
    In-house lobbying
    • 2019 fees: $200,000
    The Kar-Mar Company (CBRNE Response Solutions)
    terminated August 2, 2019
    The Russell Group
    • Hired: 2018  
    • Latest Filing  
    • Registered agents

      • Samantha Buchalter
      • Andrew Harker
      • Tyson Redpath
      • Randy Russell
        President
      • Jessica Schulken
      • Karla Thieman
    • 2019 fees: $200,000
    K&L Gates
    • Hired: 2018  
    • Latest Filing  
    • Registered agents

      • Mary Baker
      • Dan Crowley
        Partner
      • Barton Gordon
        Former Congressman
      • Slade Gorton
        Former senator
      • Roderick Hall
      • Scott Nelson
      • Kathleen Nicholas
      • Dennis Potter
      • Daniel Ritter
        Partner
      • W. Dennis Stephens
      • Steven Valentine
        Former Deputy Assistant Attorney General
      • James Walsh
        Former congressman
    • 2019 fees: $10,000
    McHugh LeMay Associates
    terminated December 31, 2019
    • 2019 fees: $20,000
    Republic Consulting
    terminated April 1, 2019
    • Hired: 2018  
    • No currently registered agents

    • 2019 fees: $15,000
    ML Strategies
    • 2019 fees: $40,000
    Rivendell Group
    • Hired: 2020  
    • Registered agents

      • Matthew Berzok
      • Nick Kolovos

Trump’s gifts to Israel come at cost

Editor

Julian Pecquet

@JPecquet_ALM

jpecquet@al-monitor.com
bookmark

Julian Pecquet is the Editor of Special Projects for Al-Monitor, where he supervises the award-winning Lobbying Tracker as well as managing long-form stories. Before that he covered the US Congress for Al-Monitor. Prior to joining Al-Monitor, Pecquet led global affairs coverage for the political newspaper The Hill.

Posted: September 11, 2019

The Israeli government got everything it wanted and more from President Donald Trump in 2019.

The bill may come due in 2020.

After delighting Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his own Christian base with his Jerusalem move in 2017, Trump doubled down this year. He recognized Israeli sovereignty over the occupied Golan Heights in March, while turning the screws on Iran and punishing the Palestinians for refusing to participate in his Middle East peace plan.

“Over the years, Israel has been blessed to have many friends who’ve sat in the Oval Office,” Netanyahu told Trump at the White House signing of the Golan Heights proclamation. “But Israel has never had a better friend than you.”

The cozy relationship between the two leaders has delighted right-wing pro-Israel groups, some of which actively advocate for American Jews to break with the Democratic Party as it wrestles with the rise of pro-Palestinian voices in its ranks. Jewish voters remain strongly opposed to Trump (only 26% have a favorable view, according to a June poll of 1,006 adult American Jews from the American Jewish Committee), but are slightly more willing to give him credit for improving US-Israel relations (36% agree versus 59% who disagree).

“For those who care about Israel, the position of many elected Democrats has become anti-Israel,” the Republican Jewish Coalition wrote in a series of tweets defending Trump’s Aug. 20 comments calling American Jews who vote for Democrats “disloyal.”

The liberal J Street group has responded in kind, raising money for its 2020 presidential campaign fund with stickers that read “Disloyal to tyrants, to bigots, to Trump.”

But the increasingly naked partisanship is causing an existential crisis for traditional pro-Israel advocacy groups — and growing concerns within Netanyahu’s government itself.

"We must not intervene in the political disagreements in the United States,” Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz told Reshet Bet Radio when asked about Trump's statement. “We keep good relations with both the Democrats and Republicans, and we must continue to do so.”

That’s long been the mantra of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee. The largest US pro-Israel issue advocacy organization ($3.5 million in lobbying spending in 2018) owes its unrivaled reputation for success to its deep connections with lawmakers on both sides of the aisle bolstered by periodic trips to Israel conducted by its sister organization, the American Israel Education Foundation ($443,000 in 2018 for 40 trips by lawmakers and staff). When Reps. Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich., and Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., tried to organize an alternative trip to the occupied West Bank this year, AIPAC criticized Netanyahu’s government for denying them access, tweeting that “every member of Congress should be able to visit and experience our democratic ally Israel firsthand.”

With US taxpayers shelling out $3.8 billion in annual military aid to Israel — a fifth of the country’s defense budget — even Democrats critical of the two Muslim congresswomen’s stance in favor of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement have rallied to their defense. Their treatment has also prompted 2020 candidate Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., to renew his call to condition aid to Israel.

The deepening partisan rift has forced AIPAC and others to carefully calibrate their lobbying, while cutting into their success rate. On the Golan Heights issue, the group has defended Trump’s decision but tellingly declined to lobby for Republican-only House and Senate bills that would codify it into law. AIPAC has also struggled to pass one of its top priorities, legislation bolstering state-level anti-BDS laws, which remains stuck in the Democrat-controlled House amid free-speech concerns.

HIGHLIGHTS

Main lobby:
AIPAC

 

 

$4 million

Total lobbying spending by AIPAC/AIEF for 2018

 

 

WINS
  • Pompeo says settlements not illegal under international law
  • Trump designates Jewish students a protected class
  • US keeps up ‘maximum pressure’ on Iran
LOSSES
  • Trump exacerbates partisanship over Israel
  • House reaffirms support for two-state solution
  • 2020 candidates seek to condition US military aid

  • Trip: June 6, 2018 to June 14, 2018
    1 staffer; $6,000
  • Trip: Aug. 2, 2019 to Aug. 11, 2019
    11 staffers; $73,000
  • Trip: April 27, 2018 to May 5, 2018
    7 staffers; $26,000
  • Trip: Feb. 15, 2020 to Feb. 21, 2020
    2 staffers; $7,600
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