LOBBYING TRACKER

PRESENTED BY

Levick logo

DATAPOINTS

For AIPAC / AIEF

$4 Million

LOBBYING SPEND (2018)

2

LOBBYING/PR FIRMS

9

REGISTERED AGENTS

AL-MONITOR
LOBBYING RANK

#1

Bridge Public Affairs
(for Israel Chemicals Ltd.)

Hired: Aug. 2019

NEW Q4 domestic lobbying filing

Tel Aviv-based Israel Chemicals paid Bridge Public Affairs $50,000 via First International Resources to lobby Congress and the Executive Office of the President on “issues related to Department of Commerce regulatory efforts regarding imports” as well as tariffs on imports.

Monument Advocacy
(for Anti-Defamation League)

Hired: May 2019

NEW Q4 domestic lobbying filing

The Anti-Defamation League paid Monument Advocacy $50,000 last quarter to lobby Congress and the White House on cyber, technology, free speech and education issues as well as domestic terrorism legislation.

Capitoline Consulting
(for RADA Technologies)

Hired: Nov. 2018
2018 fees: $10,000

NEW Q4 domestic lobbying filing

Tactical radar maker RADA Technologies, the majority of which is owned by Israel-based RADA Electronic Industries, paid Capitoline Consulting $20,000 to lobby Congress and the Department of the Army on defense authorization and appropriations bills and “issues related to tactical radars and Active Protection Systems.”

The Russell Group
(for the Sabra Dipping Company)

Hired: Jan. 2018
2018 fees: $180,000

NEW Q4 domestic lobbying filing

The Sabra Dipping Company, a food company half owned by Israel-based Strauss Group, paid the Russell Group $50,000 to lobby the Agriculture Department and Congress on “matters concerning the wholesomeness and nutritional value of hummus” and child nutrition reauthorization.

Christians United For Israel Action Fund
(in-house)

Registered: 2016
2018 fees: $120,000

NEW Q4 domestic lobbying filing

The Christians United for Israel Action Fund (CUFI) spent $60,000 lobbying Congress to condition aid to Lebanon’s armed forces based on independence from Hezbollah, boost cooperation with Israel and lift the arms embargo on Cyprus while encouraging energy cooperation between the Mediterranean island, Israel, Greece and the United States. CUFI also lobbied the White House regarding President Donald Trump’s executive order on anti-Semitism awareness.

Republican Jewish Coalition
(in-house)

Registered: 2002
2018 fees: $130,000

NEW Q4 domestic lobbying filing

The Republican Jewish Coalition spent $40,000 on in-house lobbying in the fourth quarter. The group lobbied Congress on bills that would: require the Treasury Department to create a list of Iranian oligarchs; oppose the pro-Palestinian boycott, divestment and sanctions movement against Israel; promote Holocaust education; and codify the 10-year, $38 million military aid package with Israel into law. The group also lobbied on bills to codify into law President Donald Trump’s recognition of Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights as well as the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement Implementation Act.

Freeh Sporkin & Sullivan
(for Dan Gertler)

Hired: Oct. 2018

NEW Q4 domestic lobbying filing

Israeli businessman Dan Gertler paid Freeh Sporkin & Sullivan $30,000 to lobby the State Department to remove human rights sanctions against him for allegedly looting Africa’s mineral wealth. Registered agents on the account include former FBI Director Louis Freeh and Alan Dershowitz, a member of President Donald Trump’s impeachment team.

Zionist Organization of America
(in-house)

2018 fees: $200,000

NEW Q4 domestic lobbying filing

The Zionist Organization of America spent $50,000 to lobby Congress and the Department of Education on support for US-Israeli “political, military and economic cooperation,” measures to “prevent Iran from achieving a military nuclear capability” and fighting anti-Semitism, notably on US campuses.

Signal Group Consulting
(for GetSat Communication)

Hired: June 2019

NEW Q4 domestic lobbying filing

Signal Group Consulting stopped lobbying for Israel-based satellite company GetSAT Communication on Oct. 1. The firm was hired effective June 8 and disclosed $20,000 in payments in 2019 to lobby the Defense Department regarding “business development within the executive branch.” Retired Army Lt. Col. Paul “Ted” Anderson, managing director of the National Security Practice at the Signal Group, was the only registered lobbyist on the account.

Covington & Burling
(for Psagot Winery)

Hired: Sept. 2019

NEW Q4 domestic lobbying filing
NEW Registered lobbyists
Former Rep. Howard Berman
Layth Elhassani

A lobbying firm working for an Israeli winery linked to the biggest donors to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has brought on an ex-congressman and a former Barack Obama administration official to fight against pending European labeling regulations for West Bank products.
 
Former Democratic Rep. Howard Berman of California and former White House Office of Legislative Affairs special assistant Layth Elhassani have joined Covington & Burling’s account with the Psagot Winery in the West Bank. The firm was paid $130,000 in the fourth quarter of 2019 to lobby Congress, the Office of the US Trade Representative and the State Department regarding “proposed EU food and wine labeling regulations” after the European Court of Justice ruled that products made in Jewish settlements in the West Bank cannot be labeled as originating in Israel.

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

      • Jeffrey Colman
      • Marvin Feuer
      • Michael Fleischman
      • David Gillette
      • Enia Krivine
      • Ester Kurz
      • Samuel Peyton
      • Deborah Saxon
    • 2018 fees: $3.5 million
    In-house lobbying
    • Latest Filing  
    • Registered agents

      • Moran Banai
      • Michael Lieberman
      • Erika Moritsugu
      • David Weinberg
    • 2018 fees: $155,000
    Monument Advocacy
    • Hired: 2019  
    • Latest Filing  
    • Registered agents

      • Kimberly Ellis
      • Anderson Heiman
      • Joseph Hoefer
      • Stacey Hutchinson
      • Andrew Howell
      • Ashley Hoy
      • Kate Mills
      • John Mulligan
      • C. Stewart Verdery Jr.
    In-house lobbying
    • Registered: 2008  
    • Latest Filing  
    • Registered agents

      • Jackie Blank
      • Kyle Fradkin
      • Ashley Freiberger
      • Hannah Morris
      • Debra Shushan
      • Dylan Williams
    • 2018 fees: $400,000
    In-house lobbying
    • 2018 fees: $200,000
    The Kar-Mar Company (CBRNE Response Solutions)
    terminated August 2, 2019
    Teva Pharmaceuticals USA
    • Hired: 2002  
    • Registered agents

      • Dolly Judge
      • Colman Ragan
    • 2018 fees: $2,610,000
    Holland and Knight
    Polsinelli PC
    The Russell Group
    • Hired: 2018  
    • Latest Filing  
    • Registered agents

      • Randy Russell
        President
      • Samantha Buchalter
      • Andrew Harker
      • Tyson Redpath
      • Jessica Schulken
      • Karla Thieman
    • 2018 fees: $180,000
    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
      • Dennis Potter
      • Daniel Ritter
        Partner
      • W. Dennis Stephens
      • Steven Valentine
        Former Deputy Assistant Attorney General
      • James Walsh
        Former congressman
    McHugh LeMay Associates
    terminated December 31, 2019
    Republic Consulting
    terminated April 1, 2019
    • Hired: 2018  
    • No currently registered agents

    ML Strategies
    • Hired: 2019  
    • Registered agents

      • Frank Guinta
        Former congressman, R-N.H.
      • Alex Hecht
      • Aaron Josephson

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
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