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

Freeh Sporkin & Sullivan
(for Dan Gertler)

Hired: Oct. 2018

NEW Registered agent
Gregory Paw

Former federal prosecutor Gregory Paw has joined Freeh Sporkin and Sullivan’s lobbying campaign to lift US human rights sanctions on Israeli billionaire Dan Gertler, who is accused of looting Africa’s mineral wealth. Paw joins civil liberties lawyer turned Donald Trump confidant Alan Dershowitz, former FBI Director Louis Freeh and lawyer Gary Apfel on the account.

Zionist Advocacy Center
(for International Legal Forum)

Hired: May 2019

NEW Informational materials

The Israeli government-funded International Legal Forum and its US agent, the New York-based Zionist Advocacy Center, sent letters to Diners Club International and JCB International Credit Card in May threatening legal action for providing financial services to a terrorism-linked Palestinian organization, according to newly disclosed lobbying filings. The letters say the two companies allowed the Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network or Samidoun, to use its services for a fundraising campaign. The letters accuse Samidoun of links to the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine and Hezbollah, both of which are US-designated terrorist groups. The US Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Illinois is copied on the letter to Diners Club. The International Legal Forum and the Zionist Advocacy Center successfully petitioned online payment services Donorbox, Plaid and PayPal to shut down services to Samidoun back in May. Neither Diners Club nor JCB responded to requests for comment.

Covington & Burling
(for Psagot Winery)

Hired: Sept. 2019

NEW Q3 domestic lobbying filing

The West Bank-based Psagot Winery paid Covington & Burling $10,000 to fight the European Union on labeling requirements for Israeli settlements. The law firm registered to lobby for the winery, which is linked to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s biggest donors, effective Sept. 27.

Signal Group Consulting
(for GetSat Communication)

Hired: June 2019

NEW Domestic lobbying filings

Washington-based Signal Group Consulting this week filed back-to-back quarterly disclosures for its work on behalf of Israeli satellite communications firm GetSat Communication. Signal was paid $10,000 in both the second and third quarters to lobby the Defense Department on “business development within the executive branch.” Retired Army Lt. Col. Paul “Ted” Anderson, managing director of the National Security Practice at the Signal Group, is the only registered lobbyist on the account, which went into effect in June.

Herrick Feinstein
(for Israel's ministry of tourism)

Hired: Oct. 2018

NEW Foreign lobbying registration

New York law firm Herrick Feinstein is providing space rent-free to the Israeli Ministry of Tourism for a tourism event. 

Emanuel & Associates
(for Israel Aerospace Industries North America)

Hired: Jan. 2018

NEW Q3 domestic lobbying filing

Fees: less than $5,000

Emanuel & Associates reported less than $5,000 in lobbying income from Israel Aerospace Industries North America. The firm lobbied Congress and the Defense Department regarding the Arrow Missile Defense Program and the Iron Dome radar.

Americans for Peace Now
(in-house)

2018 fees: $80,000

NEW Q3 domestic lobbying filing

Spending: $20,000

Americans for Peace Now spent $20,000 lobbying on Israel- and Iran-related bills, including congressional resolutions supporting a two-state solution and opposing the pro-Palestinian BDS movement as well as Palestinian aid provisions in the pending foreign aid bills.

MWW Group
(for Israel Ministry of Tourism)

Hired: 2017
2018 fees: $440,000

NEW Supplemental
(April 1, 2019 – Sept. 30, 2019)

NEW Terminated foreign agents
Erika Satler
Ashlee White

Fees: $200,000

Israel’s Tourism Ministry paid MWW Group $200,000 in the six-month period ending Sept. 30. Consultants Ashlee White and Erika Satler stopped working for MWW Group and its contract with Israel’s Tourism Ministry in March and April, respectively. The Justice Department’s FARA unit said White never registered as a foreign agent for the firm; MWW did not respond to a request for comment.

Christians United For Israel Action Fund
(in-house)

Registered: 2016
2018 fees: $120,000

NEW Q3 domestic lobbying filing (amendment)

The Christians United for Israel Action Fund amended its third-quarter lobbying filing to say that it spent $60,000 — double what was previously reported — and did not lobby on The Strengthening America's Security in the Middle East Act of 2019.

Sidley Austin
(for Israel)

Hired: 1991
2018 fees: $204,000

NEW Supplemental
(April 1, 2019 – Sept. 30, 2019)

Law firm Sidley Austin, which works for Israel, received nearly $10,000 from the country for legal work.

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

      • Jeffrey Colman
      • Marvin Feuer
      • Michael Fleischman
      • David Gillette
      • Brad Gordon
      • 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
    • 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
    McHugh LeMay Associates
    • Hired: 2019  
    • Registered agents

      • Anne LeMay
      • John McHugh
        Former Congressman (R-N.Y.) and Army Secretary
    Republic Consulting
    terminated April 1, 2019
    • Hired: 2018  
    • No currently registered agents

    Bridge Public Affairs
    • Hired: 2019  
    • Registered agents

      • John Goetz
      • Todd Womack
        President and CEO
    Freeh Sporkin & Sullivan
    • Hired: 2018  
    • Registered agents

      • Gary Apfel
      • Alan Dershowitz
      • Louis Freeh
        Former FBI director
      • Gregory Paw

      Other Freeh Sporkin & Sullivan clients

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
  • Trump recognizes Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights
  • Kushner-led diplomacy seen as largely biased toward Israel
  • US dials up ‘maximum pressure’ on Iran
LOSSES
  • Trump seeks to turn Israel into a partisan issue
  • Democrats decry travel ban on Muslim congresswomen
  • 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
    7 staffers; $47,000
  • Trip: April 27, 2018 to May 5, 2018
    7 staffers; $26,000
fy-2019-us-aid-request-for-israelus-bilateral-aid-to-israel
major-proposed-arms-sales-to-israel