Levick logo


By banking sector








#17 (tie)

Blank Rome Government Relations
(for Cedrus Bank)

Hired: Nov. 2017
2018 fees: $170,000

NEW Q3 domestic lobbying filing

Cedrus Bank paid Blank Rome Government Relations $20,000 to lobby Congress and the Treasury Department on banking issues and sanctions legislation targeting Iran and Hezbollah.

BGR Government Affairs
(for Privinvest Holding)

Hired: May 2019

NEW Q3 domestic lobbying filing

BGR Government Affairs was paid $150,000 to “serve as a liaison and provide strategic advice and counsel on US policies that could impact” Beirut-based shipbuilding company Privinvest Holding. The firm lobbied both chambers of Congress last quarter.

Ballard Partners
(for Africell Holding)

Hired: Sept. 2019

NEW Q3 domestic lobbying filing

Lebanese telecommunications company Africell Holding paid Ballard Partners $50,000 to advocate for “general government policies related to OPIC investment.” Ballard’s disclosure indicates it did not lobby Congress or federal agencies in the third quarter.Ballard registered to lobby for Africell effective Sept. 30 after previously representing the firm from December 2017 to August 2018. At the time, Ballard lobbied the Overseas Private Investment Corporation, which announced a $100 million loan to Africell in November. Brian Ballard, President Donald Trump’s former Florida lobbyist, Sylvester Lukis and former Assistant Secretary of State for Public Affairs James Rubin are registered to lobby on the account.

DLA Piper
(for the Association of Banks in Lebanon)

Hired: 2012
2018 fees: $620,000

NEW Q3 domestic lobbying filing

Former Rep. Charlie Dent, R-Pa., is now lobbying for the Association of Banks in Lebanon (ABL) via DLA Piper. DLA has five other agents on the account, including former Office of Foreign Assets Control director Richard Newcomb (former Rep. Michael Castle, R-Del., stopped lobbying on the account last quarter). The firm disclosed $50,000 in payments from the ABL in the third quarter. 

Antoine Haddad
(for Lebanese President Michel Aoun)

Hired: June 2019
Contract: 1 Lebanese pound/month ($0.00066)

NEW English contract

Antoine Haddad, a US-based adviser to Lebanese President Michel Aoun, has filed an English version of his contract, which is valued at 1 Lebanese pound ($0.00066) per year. The contract was previously only available in Arabic.

Squire Patton Boggs
(for Fenicia Bank)

Hired: 2016
2018 fees: $20,000

NEW Q3 domestic lobbying filing

Squire Patton Boggs reported lobbying activities on behalf of Beirut-based Fenicia Bank for the first time since the fourth quarter of 2018.

Squire Patton Boggs
(for Al Mawarid Bank)

Hired: 2015
2018 fees: $0

NEW Q3 domestic lobbying filing

Squire Patton Boggs reported lobbying activities on behalf of Al Mawarid Bank for the first time since the second quarter of 2016.

Squire Patton Boggs
(for MEAB Bank)

Hired: 2013
2018 fees: $60,000

NEW Q3 domestic lobbying filing

MEAB Bank paid Patton Boggs $60,000 (down from $110,000 in Q2) to lobby both chambers of Congress, the State Department and the Treasury Department on “international banking laws and regulations, including compliance with US sanctions.” Kathryn Strohmaier, a former senior counsel on the House Financial Services Committee now working as an associate at the firm, and Mitch Berger, a partner at the firm, joined three others on the account while Laura Klick, an associate, left the account.

Squire Patton Boggs
(for Sunrise Estate Development Limited)

Hired: 2015
2018 fees: $0

NEW Q3 domestic lobbying registration

Squire Patton Boggs stopped working for Beirut-based Sunrise Estate Development Limited Sept. 30. The firm has not reported any lobbying activity for the real estate company since the first quarter of 2016.

Squire Patton Boggs
(for Jammal Trust Bank)

Hired: Feb. 2019

NEW Q3 domestic lobbying termination

Squire Patton Boggs stopped working for Lebanon-based Jammal Trust Bank four weeks before the bank was sanctioned by the US government Aug. 29. The firm reported no lobbying activity in the month before it stopped working for the bank. Lobbyists on the account included former Rep. Jack Kingston, R-Ga.

    Blank Rome Government Relations
    • Hired: 2017  
    • Latest Filing  
    • Registered agents

      • Spencer Abraham
        Former Secretary of Energy and Senator (R-Mich.)
      • Jennifer Ellison
      • David Thompson
    • 2018 fees: $170,000
    Ballard Partners
    • Hired: 2019  
    • Latest Filing  
    • Registered agents

      • Brian Ballard
        Florida lobbyist for Trump
      • Sylvester Lukis
      • James Rubin
        Former assistant secretary of state for public affairs

      Other Ballard Partners clients

Lebanon hires US adviser to keep aid flowing despite Hezbollah gains


Julian Pecquet



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

Lebanese President Michel Aoun retained a US-based adviser this year to keep American aid flowing amid a growing backlash following Hezbollah’s gains in last year’s elections. The contract, dated June 12, calls on presidential adviser Antoine Haddad, a Maryland real estate developer, to “promote the continuous financial support of the United States to Lebanon and Lebanese institutions (such as the Lebanese armed forces and the internal security forces), and the economic and justice sectors.”

Haddad will also work to “promote an attractive investment climate, expand trade relations and remove obstacles to trade and investment between Lebanon and the United States.” The contract, which was registered under the Foreign Agents Registration Act, calls for Haddad to be paid one symbolic Lebanese lira — less than one US cent — per month. Haddad is a co-founder of the Lebanese American Council for Democracy along with Lebanon’s ambassador to the United States, Gabriel Issa.

The contract comes as the Treasury Department sanctioned two Lebanese members of parliament for their ties to Hezbollah — Amin Sherri and Muhammad Hasan Rad — along with senior security official Wafiq Safa for the first time in July. A month later, the Treasury doubled down with sanctions on Jammal Trust Bank, dubbing it “Hezbollah’s bank of choice” in a blow to Lebanon’s reputation for combating terrorism financing.

Congress has also stepped in, passing sanctions legislation las year that notably called on the president to present to lawmakers a list of individuals who are members of the Lebanese Parliament and who identify as members of the Iranian-backed Shiite militia-cum-party. The bill from Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., and then-House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce, R-Calif., also calls on the US administration to identify any “significant conduct” that may be grounds for their designation.

The State Department has also begun looking more skeptically at bilateral relations with Lebanon despite a longtime US policy of boosting the Lebanese Armed Forces as a counterweight to Hezbollah. The State Department is seeking $133.2 million in economic and security aid for Lebanon for the coming fiscal year, down 13% over last year’s $152.8 million. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo himself called for a review of US security assistance during his first official appearance before Congress as secretary of state days after the election.

Despite the rhetoric, the Donald Trump administration has continued to equip the Lebanese army with lethal weaponry. Days before last year's elections, the Pentagon notified Congress that it would be providing the Lebanese Armed Forces with trucks and Humvees mounted with .50-caliber machine guns drawn from the Pentagon’s $1.4 billion-a-year global train-and-equip fund. And this year the Trump administration plans to provide the Lebanese military with more than $100 million in upgrades to US-provided tanks and attack helicopters from a separate counter-terrorism fund.

Even as Hezbollah has made gains against Prime Minister Saad Hariri's allies in parliament, last year the Sunni leader tapped his longtime Washington adviser Amal Mudallali to be the country's permanent representative to the United Nations. There she has led the charge that Israel is violating Lebanese sovereignty with the construction of a concrete wall at the border and helped push through a one-year renewal of the UN peacekeeping mission at the border with Israel.

Separately, the nonprofit American Task Force for Lebanon hired Jay Ghazal, a former aide to then-Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Claiborne Pell, D-R.I., in March to lobby Congress and the State Department on foreign aid appropriations for Lebanon. Ghazal and Associates was paid a total of $10,000 before the contract ended in June. Ghazal was also paid $200,000 in 2018 and $100,000 in the first half of 2019 to lobby for Lebanese American University in Beirut, which he has represented since 2012.

Meanwhile, the cash-strapped country's vital financial sector continues its uphill battle to immunize itself from US sanctions on Hezbollah and terrorism lawsuits in US courts. Shortly before being hit by sanctions, Beirut-based Jammal Trust Bank hired Squire Patton Boggs in February, one month after being named along with 10 other Lebanese banks in a lawsuit filed by families of US service members killed or injured in Iraq between 2004 and 2011.

The Middle East and Africa Bank, which was sued along with Jammal Trust Bank, the Association of Banks of Lebanon, IBL Bank, Al-Mawarid Bank, Fenicia Bank and Cedrus Bank, have all retained US lobbyists. All together, the Lebanese banking sector spent $950,000 on US lobbying in 2018 and $450,000 in the first half of 2019, down from $1.27 million in 2017.

In other Lebanese business lobbying, embattled Lebanese shipbuilder Privinvest Holding hired BGR Government Affairs in May to “serve as a liaison and provide strategic advice and counsel on US policies that could impact the client.” BGR was paid $150,000 in the second quarter of 2019 as Privinvest battles allegations of involvement in a debt scandal in Mozambique.

Finally, an Italian businessman who consults for London-based oil company BB Energy Trading hired a former staffer for Rep. Edolphus Towns, D-N.Y., Alexander Beckles, in July to help arrange meetings between Lebanese Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil and members of Congress. Mario LaSala, who is based in Romania, is supposed to pay Virginia-based Alexander J. Beckles LLC $20,000 “to influence the relations between the United States and Lebanon and Lebanon's neighbors.”


Main lobbying firm for banking sector:
Squire Patton Boggs




Total lobbying and PR spending for 2018 (banking sector)



  • State Department still sees Lebanese Armed Forces as bulwark against Hezbollah
  • Pentagon provides Humvees, tanks and helicopters to LAF
  • US embassy in Beirut supports sending refugees back to Syria
  • Treasury Department sanctions parliament members, bank for Hezbollah ties
  • Pompeo calls for assistance review as State Department slashes aid request
  • Lebanese banks hit with new terrorism lawsuit in New York