LOBBYING TRACKER

PRESENTED BY

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DATAPOINTS

$0

LOBBYING SPEND (2018)

3

LOBBYING/PR FIRMS

22

REGISTERED AGENTS

AL-MONITOR
LOBBYING RANK

#10 (tie)

Mercury Public Affairs
For office of the Prime Minister

Hired: April 2019
Contract: $2 million/year

NEW Informational materials

Mercury Public Affairs distributed a Foreign Policy article on congressional pushback against the Donald Trump administration’s plans to reduce the US troop presence in Africa. The article was distributed on behalf of Libya’s UN-backed Government of National Accord in Tripoli, which seeks US help pushing back against the Russian-backed forces of eastern commander Khalifa Hifter.

Prime Policy Group
For office of the Deputy Prime Minister

Hired: May 2019
2018 fees: pro bono

NEW Termination

Prime Policy Group ended its pro bono representation of Libya’s UN-backed Government of National Accord “by verbal agreement” Feb. 26. The firm signed on in early May to help introduce Deputy Prime Minister Ahmed Maiteeq to officials in Congress and the Donald Trump administration soon after eastern strongman Khalifa Hifter launched his military campaign against Tripoli. During Maiteeq’s visit to Washington in early June, Prime organized meetings with Sens. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C.; Todd Young, R-Ind.; Rep. Steve Chabot, R-Ohio; State Department Director of Maghreb Affairs Josh Harris; and the offices of Sens. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., and Ben Cardin, D-Md. Prime also disclosed that it had stopped representing the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus Sept. 30.

Linden Government Solutions
(for Libyan National Army)

Hired: May 2019

NEW Q4 domestic lobbying filing

Houston-based Linden Government Solutions received $250,000 from eastern Libyan strongman Khalifa Hifter’s self-proclaimed Libyan National Army in the fourth quarter of 2019. The firm lobbied the State Department on “US-Libya relations.”

Sanitas International
(for Libya Institute for Advanced Studies / Aref Ali Nayed)

Hired: Sept. 2019

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

Sanitas International reported no lobbying-related fees or activities for the Libya Institute for Advanced Studies since Sept. 1. A Sanitas representative told Al-Monitor that its work for LIAS, which is run by former Libyan Ambassador to the United Arab Emirates Aref Ali Nayed, is pro-bono.

Yorktown Solutions
(for Libyan United Democratic Party/Hassan Tatanaki)

Hired: April 2019
2018 fees: $0

NEW Supplemental
(June 1, 2019 – Nov. 30, 2019)
Fees: $180,000

Yorktown Solutions, which works for Libyan businessman Hassan Tatanaki’s Libyan United Democratic Party, was paid $180,000 by the party in the six-month period ending Nov. 30, 2019. The firm’s lobbyists notably met with Tom Hill, a senior program officer for North Africa at the US Institute of Peace; Karim Mezran, a resident senior fellow at the Atlantic Council; and Ryan Doherty, a Democratic staffer on the House Foreign Affairs Committee’s Middle East panel. They also emailed Robert O’Brien, then the special presidential envoy for hostage affairs (who has since become US President Donald Trump’s national security adviser) as well as his then-deputy  Julia Nesheiwat, as well as Stephanie Williams, the UN Deputy Special Representative for Political Affairs in Libya.

Gotham Government Relations
(for Government of National Accord)

Hired: Sept. 2019
Contract: $1.5 million

NEW Contract

Libya's Government of National Accord hired Gotham Government Relations to lobby the executive branch and work on reports on “human rights violation and crimes against Libyan civilians.” The firm will be paid $1.5 million for the one-year contract; Brad Gerstman (who was involved in Trump’s 2015 announcement that he would run for president) and Shai Franklin will lobby on the contract. Gerstman and Franklin also lobby for Libya's $67 billion sovereign wealth fund, which is controlled by the GNA, through the Gerstman Schwartz law firm.

Mayer Brown
(for Tri-Star International Trading / Mustafa Eteer)

Hired: June 2018
2018 fees: $50,000

NEW Supplemental (termination filing)
(Feb. 1, 2019 – July 31, 2019)

Fees: None
Meetings: None

Mayer Brown stopped working for Libya’s Tri-Star International Trading on Feb. 1. Tri-Star, a company owned by Libyan poultry mogul Mustafa Eteer, hired Mayer Brown in June 2018 for $50,000 to provide “advice and assistance in connection with developments in the country of Libya regarding the formation of a democratic government.”

Libyan rivals take their fight to Washington

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

Libya’s warring governments have taken their battle for control of Tripoli to the US capital.

Both the UN-recognized Government of National Accord and strongman Khalifa Hifter’s self-proclaimed Libyan National Army (LNA) inked $2 million annual lobbying contracts this spring to seek US support. The dueling campaigns come amid mixed messages from the Donald Trump administration, with the president appearing to endorse Hifter’s assault on the Libyan capital even as his own State Department continues to support Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj and advocate for a political settlement.

The Sarraj government kicked off the latest lobbying spree in late April when it hired Mercury Public Affairs less than a week after Trump was widely reported as giving a green light to the attack on Tripoli in an April 19 phone call with Hifter. The firm has devoted no fewer than 19 registered foreign agents to the account, including former Sen. David Vitter, R-La., former Rep. Joe Garcia, D-Fla., and Bryan Lanza, who served as deputy communications director for Trump’s 2016 campaign.

Separately, the Tripoli government’s Libyan Investment Authority hired New York law firm Gerstman Schwartz last month to lobby the US Treasury Department and the US delegation to the United Nations — and potentially the State Department and Congress — to help retrieve frozen assets. About $50 billion worth of Libyan assets remain frozen under UN sanctions.

Within a month of being hired, Mercury had scored meetings with seven members of the House Foreign Affairs and Armed Services committees as well as with Sens. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, and 2020 presidential candidate Cory Booker, D-N.J. Vitter in particular helped arrange a late April phone call between Graham, a stalwart Trump ally on Capitol Hill, and Sarraj after which the US senator publicly called on the administration to “lead the political reconciliation process and firmly reject any effort – by any party — for a military takeover.”

Ibrahim Sahad, a Sarraj ally on Libya’s consultative Higher State Council, told Al-Monitor during a May visit to Washington that a key ask was for the United States to step in to stop the flow of arms and fighters from Arab countries such as the United Arab Emirates in a bid to slow Hifter’s momentum. In a win for Tripoli, House lawmakers included language in their annual defense authorization bill calling on the president to provide a detailed US strategy for Libya and an accounting of foreign military intervention in the conflict.

Mercury also helped organize media interviews for Deputy Prime Minister Ahmed Maiteeq during his visit to Washington in early May. Maiteeq has separately retained the services of Prime Policy Group, pro bono, which has registered a dozen foreign agents on the account including former Rep. John Tanner, D-Tenn.

Hifter’s army responded in kind a month later, striking a $2 million deal with Texas-based Linden Government Solutions. The five registered agents on the account are tasked with providing “strategic consulting services, advice, planning, coordinating meetings with business, government and non-government representatives and public relations services in support of the [LNA’s] diplomatic goals.”

Meanwhile, on June 30, the Hifter-aligned eastern government out of Tobruk parted ways with former Israeli arms dealer Ari Ben-Menashe and his Canada-based Dickens & Madson after hiring him for a flat $6 million fee three years ago to help create “a national unity government acceptable to the foreign principal.” In a twist, Ben-Menashe had been mining those contacts as part of a $6 million June deal with Sudan’s military junta that notably aims to swap Libyan funding for Sudanese “military help” for the LNA. The abrupt termination followed a failed attempt to set up a meeting between Hifter and Sarraj in Russia, according to Dickens & Madson’s latest public filing.

As if things weren’t complicated enough, two other Libyan political players have registered to lobby the United States for their own interests.

Hassan Tatanaki, a Libyan oil tycoon with ties to both Hifter and the family of deposed dictator Moammar Gadhafi, hired Yorktown Solutions in November 2018 for $30,000 per month to represent his Libyan United Democratic Party and push for new elections. The firm is run by Daniel Vajdich, a former Senate Foreign Relations Committee staffer and adviser to the 2http://islamic016 presidential campaign of Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, who previously lobbied on behalf of Ukrainian interests.

And chicken magnate and Michigan resident Mustafa Eteer hired law firm Mayer Brown in June 2018 via his Tri Star International Trading Co. for a fixed fee of $50,000 to lobby Congress and the Trump administration “regarding the formation of a democratic government in Libya.” Former Rep. Toby Moffett, D-Conn., is representing Eteer, who has argued for delaying the elections initially planned for December 2018.

HIGHLIGHTS

Main lobbying firm for GNA:
Mercury Public Affairs

 

 

$0

Total lobbying and PR spending by GNA for 2018

 

 

WINS
  • UN report denounces foreign support for Hifter
  • White House aides press for end to attacks in Hifter meeting
  • Ex-Hifter lobbyist probed by UN
LOSSES
  • US meeting with strongman Hifter lends him legitimacy
  • Rogue army launches lobbying countermove
  • US fails to rein in Egypt, UAE support for Hifter

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UN investigating ex-Libya lobbyist over Sudanese troop deployment

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: December 17, 2019

The United Nations is investigating whether a Canada-based lobbyist contributed to instability in war-wracked Libya by helping provide hundreds of Sudanese paramilitary forces to help warlord Khalifa Hifter’s assault on Tripoli.

In its latest report to the Security Council, the UN panel of experts on Libya estimates that 1,000 members of Sudan’s Rapid Support Forces were deployed to assist Hifter’s self-proclaimed Libyan National Army on July 25. The Rapid Support Forces answer to Gen. Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo, also known as Hemeti, the vice chairman of Sudan’s civilian-military government.

“The initial plan was that the Sudanese troops would guard critical national infrastructure, thereby freeing up [Hifter’s] troops for offensive operations,” the UN panel said. The Libyan National Army, which the UN report refers to as the Hifter Armed Forces, has been attacking the UN-backed Government of National Accord since April.

The report goes on to raise concerns about the role of Ari Ben-Menashe, a former Israeli military intelligence official who heads the Montreal-based Dickens & Madson lobbying firm.

Ben-Menashe signed a $6 million deal with Dagalo in May to lobby the United States and other countries for “funding and equipment.” At the time Dagalo headed the military junta that briefly took over leadership of the country after toppling dictator Omar al-Bashir.

In exchange, the Sudanese were expected to provide unspecified “military help” for Hifter’s forces. Libya has been under an international arms embargo since 2011. Ottawa has asked police to investigate whether the contract violates Canadian sanctions laws against providing arms or related technical assistance to Sudan.

The UN panel wrote that it has yet to establish if the Rapid Support Forces’  deployment was the result of Libyan National Army funds sent to the “Transitional Council of Sudan or directly to Gen. Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo, as a result of the activities of Dickens & Madson.” The panel said it was continuing to investigate whether Dickens & Madson played a direct role in the initial Rapid Support Forces’ deployment.

At the time of the deal with Sudan, Dickens & Madson was still lobbying for Libya’s Hifter-aligned eastern government, a contract it had held since 2015. The contract was terminated June 30.

Ben-Menashe told Al-Monitor that the Sudanese troops fighting in Libya were drawn from forces that had previously been sent to fight the Houthis in Yemen under the command of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE). He said countries fighting in that conflict were the ones who sent the Sudanese fighters to fight in Libya and that neither he nor Dagalo were responsible. The UN report cites the UAE as a key military supporter of Hifter along with Egypt and Jordan.

“We had nothing to do with [the Sudanese deployment],” Ben-Menashe said. He said any promised help to Sudan under the contract would only have come after sanctions were lifted.

He added that he had shared what he knows with UN panel expert Adrian Wilkinson at a meeting in London a couple of months ago. Wilkinson did not respond to a reply for comment.

“What we have been doing is trying to get a civilian government going in Sudan,” Ben-Menashe said. “We succeeded in moving Sudan in the right direction. I think I deserve a medal — and we as a company deserve a lot of appreciation for what we did.”