DATAPOINTS

$603,000

LOBBYING SPEND (2018)

2

LOBBYING/PR FIRMS

13

REGISTERED AGENTS

AL-MONITOR
LOBBYING RANK

#22

Squire Patton Boggs
(for Palestinian Authority's Ministry of Finance and Planning)

Hired: Nov. 2014
2018 fees: $78,000

NEW Registered agent
Kathryn Strohmaier

NEW Terminated agent
Laura Klick

Kathryn Strohmaier, a former senior counsel on the House Financial Services Committee now working as an associate at Squire Patton Boggs, has joined the firm’s Palestine account. Her registration states that she “proposes to assist the PA [Palestinian Authority] in assessing US funding promises to Palestinians to date and help ensure that such US commitments of financial assistance are fulfilled and received by the PA; assist the PA to manage its current bilateral relationship with the US government; and review the Paris Protocol and assist in ensuring proper implementation.”

Laura Klick has stopped working for several Squire Patton Boggs clients, including Palestine, according to a newly released disclosure from late August

Palestinians shut out of US plans for their future

Editor

Julian Pecquet

@JPecquet_ALM

jpecquet@al-monitor.com
bookmark

Julian Pecquet is the Washington Editor for Al-Monitor.

Posted: September 11, 2019

The Palestinians have lost their main conduit to official Washington while the United States pursues a Middle East peace deal without them.

The PLO’s office in the US capital has remained dark for the past 12 months as the Donald Trump administration continues to punish Mahmoud Abbas and his government for refusing to participate in its quixotic diplomatic push. The Palestinians have stood their ground, boycotting this summer’s US-led investment conference in Bahrain that served to introduce a US peace plan that the Palestinians consider to be hopelessly biased in favor of Israel.

The US plan unveiled in Manama envisions a $50 billion investment package for the Palestinian territories and neighboring Arab states that host Palestinian refugees. So far, however, the effort has caused only financial headaches for Ramallah, with Trump’s State Department ending $215 million in annual economic support for the Palestinian Authority (PA) in its pending budget request months after terminating the United States’ annual $365 million contribution to the UN refugee agency for the Palestinians, UNRWA.

Even meager security assistance for the PA is in jeopardy despite support from both the Trump administration and Israel.

The State Department is seeking $35 million for the Palestinian Authority Security Forces, the Ministry of Interior and the Attorney General's Office for the fiscal year that starts Oct. 1. But the PA has so far rejected the aid out of concern that accepting it would open the authority up to lawsuits under a new anti-terrorism law. The House of Representatives adopted amendments to the Anti-Terrorism Clarification Act as part of a military aid package for Israel in July that would disassociate aid provisions from the terror lawsuits, but the Senate has yet to act.

Ironically, the Palestinians’ fortunes have improved slightly on Capitol Hill as a growing number of Democrats seek to counter what they see as a heavy-handed Trump pressure strategy that has badly backfired. As 2020 presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., and a handful of other lawmakers lead an intra-party reassessment of US support for Israel, the House Foreign Affairs Committee in July passed a resolution reaffirming US support for a two-state solution, which is waning among Republicans.

Despite the diplomatic freeze with the United States, Palestinian officials have continued to lobby Washington to avoid economic collapse.

The Palestine Monetary Authority (PMA), the Palestinians’ equivalent of a central bank, paid DLA Piper $525,000 last year to assist with “compliance with anti-money laundering and economic sanctions laws” and strengthen the authority’s relationship with the US government and US correspondent banks. DLA notably scored meetings with top lawmakers and administration officials during PMA Gov. Azzam Shawwa’s visit to Washington in late January, including Reps. Darin LaHood, R-Ill., and Dan Kildee, D-Mich.; staffers for Sens. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., Chris Coons, D-Del., Tim Kaine, D-Va., Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., and Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, and Rep. Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich.; State Department sanctions and law enforcement officials David Peyman and Heather Merritt; and Treasury officials Sigal Mandelker and Jamal el-Hindi.

Separately, the PA’s Ministry of Finance and Planning paid Squire Patton Boggs $78,000 in 2018 for help with the provision of US aid. In the first half of this year, registered agents for the firm met or spoke on the phone with staffers for Sens. Sanders, Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., Tim Kaine, D-Va., and Jack Reed, D-R.I., as well as with staffers for Reps. Eliot Engel, D-N.Y., Nita Lowey, D-N.Y., Mark Pocan, D-Wis., and David Price, D-N.C.

HIGHLIGHTS

Main lobbying firm:
DLA Piper

 

 

$603,000

Total lobbying and PR spending for 2018

 

 

WINS
  • House panel advances two-state resolution
  • Trump seeks security assistance
  • House considers legal fixes to resume US aid
LOSSES
  • US pushes Israeli-friendly peace plan
  • Trump shutters PLO office in Washington
  • State Department ends most Palestinian aid

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