With David Beavers, Garrett Ross and Daniel Lippman
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SOMALIA HIRES SPG TO FIGHT TRAVEL BAN: Somalia’s government has hired SPG, the self-styled “global private diplomacy” firm run by Robert Stryk, to help get it off the list of countries affected by President Donald Trump’s travel ban. SPG will “assist engagement with the Administration and U.S. Congress to reverse the inclusion of Somalia in the travel ban countries,” according to a filing with the Justice Department. The firm also promised to “facilitate the Federal Government of Somalia’s Head of State visit to the United States and organize meetings with the White House, the National Security Council (‘NSC’), U.S. Government departments and agencies as well as the White House Legislative Affairs Department and U.S. Congress,” according to the disclosure. The contract lasts four months and is worth $100,000 per month, with the full $400,000 fee due up front.
— Here’s another development in the foreign lobbying sphere: BGR Group has switched from lobbying for Saudi Arabia’s royal court to representing its embassy. BGR will give “strategic guidance and counsel with regard to government affairs and public relations activity within the US,” according to a Justice Department filing. “This may include relevant outreach to US government officials, non-governmental organizations, members of the media and other individuals within the US.” The disclosure was filed last week, although the work began in February. The contract is worth $80,000 per month.
HARVARD STAFFER HIRES LOBBYISTS TO FIGHT ‘UNFOUNDED CHARGES’: Sushma Raman, the executive director of Harvard’s Carr Center for Human Rights Policy, has hired Dave Urban of American Continental Group and Stephen Rademaker of Covington & Burling to lobby on her behalf. Both lobbyists are working “to build awareness of and concern about the unfounded charges brought against Sushma Raman in India,” according to disclosure filings. Neither Raman nor her lobbyists responded to requests for comment. But the Hindustan Times reported last year that India’s Central Bureau of Investigation had accused Raman of improperly awarding a grant to an Indian company while working at the Ford Foundation.
— Rademaker started lobbying for Raman on April 27, while Urban started on July 1, according to the disclosures, which were filed last week. Another recent filing shows that Rademaker, a former assistant secretary of State in President George W. Bush’s administration, lobbied Congress, the State Department and the National Security Council on Raman’s behalf during the second quarter. Raman paid Covington & Burling $60,000 in lobbying fees in the second quarter, according to the filing.
TRADE ASSOCIATION TURMOIL: “The Grocery Manufacturers Association is reorganizing and downsizing after losing many of its biggest food industry members over the past year — a process that has included the departure of a majority of the group’s top executives,” POLITICO’s Helena Bottemiller Evich reports. “The association, now under the leadership of new CEO Geoff Freeman, has struggled amid a rapidly changing consumer and policy landscape that has led to sharp disagreement among its member companies over how the industry should proceed on everything from nutrition to mandatory GMO labeling.” Among the prominent members who have left: Campbell Soup Co., Nestlé, Kraft Heinz, Tyson Foods, DowDuPont and Cargill.
— “Beyond creating something of an existential crisis for the association, the exodus of big-name members also reduced the association’s revenue, sources familiar with the situation told POLITICO. Freeman, who took the top job at GMA after having served as CEO of the American Gaming Association, has been on the job roughly three weeks and already slashed the senior leadership team. At least five senior executives were recently let go or nudged into retirement as part of a broader plan to reorganize and cut costs within the association, the sources said.” Full story.
WHEN DONORS RUN FOR OFFICE: Former Sen. Alan Simpson (R-Wyo.) told POLITICO on the eve of the Wyoming primary that the election would be a test of “whether you can really buy a governor’s race.” Turns out you can’t, at least in this case. Mark Gordon, the state treasurer, defeated the Republican megadonor Foster Friess in the race to replace GOP Gov. Matt Mead, who’s term-limited. Trump had given Friess a last-minute endorsement. “Former Sen. Rick Santorum — who benefitted from a Friess-funded super PAC in the 2012 presidential race — [also] backed the megadonor, as did Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) and several prominent national conservative groups,” POLITICO’s Daniel Strauss and Scott Bland report.
— Alison Hawkins joined Wells Fargo’s Washington office on Tuesday as senior vice president for external affairs. She was previously senior vice president for strategy at the Bank Policy Institute.
— Steve Roberts was promoted to partner and Shawn Sheehy was promoted to senior litigation counsel at Holtzman Vogel Josefiak Torchinsky, a prominent Republican campaign finance law firm. Roberts was previously of counsel and Sheehy was previously an associate.
— Brian Johnson is leaving the American Petroleum Institute. He will join the Vogel Group as a principal.
— The biopharmaceutical company UCB has hired Jed Perry as senior director of public policy, based in Washington. He was previously head of U.S. public affairs at Shire, another biopharmaceutical company.
— New Heights Communications has added Josh Cohen as a principal. He was previously a partner at the Pastorum Group.
NEW JOINT FUNDRAISERS
GT Force (Rep. G.T. Thompson, Marty Nothstein, John Chrin, John Joyce, Guy Reschenthaler, Daniel Meuser, Greater Tomorrow Political Action Committee)
Kim Schrier Victory Fund (Washington State Democratic Central Committee, Kim Schrier)
Vukmir Victory Fund (Leah Vukmir, NRSC, Republican Party of Wisconsin)
DLGA PAC (PAC)
Latinos for Trump (PAC)
Our Future Is Black PAC (Super PAC)
The Valley Victory Fund (PAC)
NEW LOBBYING REGISTRATIONS
Bailey Strategic Advisors, LLC: Albertsons Companies, Inc.
Cornerstone Government Affairs, Inc.: The Wonderful Company
Health Policy Source, Inc.: Premise Health
Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough: Tactical Office Solutions
Pavluchuk & Associates: Coalition for Smarter Transportation
Squire Patton Boggs: Appian Corporation
Squire Patton Boggs: Camera Ecuatoriano Americana de Comercio Guayaquil
The Merchant Strategy, Inc.: The City of Atlantis
NEW LOBBYING TERMINATIONS
Atoka International, LLC: Joint Venture of The Morganti Group, Inc. and Infilco Degremont, Inc.
Capitol Tax Partners, LLP: Entertainment Partners
McAllister & Quinn, LLC: National Children’s Alliance
McAllister & Quinn, LLC: Vievu, LLC
Mercury: Sharp Decisions
O’Neill and Associates: Insulet Corporation