Saudi Arabia is in the market for a better reputation in Washington, D.C.
In September alone, foreign lobbying disclosure documents show the Saudi government signing deals with PR powerhouse Edelman and lobbying leviathan the Podesta Group, according to recent disclosures. Edelman, the largest privately owned public relations agency in the world, is known for helping clients win favorable media coverage on mainstream outlets. The Podesta Group is a lobbying firm founded by Tony Podesta, a major fundraiser for the Hillary Clinton presidential campaign.
The new signings are the latest in a year-long hiring spree by the Persian Gulf state as it further builds up its already formidable political arsenal inside the Beltway. The Saudi Arabian Royal Embassy did not respond to a request for comment. In March, the Saudi Royal Embassy retained two influential lobbying firms, DLA Piper and Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman. DLA Piper, for instance, employs a small army of former government officials, including retired U.S. Sens. Saxby Chambliss and George Mitchell. Also in March, the embassy retained two firms that specialize in analyzing big data for political clients, Targeted Victory and Zignal Labs.
Saudi Arabia’s political operation already includes former Sen. Norm Coleman, R-Minn., who chairs one of the largest Republican Super PACs in the country, as well as the public relations firm MSLGROUP/Qorvis, and Saudi Aramco, the state-owned oil company that funds several influential American political groups, including the American Petroleum Institute. Aramco’s U.S. subsidiary, Saudi Refining, is a registered agent of the Saudi government. The government also finances a number of think tanks and universities, and has made contributions to prominent American nonprofits, including the Clinton Foundation.
The Podesta Group contract is with the Center for Studies and Media Affairs at the Saudi Royal Court. The contract, filed in the Justice Department’s foreign lobbying database, says that the firm will provide “public relations” work for the center.
Saudi Arabia Hires Edelman & The Podesta Group
Recently released FARA documents from the United States Justice Department indicate that the world’s largest Public Relations agency, Edelman – as well as lobbying behemoth The Podesta Group – have been hired by Saudi Arabian interests to further their American interests in media and government.
Richard Edelman’s PR Firm, Edelman PR, has long had close relations with the Saudi Kingdom, including ongoing representation of the Embassy to enhance, “the Kingdom’s interests among key groups within the world body and to U.N. observers.”
The Podesta Group – owned by Tony Podesta, whose brother John Podesta is Chairman of the 2016 Hillary Clinton presidential campaign – was hired for a $200,000 public relations engagement with the Center for Studies and Media Affairs at the Saudi Royal Court.
The Podesta Group specializes in global advocacy and strategic communications. Offering their top-level bipartisan support to organizations, governments, and individuals, earning them a title bestowed by Bloomberg Businessweek as the “Beltway Blackbelt.” They bring decades worth of experience calling on 535 members globally to give clients an e-ticket ride of focused boutique and data-driven results.
In Saudi Arabia, we have over 20 legal staff operating from offices in Riyadh, Jeddah and Al Khobar and provide the full range of legal services under the trading name DLA Piper Saudi Arabia. DLA Piper Saudi Arabia is the trading name of the association between Dr Eyad Reda and DLA Piper Middle East LLP, a part of DLA Piper, operating through various separate and distinct legal entities. — SG
Saudi Arabia is spending millions of dollars on American Public Relations firms to spin. And their spin doctors are working overtime after the execution of Shiite leader Sheik Nimr Baqr al-Nimr, followed by the severance of ties with Iran.
The Saudis spend millions for years on public relations – it has been reported they spent over $100 million from 2000 to 2010 on American propaganda.
Today, DC PR Agency Qorvis Communications who works as a PR agency for Saudi Arabia since shortly after 9/11 (which spent millions after 15 of the 19 bombers were found to have been Saudis) billed $7 Million Dollars to the Kingdom during the most recent billing period. They have arranged meetings for Saudi leaders — including Salman bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud, who was appointed to the Saudi throne in January – with American government
Qorvis Communications, operating as a PR agency for Saudi Arabia since shortly after 9/11, continues their efforts to show only the best, so much so they recently doubled their usual invoice for the most current billing period ($7 million) from the previous one. Qorvis has been very busy, putting U.S. government leaders and officials in touch with members of the Saudi royal family, including Salman bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud, who was appointed to the Saudi throne in January. And their efforts have been bipartisan.
As The Intercept notes, a number of people have been hired by the Saudi government with positions of influence into the U.S. government including:
The brother of Hilary Clinton’s campaign manager hired at the Saudi Embassy.
Ignacio Sanchez, a top fundraiser for Jeb Bush.
The leader of the largest super PAC (Republican) in the country.
A law firm deeply tied to the Obama administration.
They’ve lobbied various think tank members and officials at companies like Lockheed Martin, General Electric and many other prominent and influential American business people.
In addition to Qorvis, Saudi Arabia works with a lobbyist from the law firm Hogan Lovells (H.P. Goldfield) and vice chairman of Albright Stonebridge Group. But it doesn’t end there. They also employ other PR and lobbying firms, including Edelman, DLA Piper, Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman, and the Podesta Group. Also, firms such as Tuluna USA, American Directions Group, and Zignal Labs have been employed to do surveys on public opinion of Saudi Arabia in the U.S. and to analyze the information from a big data perspective.
The world’s largest PR firm, Edelman PR is tasked with the assignment of promoting, “the Kingdom’s interests among key groups within the world body and to U.N. observers.” Others in the PR business who work for the Saudis include Hill & Knowlton (since 1982), and other “active foreign principals for Saudi Arabia” on the FARA website include DLA Piper, Targeted Victory, Pillsbury Winthrop, Hogan Lovells, and the Podesta Group.
According to a federal lobbying filing Edelman Worldwide is working on a variety of assignments for the Saudis from December 19, 2012 through the end of 2013 – with tasks including development and production of brochures, book development/giveaways, video production, and more. And just 2 weeks ago, the International Public Relations Association (IPRA) hosted “The 4th Public Relations Forum” in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.
Qorvis/MSL Targets Digital Push for Saudi Arabia
By Kevin McCauley
Qorvis/MSLGroup has farmed out a chuck of digital work for Saudi Arabia to Targeted Victory, the Republican consulting firm in Alexandria, Va.
Qorvis/MSL, which has been Saudi Arabia’s “go-to” PR shop since the days following the 9/11 terror attacks, will pay Targeted Victory a $40K monthly fee for online content/management and social media activities. Michael Beach, one-time national victory director for the Republican National Committee, and Zac Moffatt, digital director for the Romney for President Campaign, co-founded Targeted Victory.
Qorvis/MSL also has lined up Zignal Laboratories, Big Data/analytics shop, for a $15K monthly contract to gauge Saudi Arabia’s digital effort. Josh Ginsburg, who was political director for former California Governor Arnold Schwarznegger and field director for Romney’s presidential run, helms Zignal Labs.
Law firm that is affiliated with Khan who appeared at DNC onstage. https://www.hoganlovells.com/en/locations/riyadh
Hogan Lovells operates in Saudi Arabia through an association with The Law Office of Montaser Al-Mohammed (AYALA) and has seconded several lawyers to AYALA’s offices in Riyadh and Jeddah.
Hogan Lovells LLP, another U.S. firm hired by the Saudis, is registered to work for the Royal Embassy of Saudi Arabia through 2016, disclosures show. Robert Kyle, a lobbyist from the firm, has bundled $50,850 for Clinton’s campaign.
https://judaengelmayer.org/author/judaengelmayer/page/4/ 5W PR another Jewsih agency out of New York provides PR for Saudi Arabia as reported by the EverythingPR website.
Excerpt: About Juda Engelmayer
Juda Engelmayer oversees the Corporate Communications/Public Affairs/Crisis Communications groups for 5WPR, 1 of the 25 largest PR agencies in the U.S. He directs a team whose efforts are put to task for business, political, advocacy, and policy relates issues, as well as for individuals in national and international arenas. At 5WPR, he publicly campaigns for clients, directing promotion and positioning, and handles issues of public discourse on corporate, financial, personal and philanthropy related matters.
Bahrain in the last 12 months has hired at least ten public relations companies since last year. Yes, you read it right – ten – including Qorvis, the Washington company hired by Saudi Arabia to salvage that kingdom’s reputation abroad after the 9/11 terrorist attack. The regime of Bahrain, which tortures its own citizens, has an awful human rights record and doesn’t recognize the existence of Israel, also hired Joe Trippi, former campaign manager for Howard Dean’s 2004 presidential bid, and Sanitas International, whose partner Christopher Harvin is a former Bush White House aide.
Several organizations connected to the kingdom play an active role in policy debates. Khalid Alnaji, a registered agent of the Saudi government and president of the US subsidiary of the Saudi Arabian national oil company ARAMCO, sits on the board of the American Petroleum Institute, the powerful lobby group that funds several conservative nonprofits and sponsors election-season television advertisements. On September 17, the former Ambassador Robert Ford, a senior fellow at the Middle East Institute, testified before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on the need to arm Syrian rebel groups.
Throughout the years, Saudi Arabia has retained numerous law and lobbying firms to influence American public opinion and policy.
The contract to work with Coleman was registered in July through Hogan Lovells, a law firm where Coleman has worked since 2011, after being defeated in his re-election campaign in 2008.
In addition to Hogan Lovells, the Saudi government counts several other firms, including Squire Patton Boggs and Qorvis-MSLGROUP, as part of its lobbying operation.
Other interesting links related to the Saudi PR issue:
https://efile.fara.gov/pls/apex/f?p=171:130:11292657494922::NO::P130_CNTRY:SA Active foreign companies working for Saudi Arabia have been removed from the DOJ website.
My two cents on this kind of PR:
The American people have to turn the establishment media off.
That is the only real answer. They have to turn to new alternatives for information. No one is going to be held to account for 9/11 and support for terrorists in Syria and elsewhere at this point…….ever, unfortunately, not under the current system. The establishment media are part and parcel of the Deep State. Six corporations control the US media and collude with the Deep State on the intentional deception. They have no desire to expose their own crimes or those of US corporations and the government. Its bad for business and their personal agenda and interests. Right now their agenda is boiling us like frogs when it comes to Russia. If the American people continue to want to be fed propaganda and be lied to then they will continue to being manipulated, robbed and led to war on behalf of terror states like Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the global elite. Simple as that. The real question is how are the American people going to continue to approach this problem?
We really need a nationwide boycott of the MSM as well as the breakup of those 6 media corps with all new regulations that follow the Fairness Doctrine. We need a new focus on responsible reporting. Consortium News is an excellent news outlet that should be encouraged as an example of how to report fairly, accurately and properly if we are going to break through the sellout media that is in bed with corrupt entities.
Wikileaks- Podesta email release highlights Clinton team discussing lobbying via foreign agents and decision making regarding accepting of various foreign donations. Note that Podesta was on point soliciting money from Gulf states.