Barr warns doing business with China could violate FARA

With Theodoric Meyer and Daniel Lippman

FARA FRIDAY: Attorney General William Barr warned in a speech on Thursday that Americans who do business in China should be wary of efforts to “cultivate and coerce” them into promoting the Chinese Communist Party’s objectives — potentially in violation of the Foreign Agents Registration Act. The Justice Department has seen more and more Chinese “officials and their proxies reaching out to corporate leaders and inveighing them to favor policies and actions favored by the Chinese Communist Party,” Barr said in a speech at the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum.


— “America’s corporate leaders might not think of themselves as lobbyists,” Barr said. “You might think, for example, that cultivating a mutually beneficial relationship is just part of the ‘guanxi’ — or system of influential social networks — necessary to do business with [China]. But you should be alert to how you might be used, and how your efforts on behalf of a foreign company or government could implicate the Foreign Agents Registration Act.” More here from POLITICO’s Nahal Toosi.

— Here are a couple of notable recent FARA filings, as part of our occasional Friday roundup: Marshall Harris and Zorica Maric Djordjevic of Alexandria Group International have registered to lobby for the Bulgarian businessman Plamen Stoilov Bobokov, his wife, Hristina Nedyalkova Bobokova, and his brother, Atanas Stoilov Bobokov. Bulgarian National Radio reported in May that the Bobokov brothers were under investigation in connection with an alleged scheme to import waste from Italy.

— The Alexandria Group will lobby Congress and the Trump administration as well as officials in the U.S. embassy in Sofia, Bulgaria, to advance the Bobokovs’ goals regarding their “human rights and civil liberties, as well as the state of and developments regarding the business climate, civil society, corruption, transparency, the judiciary, and the overall rule of law in Bulgaria,” according to a copy of a contract filed with the Justice Department. The six-month contract is worth $130,000.

— And Forbes Tate Partners has registered to represent the U.S. subsidiary of Hydro Québec, the Canadian public utility. The firm will conduct research, “surveys, polling, and message development relating to the foreign principal’s interest in the New England Clean Energy Connect transmission line project,” according to a disclosure filing. The contract, which runs through Nov. 15, is worth up to $329,000. It’s Forbes Tate’s second FARA client; the firm also represents the Japanese government.

Good Friday afternoon, and welcome to PI. I’m pinch-hitting for Theo, who is taking a much deserved day off. He’ll be back Monday, so keep sending those tips: [email protected]. Twitter: @theodoricmeyer. In the meantime, throw me a follow on Twitter: @caitlinoprysko.

JENNER & BLOCK ADDS A GOVERNMENT AFFAIRS ARM: Jenner & Block has hired a team of lawyers and lobbyists specializing in Native American law away from Kilpatrick Townsend Stockton. Robert Harmala, who represented a dozen lobbying clients at Kilpatrick, will be the chairman of Jenner & Block’s new government relations practice. Jenner & Block recently registered to lobby for T-Mobile, but the firm represents only one other lobbying client.

WHAT THE TRAVEL INDUSTRY WANTS IN NEXT RELIEF PACKAGE: U.S. Travel sent a letter today to Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer outlining its asks for the travel industry as Congress crafts its next relief bill amid a new surge of coronavirus cases across the country.

— Among the group’s requests are an extension of the Paycheck Protection Program at least through the end of the year, an expansion of qualification guidelines to include destination marketing organizations, a different loan formula “that accounts for sustained periods of economic interruption,” a long-term relief program “to account for ongoing cycles of shutdowns and re-openings at different times in different parts of the country” and up to $10 billion in grants to promote safe travel practices and a liability shield for businesses.

— The group is also calling for several tax relief provisions, including the creation of a temporary travel tax credit, a tax credit for the “cost of attending or hosting a convention, business meeting, or trade show in the United States,” a tax credit for enhanced cleaning and PPE; an enhanced employee retainment tax credit and an increased food and entertainment business expense deduction.

— U.S. Travel also wants a national coronavirus testing strategy and more emergency assistance for airports.

WHO HIRED PR FIRM AMID TRUMP ATTACKS: “In May, the WHO inked a contract with public relations giant Hill+Knowlton Strategies, an industry leader with offices in more than 40 countries, to develop a blueprint for effective communications in the midst of a modern public health crisis,” reports The Daily Beast’s Lachlan Markay.

— “Hill+Knowlton agreed to provide the WHO with reports detailing the digital media landscape confronting the global health body and the ways in which it might better communicate messages related to its work to combat the coronavirus. The work was scheduled to take place from May 1 through June 15, though it left open the possibility of future consulting on ways to implement its recommendations.” Markay notes that “the firm’s work began a little over two weeks after President Donald Trump announced that the U.S. would halt funding to the WHO over what Trump said were his ‘deep concerns whether America’s generosity has been put to the best use possible.’”

— “The agreement shows the remarkable steps the world’s leading public health group was forced to take to manage perception problems even as it worked to contain a deadly pandemic. The WHO struggled to break through in a frenetic political and media environment as it sought to get critical health information to the public, and simultaneously combat perceptions that it dropped the ball in its response to the coronavirus outbreak.”

AIRLINES OK WITH CLEAN PAYROLL SUPPORT EXTENSION: Airlines for America said Thursday that it would support a clean extension of the payroll assistance included in the CARES Act, but took pains to underscore that the request comes from labor unions, not the industry itself — and that any extension must not contain new strings,” POLITICO’s Brianna Gurciullo reports.

— Pilot, flight attendant and other unions have asked for another $32 billion “for airlines and contractors, and [an extension of] the prohibition on involuntary furloughs until at least March 31” as well as a “ban on stock buybacks and dividends extended until at least the end of March 2022.” The current furlough prohibition is set to expire on Sept. 30. AFA’s support comes as two of the biggest carriers in the country — United Airlines and American Airlines — have warned this month that tens of thousands of cuts might take place at each airline later this year.

Jennifer Coco has joined the National Center for Special Education in Charter Schools as its local policy manager, Morning Education reports. She will lead a portfolio of ongoing special education initiatives in New Orleans. Coco most recently served as founding director of policy and advocacy at New Pathways New Orleans.

Taylor Bennett, former head of public affairs at Lime, is joining DoorDash next week as head of public affairs, per Morning Technology.

Beth Victory Fund (Beth Van Duyne for Congress, Republican Party of Texas, NRCC)

Murphy Action Fund (Rep. Stephanie Murphy, DANG PAC Future Fund, Democratic Executive Committee of Florida)

Victoria Victory Fund (Victoria Spartz for Congress, Indiana Republican State Committee, Inc., NRCC)

Win the Senate 2020 (Jon Ossoff for Senate, Hickenlooper for Colorado, Theresa Greenfield for Iowa, Bollier for Kansas, Mark Kelly for Senate, Cal for NC, Amy McGrath for Senate, Inc., People for Ben, Montanans for Bullock, Jaime Harrison for US Senate)

Build Your Better Future (Super PAC)
Disable the Enablers (Super PAC)
Iowa Values Action (Super PAC)
Locke & Key PAC (Super PAC)
North Florida Future Fund (Super PAC)
The Heartland PAC (Super PAC)

Arent Fox LLP: Semiconductor Industry Association
Becker & Poliakoff, P.A.: NextCity Networks LLC
Becker & Poliakoff, P.A.: NTT DATA, Inc.
Becker & Poliakoff, P.A.: Westchester General Hospital, Inc.
Bracewell LLP: Xferall Capitol Counsel, LLC: PFM Group Consulting
EFB Advocacy, LLC: 501(c) Services
EFB Advocacy, LLC: First Nonprofit
EFB Advocacy, LLC: Ohio Indemnity Company
EFB Advocacy, LLC: The Nonprofit Trust
EFB Advocacy, LLC: Unemployment Services Trust
Forest Hill Consulting: Partnership to Fight Chronic Disease (PFCD)
FTI Government Affairs: Emera Technologies, Inc
Gallant Government & Law Group, LLC: Pahmet LLC
Greenberg Traurig, LLP: Rugged Displays, Inc.
Hobart Hallaway & Quayle Ventures, LLC: Green Dot Corporation
Integrated Strategy Group, LLC: Japan Tobacco International USA, Inc.
K&L Gates LLP: Strategic Vaccines, LLC Toast
Lordstown Motors Corp: Lordstown Motors Corp
Mayer Brown LLP: Ligado Networks
Monument Strategies, LLC: Consumer Choice in Payment Coalition
Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP: Global Patent Solutions
Porter Group, LLC: MIS/Global Defense Electronics, Inc.
Sextons Creek: Argentum Sleep, Inc.: National Sleep Foundation
Steptoe & Johnson LLP: Paradyme Management Inc.
Tarplin, Downs & Young, LLC: Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings
Venable LLP: Marijuana Policy Project

Atlantic Strategies Group: Smiths Detection
Baker Donelson Bearman Caldwell & Berkowitz /The Daschle Group: Greater Madison Chamber of Commerce
Capitol Tax Partners, LLP: National Multifamily Housing Council
Davis & Harman LLP: Genworth Financial Inc
Downs Government Affairs: University of Alaska System
Faegre Drinker Biddle & Reath LLP: Medical Transportation Access Coalition
Faegre Drinker Biddle & Reath LLP: National Psoriasis Foundation
Faegre Drinker Biddle & Reath LLP: National Steel Bridge Alliance
Horizon Government Affairs: Personalized Medicine Coalition
Husch Blackwell Strategies: Delmar DivNE
Husch Blackwell Strategies: Husch Blackwell LLP on Behalf of Coalition of American Specialty Glass Users
Kasowitz Benson Torres LLP: Fisher Footwear LLC
Kasowitz Benson Torres LLP: The Renco Group, Inc.
Keller Partners & Company: Perry Memorial Hospital
Impact Management Group: Henderson State University
Liebman & Associates, Inc.: Lighting Systems Technologies, Inc.
LJ Strategies LLC: National Council for Behavioral Health
Mercury Public Affairs, LLC: EnVen Energy Ventures, LLC
Mercury Public Affairs, LLC: ShipChain, Inc.
Meridian 122 LLC: Orbis Wheels, Inc.
Meyers and Associates: Corpus Christi Regional Transportation Authority
Meyers and Associates: Driscoll Childrens [sic] Hospital
NWG Advocacy LLC: In Defense of Christians
Porter Group, LLC: BT South LLC
Porter Group, LLC: Nevada Institute for Autonomous Systems
Porter Group, LLC: Nevada Test Site Historical Foundation
Porter Group, LLC: Reno-Sparks Convention and Visitors Authority
Potomac International Partners, Inc.: Hyundai Electric & Energy Systems Co., Ltd
Prime Policy Group: Aristotle, Inc.
Prime Policy Group: AT&T
Prime Policy Group: Bemer Group
Strategic Marketing Innovations: Qorvo
The Cormac Group, LLC: Steiner Leisure Limited
The Glover Park Group LLC: Epsilon Data Management, LLC
The Glover Park Group LLC: Fox Corporation
The Glover Park Group LLC: Hemlock Semiconductor Operations, LLC
The Glover Park Group LLC: Sharps Compliance, Inc.
The Glover Park Group LLC: YPF S.A
Turner Pollard Strategies, LLC: General Dynamics
Welsh Rose, LLC: ArcherDX Emergent Strategies: Metrolina Landscaping

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