Ethiopia spends $1.8 million, a year, for lobbying on one of firms it retains.
(kichuu) – Ethiopia has hired SGR LLC Government Relations and Lobbying firm to lobby on behalf of the Ethiopian government to U.S. policy makers, congress, the media and business leaders.
According to the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA) database seen by nazret.com, Ethiopian government will pay $150,000 per month for the said service. The agreement was signed last month by Ethiopian Ambassador to the U.S., Girma Biru (Signed as Girma Geda) and Greg Lowman, a partner at the lobbying firm. Scroll down to see the document below.
The agreement signed says “SGR will work with the client to develop and execute a public affairs plan to enhance the dialogue and relationships with policymakers, media, opinion leaders and business leaders”. It is not clear if this includes paying for ‘opinion leaders’ to write favorable commentaries in major newspapers in the United States.
Ethiopia is not new to lobbying the U.S. government, according to Newsweek, it wrote in 2010 that Ethiopia’s lobbying had helped to defuse charges that the government has turned increasingly authoritarian. In a memo sent to congressional offices, DLA Piper, which represented Ethiopia then, argued, “The terms ‘political prisoners’ and ‘prisoners of conscience’ are undefined and mischaracterize the situation in Ethiopia,” and should be removed from a bill that condemned the Ethiopian regime for detaining opposition activists.
What is FARA?
According to Sunlight Foundation, in 1938, Congress passed the Foreign Agents Registration Act, which requires those working on behalf of a foreign government or a quasi-government agency to disclose information about their activities. Congress passed the act as a response to the Nazi propaganda that was entering the United States during World War II, and was supposed to give members of Congress and the American people more knowledge about foreign interests trying to influence U.S. politics.
FARA requires that someone register with the Department of Justice within 10 days of agreeing to be an agent. Then that individual must file reports every six months detailing their activities.