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Wednesday, October 20, 2021

Qatar bolsters Washington lobbying efforts to mend ‘misinformation’ damage


Since the beginning of 2021, Qatar has continued to anchor its presence in Washington via lobbying and consulting efforts. 

A recent report published by Bloomberg revealed that Qatar has ramped up its lobbying efforts in Washington, DC, a move the Gulf state says is designed to undo years of damage caused by a misinformation campaign.

According to Bloomberg, Qatar has contracted seven prominent law firms since January to advocate for the Gulf country’s interests in Washington at a combined monthly rate of $186,000 to “cultivate a closer relationship with the Biden administration and Congress”.

At least five of these firms have close ties to Democrats, including links with the House and Senate foreign affairs committees.

In March, Politico reported that the Qatari Embassy in Washington hired Empire Consulting Group’s Mike McKay and Eulice Brandon Garrett, both former US foreign policy and military officials, to represent Qatar in Washington for $40,000 per month.

This has been among Qatar’s efforts to bolster its lobbying network since 2017, when Saudi Arabia, UAE, Bahrain and Egypt severed diplomatic, trade and transport ties with Doha.

Read also: Qatar buys Washington-based Carnegie institute HQ: reports

In an interview with Bloomberg, Qatar’s ambassador to the US, Sheikh Meshal bin Hamad Al Thani said Qatar “hired lobbyists to correct factual errors and address the damage the disinformation campaign did to our reputation.”

Al Thani added that lobbying efforts in the US capital was a defensive strategy for Qatar against “an aggressive, vicious campaign.”

According to Bloomberg, Qatar’s lobbying efforts may also support a variety of other interests, including its hosting of the 2022 World Cup as well as continued defence purchases from the US.

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