On the heels of signing several high-profile contracts with Glover Park Group and Squire Patton Boggs in September, Saudi Arabia has continued its lobbying push on Capitol Hill, hiring law firm King & Spalding as well as public affairs powerhouse Podesta Group.
King & Spalding is representing Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Commerce and Investment, the body that regulates and develops domestic and foreign trade in Saudi Arabia. King & Spalding is charged with providing MCI advocacy and legal services related to the recent veto override of S.2040, the “Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act,” according to Foreign Agents Registration Act documents filed on September 26.
S.2040 is the recently-passed bill that amends the federal judicial code to allow the families of terrorist attack victims to sue foreign governments. Sponsored by Senators Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and John Cornyn (R-TX), the bill passed both chambers of Congress on September 9 before it was eventually vetoed by President Obama on September 23. The bill made headlines nationwide when Congress overwhelmingly voted to override the President’s decision, marking the first veto override of Obama’s presidency.
Fees and the duration of King & Spalding’s agreement with Saudi Arabia’s MCI are still undetermined, according to FARA documents. King & Spalding maintains an office in Saudi’s capital, Riyadh.
The Saudi Arabian Oil Company, the national oil and natural gas company directed, owned and financed by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, has hired Podesta Group to provide counsel regarding “U.S. policies of concern, activities in Congress and the executive branch, and developments of the U.S. political scene generally,” according to FARA documents filed on September 30.
Podesta will also conduct research and communicate relevant issues (and may conduct meetings) with members of Congress and executive branch officials.
Acting as a third party-client in the agreement, the Saudi Arabian Oil Company is working through international law firm White & Case LLP. The pact, which was inked between Podesta and White & Case, shows services beginning on September 21 and terminating on October 21. White & Case will pay Podesta $30,000 for the month-long campaign in addition to expenses.
Saudi Arabia picked up its Washington spending shortly after the September 9 passage of the “Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act,” with Saudi Arabia’s Royal Embassy quickly hiring Glover Park to provide communications and government relations support on matters related to “general foreign policy,” and as well as “legislative, public policy and media-related activities of interest,” according to FARA registration documents.
Squire Patton Boggs, meanwhile, was picked up on September 19 by the Saudi Royal Court to advise the country on “legal and strategic policy advice and advocacy on foreign and related issues in the U.S. government.”