The US $ 110M lobby bill – Stabroek News

A record $ 100M was spent by the People’s Progressive / Civic Party (PPP / C) and a growing group of diaspora allies in New York, on lobbying critical American support in the run-up to the ambitious March 2, 2020 elections and during the five-month crisis of democracy that followed.

Data collected by the independent, not-for-profit watchdog in Washington, the Center for Responsive Politics (CRP), shows that the ruling party has now paid US $ 253 557 in 2019 to the consulting firm Mercury Public Affairs. Another US $ 49 965 went to Mercury before it expired in early July 2020 from a signed March 5, 2019 agreement, a full year ahead of closely contested Guyana polls, by PPP / C Executive Secretary Zulfikar Mustapha and Chief Officer The company’s executive, Kieran Mahoney, a highly regarded political strategist.

The terms of reference included previously representing Free-dom House, and arranging meetings with the Executive Branch and US Congress, Organization of American States (OAS), and think tanks in relation to general issues and expected regional. elections. The deal was up to June 5, 2019, but had to be substantially extended well into this year, since President David Granger-organized, who was the subject of great anger, refused to resign, after passing surprise of the no confidence motion in December 2018 enabled by the single crossing vote by the then APNU + AFC Member of Parliament, Charrandass Persaud.

In one particularly conscientious package of “information material” registered in October 2019 by Mercury with the FARA Unit of the Department of Counter-Intelligence and Export Control (CES) in the National Security Division the lobbying agent wrote: “The APNU has (PNC) has a history of rigging elections over the years and perhaps trying to do it again ”predicting that it will“ never hold free and fair elections without international pressure and international election observers. ”

Mercury highlighted that since Guyana borders Venezuela, Mr. Granger’s refusal to maintain the rule of law threatens to further destabilize the region and erode U.S. efforts to promote democracy in the region. This would threaten America’s strategic and economic interests, such as ExxonMobil’s discovery of the over 6 billion barrels of offshore oil and gas at the time. “There are about 270,000 Guyanese living in the United States and violence and instability in Guyana will force Guyanese to emigrate and join families in the US,” argued Mercury.

A Mercury backer noted “Guyana is a poor country, but its new oil wealth could bring more corruption, drug trafficking and people affecting US interests if a legitimate environment is not established and supported.” FARA is the Foreign Agents Registration Act under the US Department of Justice which enforces periodic public disclosure, including activities, receipts and payments by certain foreign heads agents.

The total payment out of Freedom House was approximately US $ 303 000 or $ 63M equivalent (estimated $ 1US = $ 209). But during the second quarter it became apparent that the administration of the holder of A Partnership for National Unity + Alliance for Change (APNU + AFC) was increasing attempts to illegally hold power in the wake of a heavily publicized vote rigging vote in the Guyana Elections Commission ( GECOM).

This was of increasing concern to the Liberty Avenue-ally of the PPP / C, the International Center for Democracy (ICD) which included a team of poll observers and witnessed the early derailment of the Region Four tabulation process. Galvanizing its donors and mostly troubled members of the large Indo-Guyanese immigrant community in Queens, the non-governmental organization set up a Go-Fund Me account “Friends of Guyana for Democracy and Freedom” in January 2019. Up to four months ago it had raised US $ 40 273 through small individual contributions such as US $ 100. Yet in the second quarter of this year it quickly entered into an expensive deal with another American lobbying organization in a renewed attempt to gather authoritative support for the displacement of the APNU + AFC dissatisfied.

Cormac Group hired, handing an initial US $ 100 000 and then US $ 70 000 more in the third quarter. The two outlays of up to $ 35.53M in local currency would take the minimum known PPP / C and ICD spending on official US lobbying covering the election, to a staggering $ 98.857M. Only weeks after the Guyana vote, at the end of last March, a desperate APNU + AFC coalition brought its own JJ&B American outfit for US $ 50 000 (about $ 10.45M), giving the company’s partner, Bart, an utterly impossible brief Fisher, who failed to increase enough U.S. support for the scary alliance to remain at the helm, despite knowing she had lost the election.

The hefty bill makes the closely contested national and regional opinion polls even more historic, as easy as the country’s most expensive, considering the estimated hundreds of millions in other election-related expenses after ‘ u rack up heavy undisclosed campaigning and steep legal fees plus allowable costs, accrued by the PPP / C and its long-time opponent, the APNU’s dominant party, the People’s National Congress (PNC) as’ The couple fought all the way to the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) and back.

Documents on the CRP’s award-winning research website,, including mandatory reports filed with the US Senate Public Record Office, show that ICD funding went to Cormac’s Jonathan Slade and Jose Cardenas but the “various issues” were the pair lobby. House of Representatives and Parliament on behalf of the NGO under the so-called “US-Guyana relations” which meant engaging top officials on the electoral crisis.

Mr Slade, a Cormac Democrat, would write an opinion editorial criticizing APNU + AFC’s “grabbing power” in late July following a pro-APNU piece by Mr Fisher. Mr. Slade, who digitally signed a $ 100 000 US Senate submission on July 16 2020, filed US $ 70 000 on October 20 2020, is a veteran in the business, having been a Washington office Director and a figure leading another business. lobbying groups such as MWW and the Keefe Company. Serving as an adjunct professor to the Graduate School of Political Management at George Washington University, he taught courses on State and local lobbying and advanced lobbying strategies.

A conservative, right-wing pundit, Mr. Cardenas, former USAID Acting Assistant Administrator for Latin America and the Caribbean, and appointed to the National Security Council under President George W. Bush, held a virtual publicity meeting in June widespread here and in the region, warning Guyana’s “troubled” situation, he paved the way to impose U.S. sanctions and place restrictions on the country’s growing oil reserves in the US Federal Reserve if the people’s will was not be respected. Cormac Group was hired by 45 other clients in 2020, for a total of US $ 2,960,000, reveals.

A third lobbyist, former US House of Representative staff member Thomas Kahn, docked behind the scenes for the ICD representing “Guyanese-American relations.” The Congress online files show that he received US $ 5 000 for his troubles, but the amount does not pop up on the Center for Responsive Politics’ radar as filing for such smaller amounts is not mandatory. Add this to a $ 98.857M PPP / C and ICD joint spend on official US lobbying and climbs to $ 98.961M. With the $ 10.45M handed over by the APNU + AFC, the known American lobby spending tab from Guyana’s two main political entities is soaring to nearly $ 110M ($ 109.307M) according to figures provided by the CRP . The CRP tracks money in US politics and its impact on elections and public policy.

Former President Bharrat Jagdeo delivered the keynote address at the launch of the ICD in Howard Beach in July 2017, with several elected officials including Guyanese-born Brooklyn member of New York Senate Roxanne Persaud, Senator James Sanders and ‘ Jamaican-born Assemblyman Nick Perry, in attendance. . “If there’s time to find out what democracy is, now is the time,” Senator Sanders declared, Caribbean Life reported. “Tonight, we’re showing the world we’re taking democracy back,” Senator Persaud added. Mr Perry acknowledged “the very high goals of the ICD not only for Guyana, but also for my small country (Jamaica), and in particular what is going to happen to our democracy in this country (USA).”

Meanwhile, with another razor-thin Parliamentary majority, Guyana is locked in a dual political battle and ongoing power especially now, to manage the much-awaited revenue from the deep-sea oil discoveries off our rich coastline. So all that $ 110M in cash went to just three foreign private companies but the true sources of most of the funds forwarded remain alarmingly unclear, as well as the many lingering questions who are these wealthy donors and have they been rewarded with positions and influence in the Irfaan-Ali Government.

Spending patterns could mark the shadow start of an extremely expensive era of dark money, in the future of the uncertain elections of this polarizing Republic, more akin to the deep-pocket politeness that plays out daily in the United States of America, but especially every four years.

ID thinks of the quote from American businessman, Arizona Democrat Fred DuVal: “Dark money has turned our elections into auctions.”