Posts Tagged ‘foreign lobbying’

4 Lobbying Basics From Mark Cowan of Cassidy

Wednesday, November 21st, 2012 by Geoffrey Lyons

MARK COWAN, Senior Executive Vice President for International Business at Cassidy & Associates, also spoke at the Country Promotion Strategies Conference (see previous post). Here are a few of his pointers for ambassadors and embassy personnel seeking to win the support of “relevant stakeholders”:

“Talk to real decision-makers. Avoid uninterested staff” –Whereas an uninterested member may relegate proposals to his staff, an uninterested staff may relegate them to the dust bin.

“Prioritize your issues (key players are always busy)” – Self-evident, but paramount. It may also be suggested that in order to prioritize properly, one must be heedful of the legislative calendar. To have broached climate change in the midst of the health care debate would have been an exercise in extreme naivete.  Hugh Halpern, Republican Staff Director of the House Committee on Rules, has also suggested staying a step ahead of the public eye. Anything congressional leadership is doing publicly has been decided a week prior. For Congress, the annoying adage rings true: “if you’re on time, you’re late.”

“Make your issues look sexy” – A promising issue that fails to galvanize will meet the same fate as one that fails all around. Furthermore, the sexiness of an issue should fit the circumstances. Veteran lobbyists will recall how some of their proposals died in committee because the committee itself wasn’t interested.

“Think American – bridge the gap between U.S. and your country” – Advice particularly relevant to embassies, though also important for any lobbyist advocating international issues. Recall the rhetoric from this past election cycle – “nation building at home,” “the best interests of the United States” – before crafting a proposal. These trite phrases are signals of genuine public sentiment – Washington’s prime mover. Every issue, foreign or domestic, must ultimately be domestic.

For a full version of Cowan’s talking points, email 

Lobbying For Governments That Want To Exist

Monday, November 1st, 2010 by Vbhotla

Often when talking about lobbying in Washington, DC, people’s minds turn to corporations and interest groups – Americans that want to have their voices heard in the capitol and to steer federal policy in what they believe is a better direction.

It certainly is true that major business and large trade and professional organizations comprise the bulk of lobbying clients in DC, due in large part to the important role the federal government has in the commerce and economy of the United States.

But this is not the only influence the federal government has-and businesses are not the only group touched by its decisions. Increasingly over the past half-century, decisions made in Washington have affected people all around the world-something that has motivated foreign nations to want to lobby in DC as well.

Nations small and large, whether they have an expansive embassy in DC (like the United Kingdom) or only a small, sparsely staffed office, have increasingly been signing up with lobbying firms to have their voiced heard in the corridors of power.

Independent Diplomat's FARA filing for the Republic of Somaliland

Possibly the most interesting foreign groups that want to lobby in DC are governments that, well, technically don’texist. One DC-based firm that seeks to give these governments that want to exist a voice is Independent Diplomat, Inc, whose website states their mission as “enabling governments and political groups disadvantaged or marginalized by lack of diplomatic capacity to engage effectively in diplomatic processes.”

They represent, among others:

Such pseudo-governments would want to lobby the United States government both for practical and idealistic reasons. Throughout the world, the United States clearly is in a uniquely powerful position, militarily, economically and diplomatically. These groups seeking international diplomatic recognition know their goals would be much easier to reach with U.S. backing.  But they must also feel that the unique history of the US would make those in power in DC more receptive to the voice of those seeking their independence, democracy, or both.

FARA filings are publicly available. Search the database here: