Eurasianet.org on February 10 published a report by Joshua Kucera who says that while Georgia leads all countries in the Caucasus and Central Asia in the money spent on lobbying in DC, Azerbaijan’s efforts have, thus far, been ineffective.
“Azerbaijan, after spending most of 2009 and 2010 without a lobbyist, signed a contract in December 2010 with Patton Boggs. The contract filed with the Justice Department gives little indication of what specific issues Baku is interested in, only that the company’s activities ‘will include counseling and assisting [Azerbaijan] with regard to US-Azerbaijan bilateral relations,’” reported Kucera.
“Under previous lobbying contracts, however, Azerbaijan appeared especially interested in its image in the United States. In 2007, lobbyists with the Livingston Group had 91 contacts with US congressional officials on a resolution that called on Azerbaijan to ‘immediately release’ Farhad Aliyev and Rafiq Aliyev, who were imprisoned after allegedly plotting a coup, but whose case attracted the attention of international human rights groups. (The legislation was never voted on),” added Eurasianet.org.
“Lobbyists for Azerbaijan also worked in early 2009 to get members of Congress to commemorate the 1992 Khojaly massacre during the Nagorno-Karabakh war. The effort appeared to have some small effect: at least one member of Congress, Ed Whitfield, a Republican from Kentucky, formally recognized the anniversary of the Khojaly events in the Congressional record three days after meeting with a lobbyist from the Livingston Group on the subject,” added Kucera.
Read Joshua Kucera’s entire piece here.