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In 2018, Morocco spent $1.7 million on lobbying in the United States

The official listing of lobbying expenses in the United States reveals that Morocco spent $1.7 million in 2018 on the practice. Algeria, however, has mysteriously disappeared from the list.

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US Congress building. / Ph. DR

To influence the actions and policies of decision-makers in the United States, Morocco spent $1.7 million on lobbying in 2018, the Center for Responsive Politics (CRP) reveals. According to this non-profit research group which tracks the effects of money and lobbying on election and public policy in the US, the Moroccan government dedicated $1,305,000 to lobbying in 2018 while non-government parties from Morocco spent $414,923 on the same practice during the same period.

Data provided by CRP for 2018 shows that the amount of money spent by the Kingdom on lobbying was lower than in the previous year, which was recorded at $1.8 million. However, it is worth mentioning that a significant change has been noted in the way Morocco engages funds into lobbying activities. Indeed, in 2017, the Moroccan government’s contribution was way lower than in 2018 : only $239,800 were spent on lobbying in 2017 against more than $1.3 million in 2018.

Morocco and Qatar, both clients of a common lobbyist

One of the latest lobbying actions conducted by Morocco in 2018 was assigned to the Glover Park Group (GPG), an American communications consulting firm headquartered in Washington. This action dates back to December 12, when Democrats at the House of Representatives were refusing to include Western Sahara within the scope of the aid granted to Morocco.

The document, a copy of which was sent to the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA), praises the Kingdom’s contribution to the war against terrorism and recalls that it spent billions of dollars on purchasing American weapons.

The contract, signed in January 2018 by the Moroccan Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Glover Park Group (GPG), will come to an end in July 2019.

Also in 2018, another operator, Iron Bridge Strategies, received $120,000 from the Kingdom, CRP says. The emirate of Qatar is also a customer of IBS, paying $125,000 during the same period.

No information on Algeria

Strangely, CRP did not provide any figures on Algeria's lobbying spending in the United States in 2018. In fact, the agency has not updated its data on the Eastern neighbor. Only one figure remains, relating to a $421,000-sum dating back to 2017.

Yet last November, the Algerian government recruited the company Keene Consulting Services, headed by David Keene, deemed close to the Republican Party and conservative circles, under a one-year pact worth $360,000. An amount that should be, supposedly, on FARA's records.

Since signing the contract, KCS has not remained idle. In January 2018, it helped former Foreign Minister Abdelkader Messahel lead a conference on «The Algerian experience in the fight against terrorism and the stabilization of the region» at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, based in Washington, DC, another conservative think-tank known for its ties to Israel.

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