Lobbyists and consultants are highlighting their ties to the incoming president, which have become lucrative, writes New York Times. As Joseph R. Biden Jr. accumulated the votes necessary to become the next president, representatives from countries and companies around the world began scrambling to secure representation from well-connected Democrats like Mr. Lockhart. Manny Ortiz, a Democratic lobbyist with ties to the party’s congressional leaders, said he received a string of inquiries from representatives for foreign governments — including Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Turkey — that had previously focused on strengthening ties to President Trump.
Perhaps the most abrupt shift is in foreign lobbying, as governments around the world face the need to build connections to an administration whose policies and approach to diplomacy will be very different from Mr. Trump’s.
Over the past four years, staying on Washington’s good side no longer required as much attention to building coalitions in Congress or slow but steady work with cabinet agencies.
Foreign governments believed they could offset human rights concerns or even possible sanctions, tariffs and prosecutions by buttering up Mr. Trump or hiring lobbyists who could arrange access to him or his team at the president’s club in Florida, Mar-a-Lago, the Trump International Hotel in Washington or other places disconnected from the normal diplomatic channels.
Now, countries that hired lobbyists because of their ties to Mr. Trump and his small inner circle are recalibrating.
Mr. Ortiz, a longtime Democratic lobbyist with close ties to Senator Bob Menendez, Democrat of New Jersey, the ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, has been preparing proposals for a half-dozen nations he said have reached out to him since the election.
“It is just nuts,” he said of the surge in interest from foreign governments since the election.
Another lobbyist who works with Democrats said he had conversations in recent days with representatives from the governments of Egypt, Turkey and the United Arab Emirates — all of whom, he said, were in a panicked rush to make inroads in the Biden administration.
The lobbyist met last week in Washington with a member of the Turkish Parliament who has been described as a back-channel between President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and the United States, and who was in town to discuss a dispute between the two governments over a missile defense system.
Just last month, the parliamentarian, Ali Ihsan Arslan, had entered into an agreement with Avenue Strategies, a lobbying firm founded by former aides to Mr. Trump’s 2016 campaign, which had signed a range of domestic and foreign clients over the past few years.
Avenue Strategies had agreed to help Mr. Arslan “develop better relations with key policymakers and thinkers here in Washington,” according to a lobbying filing.
But last week, Mr. Arslan privately expressed concerns about whether his relationships in Washington would be effective in reaching Mr. Biden’s team, according to the lobbyist, who said the parliamentarian was interested in connecting with lobbyists or others with access to Mr. Biden’s team.
One open question is how far Mr. Biden will go to follow through on a proposal he made in October 2019 to prohibit foreign governments from hiring outside lobbyists. “If a foreign government wants to share its views with the United States or to influence its decision-making, it should do so through regular diplomatic channels,” Mr. Biden said in a statement.
He could prohibit his appointees from meeting with lobbyists hired by foreign governments. But it would require an act by Congress — which is extremely unlikely — to actually ban governments from hiring lobbying firms.
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