Prime Minister Vano Merabishvili’s office has hired a U.S. government relations and communications consultant for USD 320,000 for a 16-month period “to explain to the U.S. public and government officials the policies and programs” of the Georgian government.
Fianna Strategies, a newly launched firm, will provide the PM’s office assistance in “developing US support for the foreign and domestic policies of the Government of Georgia,” according to firm’s lobbying disclosure filings with the U.S. Department of Justice.
Fianna Strategies was launched by Molly K. McKew, who will be in charge of providing services to the Georgian PM’s office. She was with Washington-based lobbying firm Podesta Group, which is a contractor of the Georgian National Security Council since 2010. While at Podesta Group, McKew, among others, also handled Georgia-related assignments.
According to an agreement, which covers a period from September 1, 2012 to December 31, 2013, the consultant will assist the Georgian PM’s office “in communicating its programs and objectives to relevant US audiences, including the administration, the US Congress, think tanks and other organizations and policymakers, and the media.” The consultant will also provide advice to Georgian government officials about speeches and public statements.
Apart of the contract price, the consultant will also receive a monthly fee of USD 1,500 for “reasonable expenses” not including international and domestic travel.
In another related development, the Georgian Ministry of Defense has signed contract worth USD 50,000 with U.S. public affairs firm HDMK to “provide U.S. government officials and U.S. media outlets with information about the policy priorities of the Ministry of Defense as they relate to the U.S.-Georgia bilateral relations and will facilitate direct interaction between Ministry officials and relevant U.S. agencies, legislative offices and media contacts,” according to documents submitted to the Department of Justice earlier this month.
Late last year and earlier this year HDMK also provided services to the Georgian Ministry of Education, when it was led by Dimitri Shashkin, who is now Georgian Defense Minister and who visited the United States last week.