PM Ivanishvili’s government has hired Patton Boggs, an influential Washington lobbying and law firm, which last year was providing services to Ivanishvili and his Georgian Dream coalition.
Under a six-month contract the government is paying Patton Boggs a monthly fee of USD 90,000, according to filings submitted by the firm to the U.S. Department of Justice under the Foreign Agent Registration Act.
Last year, when Patton Boggs was hired personally by Ivanishvili, the firm was charging Georgian Dream (GD) leader with a flat rate of USD 160,000 per month. Patton Boggs was among those several lobbying and consultancy firms, which were providing services to Ivanishvili last year when he and his GD coalition were engaged in election campaign.
According to the contract, which was signed in mid-February by head of the Georgian government’s chancellery Maia Tskitishvili, Patton Boggs has to provide assistance to the Georgian government “with respect to supporting NATO aspirations, communicating with the U.S. Government and Congress, supporting relations with media and opinion makers, facilitate arrangement of relevant events and meetings and educating U.S. about developments in Georgia.”
In another development related to U.S. lobbying efforts from Georgia, President Saakashvili’s administration signed in December a new ten-month contract worth USD 200,000 with consultant Gregory Maniatis of Ithaca Group “as a government relations and communications consultant in the United States.”
Like other U.S. lobbyists and consultants, which were providng services to the Georgian President in the past, Maniatis, who has been cooperating with President Saakashvili’s administration since 2009, was contracted in previous years through National Security Council (NSC).
But after the new government, led by PM Ivanishvili, significantly cut NSC’s annual funding from last year’s GEL 21 million to GEL 1.8 million in 2013, NSC had to drop U.S. lobbying contracts, including with Podesta Group and Gephardt Group Government Affairs.
The new contract with Gregory Maniatis, signed this time directly by the President's administration, is in force from January to October 31, 2013. The contract was signed by head of the President’s administration Davit Tkeshelashvili on December 19.
According to its filings under the Foreign Agent Registration Act, Ithaca is providing assistance to the President’s administration “in communicating its programs and objectives to U.S. audiences including the Administration, U.S. Congress, think tanks and other non-profit organizations, policy-makers and opinion makers, and the U.S. media.”
It also provides assistance in developing “U.S. public support for policies of the incumbent President of Georgia; through providing strategic advice, creation of content for websites and e-mail newsletters; provision of information to U.S. reporters and media outlets; providing advice to and assistance with speeches and public statements; and arranging, preparing for and attending meetings with members of Congress and/or staff and/or U.S. Executive Branch officials.”