Daily: Serbia paying lobbyists in U.S. Congress
The Serbian government has hired one of the most powerful lobbying companies in the U.S., amid the diplomatic battle for Kosovo and EU integration.Source: Blic
Belgrade-based daily Blic claims that the government hired Podesta Group and that the contract was signed on October 1. The company will earn a monthly fee worth USD 100,000, according to the article.
A part of the money, USD 25,000, will be given to the Robert White firm which was hired by Podesta to lobby for Serbia’s interests in the Congress.
According to the daily, Podesta Group is one of the most powerful lobbying companies in Washington and has the most elite clients. Its owner was in Belgrade to talk to the Serbian top officials. Robert White company is a member of the group and has strong ties in the House of Representatives.
According to the agreement, Podesta Group’s job will be “to facilitate achievement of Serbia’s strategic goals, enable development of useful and efficient relations with the U.S. and to represent Serbian interests in all relevant and economic U.S. institutions”.
The daily writes that the agreement is the first one this year, since lobbying was suspended due austerity measures. Blic was unable to find out more about the agreement from the Serbian government.
Serbian Ambassador in Washington Vladimir Petrović could not confirm that the contract was signed either, but he told the daily that every serious state had its lobbying group in Washington while some even had several. He added that hiring of lobbyists was of utmost importance for development of relations with the U.S.
According to Blic, Podesta Group is one of the biggest lobbying companies which has important and powerful clients. Robert White company is less powerful but has close connections with former House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who is now democratic leader in the House of Representatives.