Qatar’s growing DC influence

Map showing location of Qatar

Qatar is a tiny nation whose oil wealth is giving it an outsize impact in DC. Image by jcamilobernal via

Marc Fisher of The Washington Post has an interesting story about the growing investment in DC real estate market by Qatar, citing the emirate’s decision to pump $650 million into a massive downtown development project on the site of the city’s old convention center. That got us to thinking about how the Connecticut-sized Persian Gulf nation, which boasts the world’s highest per capita income thanks to its energy resources, is also growing its footprint on K Street.

This year the splashiest move came from Al Jazeera, the wildly successful pan-Arabic-turned-global network founded by Qatar’s former emir. As Al Jazeera was preparing to launch a full-fledged network in the U.S., it hired Tom Korologos. Korologos is a top-gun lobbyist who once specialized in shepherding the Supreme Court nominees of Republican presidents through the nominating process.

So far this year, Al Jazeera paid DLA Piper, another top lobbying firm, $310,000, according to Senate records. DLA Piper then dished out $10,000 to the law offices of George R. Salem PLC to support their cable TV venture, according to Senate records, and an additional $10,000 to TCK International, LLC, Korologos’company, for the same purpose. Korologos also serves as a “strategic adviser” to DLA Piper.

The Qatar Embassy is represented by lobbying powerhouse Patton Boggs. In 2013, Qatar paid Patton Boggs $343,190 to represent it in the U.S., according to Department of Justice (DOJ) Records. Contacts on behalf of Qatar were mainly with the State Department and there were no contacts in second part of the year. See list of contacts below.

Contacts by Patton Boggs on behalf of the Embassy of Qatar

Source: FARA record

The records in the table above represent part of Sunlight’s ongoing effort to digitalize the DOJ’s Foreign Agent Registration Act Records. Read more about the project and how you can help, here.