Lobbying Firms Sever Partnerships on Russian Pipeline After Raking in Millions

Lobbyists are distancing themselves from foreign companies partnering on Russia’s Nord Stream 2 pipeline project after lobbying for them for a total of $17 million since 2017.

According to PoliticoThree lobbying firms cut ties to companies that had been partners in the Nord Stream 2 natural gaz pipeline.

The President’s terminations put an end to a multimillion-dollar lobbying push. Joe Biden announcesSanctions against the company that built the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, and Germany pausesCertification of the pipeline

Foreign companies partnering on Russia’s Nord Stream 2 have spent heavily on lobbyingThe pipeline project, which would transport Russian natural gas from Russia to Germany without avoiding Ukraine, was a focal point. Those companies collectively spent more than $6.6 million on 2021 lobbying related to the pipeline and issues such as “natural gas as an element of European energy security.”

The sanctions target Nord Stream 2 AG, which is wholly-owned by Russia’s state-run energy firm GazpromAs part of the Biden administration’s responseVladimir Putin, Russian President recognizing the autonomy of breakaway regionsIn eastern Ukraine invasion of multiple Ukrainian cities. The sanctions also target Nord Stream’s CEO, a close Putin ally.

While Nord Stream is owned by the Russian state-run Gazprom, the Kremlin has insisted the pipeline is a “commercial project” and lobbyists for the pipeline were registered under the Lobbying Disclosure ActFARA can be used instead. This allows the government officials with whom the lobbyists met to remain secret from the public. Lobbyists for foreign clients can choose to register under the LDA so long as the “principal beneficiary” is not a foreign government or political party.

Biden waivedNord Stream sanctions in 2021, and administration officials reportedly urged Senators to quash sanction measures unless the White House has the power to waive the congressionally-mandated sanctions.

Nord Stream was a partnership of foreign companies that spent over $6.8 million lobbying against sanctions since 2020.

Roberti Global has been the top beneficiary of Nord Stream 2’s lobbying spending with more than $9.1 million in payments since 2017. About $2.4 million of that went to 2021 lobbying during Biden’s administration. The lobbying firm’s management is by Democratic donor lobbyist Vincent Roberti, who was an unofficial adviser to Biden’s 2008 presidential campaign

Nord Stream spent more money lobbying each year, and companies partnering with the pipeline began to increase their lobbying efforts in 2020.

BGR Group, which also terminated its Nord Stream contract, was paid $1.6 Million since the beginning of 2020.

Five foreign companies partnering with Gazprom on the pipeline — Austria’s OMV AG, the Netherlands’ Shell International, France’s ENGIE, Germany’s Wintershall and Uniper SE — paid lobbyists at McLarty InboundMore than $1.6 Million since 2020’s start

The Democratic National Committee announced in May 2021 that Biden’s 2020 presidential campaign and its joint fundraising committee refunded contributions from McLarty managing partner Richard BurtThe former U.S. Ambassador to Germany,. The refunds came shortly after. OpenSecrets reportingBiden had previously pledged to reject lobbyist donations.

While some firms have ended their lobbying contracts on the Nord Stream pipeline project, Russian interests are still thriving millions of dollarsSpending into other foreign operations that target the U.S.

Reports of foreign agents $182 millionAccording to the report, Russian lobbying and foreign influence operations have been documented since 2016. OpenSecrets’ analysis of Foreign Agents Registration Act Lobbying Disclosure Act data.

Russian state media outlets used foreign agents as their agents. $34.8 millionOnly 2021 propaganda targeting the U.S.