Georgia leads all countries in the Caucasus and Central Asia in the money it spends on lobbyists in Washington, DC, according to a review of US government records.
In 2010, Georgia had contracts with four lobbying firms, including some of Washington's most influential, totaling at least $1.5 million. Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan each employ a single firm to represent them in Washington, and spend considerably less: Azerbaijan is currently under a contract with Patton Boggs for $35,000 per month, and Kazakhstan pays public relations firm BGR Public Relations LLC $25,000 per month. The governments of the breakaway republics of Abkhazia and South Ossetia each have a yearly $120,000 contract with the Mark Saylor Company for public relations work.
In 2009, foreign governments spent about $60 million overall on representation in Washington, according to the non-governmental organizations ProPublica and the Sunlight Foundation, which track such expenditures. (Figures from 2010 are not yet available.)
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Joshua Kucera is a Washington, DC,-based freelance writer who specializes in security issues in Central Asia, the Caucasus and the Middle East. He is the author of EurasiaNet's Bug Pit blog.