The Ukrainian government, including its Army and Ministry of Finance, has retained dozens of politically connected American lobbyists to push for foreign aid and influence mainstream media coverage and social media censorship of its conflict with Russia, War Room can reveal.
A Department of Justice (DOJ) database reveals nearly 40 registered “foreign agents” operating in the U.S. on behalf of Ukraine. Among the entities receiving support from American lobbyists are the country’s Armed Forces, Committee on National Security, Defense and Intelligence, National Security and Defense Council, and President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.
The unearthed lobbying efforts follow Ukraine receiving over $50 billion in aid from the U.S. and may indicate how the country was able to mount an impressive public relations campaign amidst fighting with Russia and receive such sizable support from the U.S.
Morrison & Foerster LLP, for example, is “advising the Office of the President of Ukraine,” which includes “providing guidance on and assisting with U.S. government engagement, and updating our advice in response to emerging conditions,” according to a Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA) filing.
John Smith, the former Director of the U.S. Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control and United Nations Committee member, is listed as the primary lobbyist.
Cameron Hardesty, who served in the White House press shop during the Obama administration, is a registered foreign agent working for Ukraine’s Ministry of Digital Transformation, describing herself as “public relations counsel to the government of Ukraine,” in her filing.
She will be “providing communications and public relations advice, drafting content for social media accounts of the Minister of Digital Transformation, and advising on messaging for communications with U.S. business representatives, U.S. media representatives, and U.S. government officials,” her filing continues.
Hardesty has also reached out to social media platforms to remove “Russian propaganda” as well as mainstream media outlets to “generate attention for Russian propaganda on social media platforms.”
As her FARA filing explains:
“Registrant communicated with representatives of Meta and TikTok to remove Russian propaganda on social media platforms relating to the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Registrant also communicated with the Washington Post, Politico, and U.S. government officials to generate attention for Russian propaganda on social media platforms regarding the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
A separate FARA filing reveals another firm, PLUS Communications, working “to inform the global media community about political and cultural shift in Ukrainian society by assisting foreign journalists and highlighting current events in Ukraine.” Danny Diaz, who will be carrying out the aforementioned task for Ukraine, is a former Communications Director for the Republican National Committee (RNC) and Deputy Communications Director for John McCain’s 2008 presidential campaign.
KARV Communications, which counts Norm Kurz, then-Senator Joe Bidens Communications Director from 2000 to 2006 as an advisor, is also currently working on behalf of the Ukrainian Federation of Employers of the Oil and Gas Industry (UFEOGI).
Other lobbying firms have worked to connect Ukrainian officials with “powerful allies in the U.S.” including U.S. mayors such as Eric Adams in New York City, Michelle Wu in Boston, and Lori Lightfoot in Chicago.
Prior to the onset of fighting between Ukraine and Russia, lobbyists representing pro-Ukraine interests were engaging in a lobbying “campaign of an unprecedented scale,” with analysis of lobbying disclosures showing operatives engaging in over 13,000 political contacts throughout 2021 on behalf of Ukraine to push for military support, deter Russia’s Nord Stream 2 pipeline, or to potentially join NATO.