Arent Fox signs $1.2 mln deal to lobby for Ukrainian oil and gas group

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REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

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  • Legal advisory services for Ukrainian association will focus on compliance and regulation
  • Head of firm's emerging democracies practice was named on contract

(Reuters) - Arent Fox has signed a $1.2 million contract to provide legal and lobbying services in the U.S. for a Ukrainian oil and gas industry association that bills itself as the largest advocate for the sector in the country, newly disclosed U.S. Justice Department records show.

Washington-based Arent Fox said it will advocate for the Ukrainian Federation of Employers of the Oil and Gas Industry for one year. The Justice Department received the contract this week.

Arent Fox's contract was submitted under the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA), a decades-old law that requires law firms, lobby shops and public relations consultants to publicly disclose certain engagements with foreign clients. The law has received renewed attention in recent years as the Justice Department has scrutinized foreign influence campaigns more closely.

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Firmwide managing partner Cristina Carvalho and David Tafuri, who leads an emerging democracies practice at Arent Fox, did not return messages seeking comment.

Tafuri, who focuses on matters including sanctions and international law, was named the primary contact on the contract. He joined Arent Fox in April from Dentons.

A representative from the association did not immediately return a message on Wednesday seeking comment about the engagement with Arent Fox. The trade group's website said its mission is "to create a powerful and developed oil and gas market" and to "intensify the development of international cooperation."

Most of the member companies that make up the oil and gas association are Ukrainian state-owned enterprises.

The firm said its government relations work will be "aimed at outreach to U.S. government and executive branch and engagement with other relevant U.S. stakeholders and policymakers." The advocacy will focus on "priorities for developing Ukraine's energy resources and how those priorities support U.S. security goals."

Arent Fox's FARA disclosure was the second this year, DOJ foreign-agent records show. The firm in April disclosed a legal advisory contract for the Kurdistan Regional Government. Other foreign clients of Arent Fox whose contracts have been disclosed include the U.S. embassy of the Republic of Korea and the Ministry of the Economy, Government of the United Mexican States.

The firm reported earning $4.4 million in lobbying revenue last year for U.S. clients whose contracts were publicly noted under the federal Lobbying Disclosure Act, according to the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics.

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