Caribbean Nations Continue To Spend Big Dollars On Lobbying Congress

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CaribWorldNews, WASHINGTON, D.C., Fri. May 7, 2010: Tax havens and other nations in the Caribbean continued to shell out big dollars last year to ensure their interests were well represented in Washington, a CaribWorldNews analysis of the latest Foreign Agents Registration Act report has found.

British-dependent territory Bermuda, one of the major tax havens in the region, shelled out over a quarter million dollars in the first six months of 2009 to several D.C. lobbyists.

Most of the money – some $170,224.27 – went to Levine & Company of Bethesda, Maryland, according to the FARA report, to lobby and monitor congressional and executive branch activity in the area of investments and tax policy.

Another $42,546.18 went to Darlene Richeson & Associates, LLC. of Woodbine, Maryland to monitor and advocate investment and tax policy and work to improve relationships between the United States and Bermuda.

The Cayman Islands was right behind, spending $114,000 with Fleishman-Hillard, Inc. of St. Louis, MO for the six month period ending April 30, 2009 to draft, produce, and distribute press releases and informational materials, as well as contact members of Congress, congressional staffers, and U.S. Government officials regarding tax information assistance and its commitment to transparency and exchange of information in tax matters.

Barbados also shelled out $52,817.58 for the six month period ending February 28, 2009 to Berliner Corcoran & Rowe, LLP, of Washington, D.C. to monitor proposed U.S. legislation targeting tax havens, the U.S. responses to WTO decision on internet gambling, and the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations hearings on tax evasion.

Aruba paid out $45,000 to the MITA Group, Inc. of Washington, D.C. for the six month period ending  March 31, 2009 to perform `public affairs services, including contacting members of Congress and their staffs and executive branch personnel to advocate for the interests of the foreign principal.`

Meanwhile, Bahamas shelled out the most – a whopping $2,577,698 for the six month period ending June 30, 2009 to CMGRP, Inc. of Washington, DC for legal and lobbying services, including, according to the filing, to help `develop and execute tourism promotions for the Bahamas.`

While the oil rich nation of Trinidad and Tobago spent a whopping $1,250,000 for the six month period ending February 28, 2009 to the AGA Group, LLC, of Washington, D.C. to contact U.S. government officials, members of Congress, and congressional staffers to discuss trade issues, Trinidad`s role in the Summit of the Americas, and security concerns.

The Dominican Republic spent $300,000.00 for the six month period ending May 31, 2009 with Manatt, Phelps & Phillips, LLP, for lobbying services. This, according to the FARA report, included contact with non-government organizations, members of Congress, congressional staffers, executive branch officials, and U.S. Government officials regarding human rights, birth registration and nationality, drug interdiction and trade, as well as other issues of importance to the country.

Poor Haiti spent $70,497.88 for the six month period ending May 31, 2009 with Sorini, Samet & Associates, LLC of Hinsdale, IL for assistance in the preparation of memoranda, analyzing trade data, developing proposals for such amendments and related technical input, and scheduling meetings and various email exchanges with congressional offices, and other non-governmental institutions.

The Foreign Agents Registration Act, (FARA), was enacted in 1938. FARA is a disclosure statute that requires persons acting as agents of foreign principals in a political or quasi-political capacity to make periodic public disclosure of their relationship with the foreign principal, as well as activities, receipts and disbursements in support of those activities.

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