The Washington-based lobbying subsidiary of Blank Rome has lost a Morocco-backed client that brought the firm $400,000 over about 18 months.
Around April, Blank Rome Government Relations stopped advocating for the Moroccan American Center for Policy (MACP), which Morocco funds in an effort to enhance its relations with the United States, the firm told the U.S. Justice Department last week. Blank Rome received its last payment from MACP in June, according to paperwork filed with the DOJ under the Foreign Agents Registration Act.
"We expected the engagement to be renewed, but it was not," the firm said in a December 5 DOJ filing signed by Blank Rome principal Singleton McAllister. Blank Rome added that the contract, which McAllister and then-firm principal Weldon Rougeau signed in November 2010, was for a "short term" engagement with MACP.
From about November 2010 to April 2012, Blank Rome worked with MACP to reach U.S. policymakers and "educate them on U.S.-Moroccan relations and Morocco's commitment to securing a permanent resolution of the Western Sahara issue, with the express purpose of encouraging U.S. actions that promote Moroccan sovereignty, security, and prosperity," DOJ documents say.
Since Spanish rule ended in the Western Sahara in 1975, Morocco and the Algeria-backed Polisario Front have battled for control of the territory, which is south of Morocco. The Obama administration supports a Moroccan plan that would give autonomy to the Western Sahara under the sovereignty of Morocco, which already governs most of the territory.
Morocco spent $2.2 million on MACP from November 2011 to October 2012, according to the most recent DOJ records on the group's finances. Gray Loeffler, Beckerman Public Relations and Vision Americas currently are the only firms registered with the DOJ to assist MACP.