A couple years after Venable received its last payment from a deposed United Arab Emirates sheikh, the firm last week officially told the U.S. Justice Department that he is no longer a lobbying client.
Venable registered in May 2010 under the Foreign Agents Registration Act to lobby for Sheikh Khalid bin Saqr Al Qasimi, the former deputy leader and crown prince of Ras al Khaimah (RAK). He was exiled in 2003 during the reign of his father, Sheikh Saqr bin Mohammad Al Qasimi, who died in 2010. The younger Al Qasimi's half-brother, Sheikh Saud bin Saqr Al Qasimi, became emir.
Under the $50,000 contract, Al Qasimi tasked Venable with helping him create "a positive relationship" with the United States, according to DOJ records. The sheikh is "an ally of the United States and is interested in stability in the Middle East and globally," the DOJ paperwork says.
"He was just a very nice, gentle fellow," Quinn said of Al Qasimi.
The firm hasn't advocated for the sheikh since 2010. But with further lobbying for Al Qasimi a possibility, Venable continued to list him in DOJ filings as a client until last month, Quinn said.
For Al Qasimi in 2010, Quinn, Smith and Moore spoke with several congressional staffers and members of Congress, according to DOJ records. The topic of most of the discussions was "Iran Sanctions," the DOJ paperwork says. The talks included July 2010 briefings with Democratic Representatives Ted Deutch of Florida, James Langevin of Rhode Island, Henry Cuellar of Texas and Jim Costa of California, as well as then-Senators Ted Kaufman (D-Del.) and Christopher Bond (R-Mo.)
“Under the current regime, Ras Al Khaimah has actively forged deep and often shadowy relationships with Iran, including the establishment of a free trade zone where more than 600 Iranian businesses – many working with the Iranian government – have developed gas line deals which help Iran circumvent restrictions and allow our Emirate to be used as a portal for the shipping of weapons," Al Qasimi said in a written statement in 2009. "We must say enough is enough: the current regime in RAK is putting all of the United Arab Emirates in harm's way because of its close ties to Iran.”
Venable wasn't the only U.S. firm that assisted Al Qasimi in 2010. Consulting firms California Strategies and Mercury Public Affairs were registered with the DOJ as representatives of the sheikh. And former Wall Street Journal investigative reporter Glenn Simpson was registered with Congress as a lobbyist for Al Qasimi. Simpson told The Hill in 2009 that he only was hired to do research for the sheikh and registered out of an abundance of caution.