Trump-connected firm signs $900K contract with the Dominican Republic
Ballard Partners, a firm connected to President Trump, has signed its first foreign government as a client: the Dominican Republic.
The Florida-based company helped Trump win the state in the presidential election and recently opened a K Street office to expand its business to Washington.
The Dominican Republic signed a one-year contract with the firm worth $900,000, according to disclosure reports filed with the Justice Department.
The contract does not list specifics about what the firm, founded by longtime Florida lobbyist and fundraiser Brian Ballard, will be doing for the country.
It only says that the company will provide “various strategic consulting and advocacy services to [the government of the Dominican Republic] in relation to businesses” with the United States.
“It shall be the responsibility of [Ballard Partners] to consult with [the client] and to advocate on their behalf the situations and matters that [the client] deems necessary and appropriate before the Federal Government of the United States of America,” it continues.
Trump notably imposed tough restrictions on former administration officials lobbying for foreign governments.
In his first weeks in the Oval Office, he signed an executive order banning for anyone who worked in his administration from ever registering as a foreign agent with the Justice Department.
The rules, however, do not apply to those who worked for him during the campaign and the transition.
The New York-based firm that coordinated Trump’s announcement of his candidacy for president, Gotham Government Relations, also opened a Washington shop in recent months.
Antonio Martinez, one of its consultants in New York, recently moved to the new office to help foreign governments in Latin America and the Caribbean improve relations with the U.S. government, the company said.
Until this most recent registration, though, the only Trump-connected firm to land foreign clients has been Sonoran Policy Group (SPG), which is now working for New Zealand, which it signed in December, and the Czech Republic, according to disclosure records.
SPG boasts two former Trump campaign operatives and a Trump White House official who left after running into security clearance issues.
Several K Street firms that launched in the wake of Trump’s win are aggressively searching for foreign clients, Politico reported earlier this week. Those includes Avenue Strategies, formed by former Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski.
The story also mentions the large, established shops that have brought on people close to Trump, such as public affairs firm Mercury.
Many of them, including SPG President Stuart Jolly, deny they’re cashing in on their connections.
“I love the guys that I brought on the campaign and worked with, and I want to support them as friends,” he told Politico, emphasizing that he has been lobbying for many years.