Brian Ballard‘s lobbying shop now has been retained by the Socialist Party of Albania to “provide consulting and advocacy services in a bid to improve U.S.-Albanian bilateral relations” at a rate of $20,000 a month, according to a news release.
Ballard’s star continues to shine as he snags another international client: He was an early supporter and fundraiser for President Donald Trump.
The Socialist Party of Albania rose to power following its majority win in Albania’s 2013 parliamentary elections. The left-leaning political party is led by Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama, who’s up for re-election in Albania’s upcoming June elections.
But Rama has been accused by Albania’s main opposition party, the conservative Democratic Party, of attempting to rig the voting process, which has led to protests and threats of a parliamentary boycott.
Ballard’s work for the Socialist Party of Albania will include advising, counseling and assisting the party in its communications with the U.S. government, according to Foreign Agents Registration Act documents filed in April.
The yearlong deal continues until the end of March 2018 and fetches the agency $20,000 per month. Ballard, who maintains a second outpost in Washington, D.C., in April signed a similar yearlong contract to strengthen ties between the U.S. and the Dominican Republic.
The European Union’s European Parliament has told government leaders that the 2017 elections must be “free and fair” if negotiations are to proceed for that country to gain membership into the EU, a designation which Albania has attempted to achieve since 2003.
Albania’s upcoming parliamentary elections have resulted in several big lobbying contracts in Washington.
The Democratic Party of Albania last year hired Podesta Group in a similar bid to advance U.S. relations. That political group, which was formerly Albania’s leading political party, hired Podesta for counsel on relevant U.S. policies and Congressional activities, as well as to arrange meetings with U.S. executive branch officials and members of Congress.
In January, a third Albanian political group fighting for seats in the June elections, the Socialist Movement for Integration, retained The McKeon Group to facilitate a dialogue between members of that party and the Trump Administration.
The social-democratic LSI was formed in 2004 by former Socialist Party of Albania member Ilir Meta, also a former Albanian Prime Minister. LSI’s six-month pact earned the McKeon Group $90,000.
— via Jon Gingerich of O’Dwyers.