By Kevin Bogardus - 03/17/14 12:45 PM EDT
The Republic of South Sudan has hired one of K Street’s most prominent lobby firms.
Podesta Group has signed a yearlong contract worth $480,000 with South Sudan to “provide strategic counsel to the principal on strengthening the principal's ties to the United States government and institutions,” according to Justice Department records.
The lobby firm “will also assist in communicating priority issues in the United States-South Sudan bilateral relationship to relevant U.S. audiences, including Congress, executive branch, media, and policy community.”
The contract is set to run from March 1 to Feb. 28 next year.
Podesta Group has developed one of the more prolific practices in foreign lobbying in the influence industry. The Justice Department lists the firm as having active contracts with the governments of Azerbaijan, India, Iraq and Japan, among others.
South Sudan gained its independence from greater Sudan in 2011, and has been stricken with internal conflict between various ethnic groups ever since.
South Sudan also signed an agreement with KRL International earlier this month to “implement a communications and advocacy program in support of efforts to consolidate peace, reconciliation and the development priorities” of the country, according to Justice records. The communications and consulting firm has experience advocating for African interests, having worked with the Liberian government.
Independent Diplomat Inc., which has represented several developing nations too, also has an active contract with South Sudan.