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• MIDDLE EAST. As tensions rise between Qatar and Saudi Arabia, each side is looking to K Street to win support from the U.S. government. Last week, the Qatari government hired its 14th lobbying firm, Stonington Strategies, in New York. The contract involves the firm “[developing] and [implementing] a government relations strategy for the State of Qatar” and communicating with government officials on Capitol Hill and the Trump administration, in addition to “other individuals and organizations involved in governmental or public policy matters.” The contract is worth $50,000 per month. Saudi Arabia, which has accused Qatar of funding terrorism, has 20 firms on retainer. One U.S.-based nonprofit has deployed a seven-figure public relations campaign in recent months to amplify Saudi Arabia’s claims against Qatar. The government of Qatar denies the claims.

• INDIAN GAMING. The Ho-Chunk Nation, a Native American tribe in Wisconsin, has hired the law and lobbying firm Husch Blackwell. The Ho-Chunk Nation is in a legal battle with a nearby tribe, the Stockbridge-Munsee Community, which says that the Ho-Chunk is running afoul of gambling compacts and flouting federal law with its plans to add more slot machines and game tables at one of its casinos. The Ho-Chunk said the Stockbridge-Munsee Community does not have the standing to sue. Allowing such litigation, the Ho-Chunk tribe says, could lead to frivolous lawsuits.

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• FOOD SAFETY. Agricultural company Cargill, Inc., and The Pew Charitable Trusts have joined forces to create the Coalition to Modernize Meat & Poultry Safety — a group that wants to update food safety rules first enacted in 1906. They have hired the Russell Group to work on those policies. “As a result [of not being updated], despite vast changes in the health risks that these products pose to consumers, the federal meat and poultry oversight system remains designed for threats that it faced many years ago, not those that exist now and into the future,” wrote Sandra Eskin, the director for food safety at The Pew Charitable Trusts, in a blog post.