WASHINGTON: The Human Rights Commission of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has hired Qorvis Communications for a year-long contract worth $690,000.
The account began on March 1, according to Foreign Agents Registration Act documents filed with the Department of Justice. The Publicis Groupe agency is being paid a monthly retainer of $57,500 to provide media training, strategic communications, media relations, editorial services, outreach and research, including polling, according to the documents. Other research and services such as event support would be billed separately.
Representatives from Qorvis and the commission could not be reached for comment.
Qorvis has a long-standing relationship with Saudi Arabia and has represented the country since 2001 following the September 11th terrorist attacks. Fifteen of the 19 hijackers involved in the terrorist plot were Saudi citizens. The firm has worked to promote Saudi Arabia as a key ally of the U.S. in the Middle East and partner in stability and fighting terrorism, according to its website.
Last April, the King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center hired Qorvis for media relations services. That deal was reached months after the murder of journalist and activist Jamal Khashoggi in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul. U.S. intelligence agencies concluded that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman ordered the assassination. Some PR and lobbying firms reevaluated their relationship with the Saudi government after Khashoggi’s murder, while dozens of other shops remained on its payroll.