A series of facts reveal that the Democratic Party, the Socialist Party and the Socialist Movement for Integration have spent more than 1 million USD for lobbing at the United States of America in the period of 2009-2010.

Based on the investigations of two American NGOs, the “Open Data Albania” project published the data for the cost and the cases in which it has been lobbied, the lobbing companies and the names of the important representatives who have been involved in the process.

SMI has spent 154.298 USD, the Democratic Party has spent 120.000 USD and the Socialists 82.250 USD, while the government has spent 82.250 USD.

This investigation reveals the contacts of the PJIU on the Cham case, but there have been no concrete payments.

“It is important to publish any contact, including the financial transactions of the government and the political players, because it is connected with some transparency concepts and good governing of our countries. It is very interesting to offer the wide public and Albanian analysts, who study the political performance in Albania, so that we can see the level of the contacts and the cases for which the Albanian politics aims to lobby for US support”, declared Aranita Brahaj, Executive Director of Open Data Albania.

The data show that through the “Patton Boggs” lobbing company, the government has spent 825.000 USD from 16 August 2010 to December 2010.

The US “Sunlight Foundation”, to which Open Data Albania refers, revealed that the Albanian government has used these lobbing money for attracting US aid funds from the US Agriculture Department, Millennium Fund and bilateral relations. The lobbing for US aids reflects the financial difficulties of the government in that period.

The Party that has spent more lobbying money is the SMI, reaching 154.298 USD, which has been paid during 13 April 200 and 13 April 2010. The SMI has used the Dutko WorldWide LLC lobbying company, mainly for electoral campaign matters, when they were in opposition.

Congressman Elliot Engel has been contacted by the SMI. After entering the government coalition, SMI has changed strategy by hiring the Blue Star Strategies LLC, and the lobbying matters are mainly focused on the education of young leaders.

From 14 January 2009 to 12 June 2009, the Democratic Party has lobbied in 20 cases, 10 of which were used for the visits of the Democratic Party vice leader and Parliament Speaker, Jozefina Topalli. In five other cases, the lobbying company of the Democratic Party, the “BKSH Associates”, has mediated for the meetings of Prime Minister Berisha.

The lobbying strategy of the US, by spending 82.250 USD from 12 May 2010 and until 3 September 2010, was focused on the raising awareness about the opposition’s concerns through the international media.

The lobbying company contacted by the Socialists has negotiated with important media, such as the Washington Post, USA Today, Voice of America, the Economist, Newsweek, etc, where they have published opposition leader interviews and articles. They have lobbied twice at the Helsinki Committee regarding Albania’s political situation.