In January 2018, Cogent Strategies, LLC, “a bipartisan team of top-ranked government relations and strategic communications strategists” (according to their website), filed required paperwork with the US Department of Justice regarding their representation of the Democratic Party of Moldova. This was done for the principal aim of supporting the democratic party’s policies. Cogent is scheduled to represent the party for six months for a minimum of $120,000.
Past PR Help for Moldova
The Democratic Party of Moldova previously employed Burson-Marsteller as their PR representatives in the US. The change may be due to what the client wants to accomplish as Cogent specializes in government and political issues, B-M does some government and political but specializes in public relations, crisis management, and communication. That contract began in March 2017.
One of the jobs that B-M did for the client was to conduct a poll of 12K people about what happens in Moldova. But this is not the only communist country assisted by B-M in the past several years. They also represented Russia in 2016, the Ukrainian “Party of Regions” in 2012, the Argentine dictator Jorge Videla, and Romania.
Moldova was also represented by The Podesta Group in 2016. Of note, Cogent Strategies is a recently formed PR agency founded by a former Podesta Group chief executive, Kimberley Fritts, and many of their people also previously worked for Podesta.
The Democratic Party of Moldova
The party may be named as if they are a democratic effort, but many of the people who are in leadership or affiliated strongly with the party are former communists. That includes a recent addition to the party, the former Communist MP, Aliona Babius – this was just announced in December 2017. But prior to that, her place in Parliament was as a member of the Communist Party. Babius was ousted from the Communist Part in 2015 for “not taking measures aiming at the consolidation of the ideological and organizational unity of the party in Briceni district.”
Out of the 42 MPs in the current Democratic caucus in Moldova, 14 of them are former Communists, 1 is a Socialist and 7 are former Liberal-Democrats. Many of these people did not start their time in Parliament in the Democratic Party but have been acquired by Vlad Plahotniuc, the oligarch.
Kimberley Fritts left Podesta, another public affairs firm to form Cogent Strategies. At Podesta she was their GOP veteran, probably feeling like she spent most of her time there swimming upstream since Podesta, though bipartisan, is strongly weighted toward the US Democratic Party.
In November 2017, Fritts had been scheduled to take over leadership of Podesta, but as things turned out, she quit and formed this new agency. Those leaving included about 25 of Podesta’s DC office 60 staff members including 18 out of 27 principals and 4 SVPs. Also, at least 15 of Podesta’s clients shifted to Cogent when she left. All of that movement may signal the end of the Podesta Group.