Camstoll Group

Profile: Camstoll Group

1- Name of NGO:

Camstoll Group

2- Brief & Mission:

Camstoll Group offers its expertise in guiding entities navigating intricate policy, regulatory, and competitive landscapes. Their client portfolio spans governments, financial institutions, and multinational corporations, showcasing their versatility across various industries and practice domains.

However, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) has engaged the services of an American consulting firm, Camstoll Group, which is staffed by former officials from the United States Treasury Department. As evidenced by their registered foreign agent disclosure forms, a discernible trend emerges involving interactions with journalists. Subsequent articles authored by these journalists have exhibited a critical perspective on Qatar’s involvement in financing terrorism. The intriguing mechanism behind this process underscores its captivating nature, shedding light on how American public perceptions and media narratives can be deftly manipulated, showcasing the ease with which such manipulation occurs.

3- Bias, Agenda & Motivation:

Founded on November 26, 2012, the inception of the Camstoll Group heralded a team composed primarily of esteemed former senior officials from the Treasury Department, spanning both the Bush and Obama administrations. These figures were entrusted with overseeing the United States government’s interactions with Persian Gulf states, Israel, and the management of policies concerning funding for designated terrorist organizations. A considerable portion of these individuals had backgrounds steeped in neoconservative activism. Notably, two of the principal members of Camstoll had prior affiliations with one of the country’s most fervent neoconservative figures, Steve Emerson, known for his staunch anti-Muslim stance.

At the core of Camstoll’s operations stands its founder, CEO, and exclusive proprietor, Matthew Epstein. Epstein’s tenure within the Treasury Department extended from 2003 to 2010, encompassing a significant role as the department’s Financial Attaché to Saudi Arabia and the UAE. Among the leaked diplomatic cables from 2007, published by WikiLeaks through Chelsea Manning, a notable entry discloses Epstein’s engagements with high-ranking representatives from Abu Dhabi. These interactions were part of a concerted effort to disrupt Iran’s financial and banking transactions. Of particular interest is the revelation of multiple high-level meetings where Epstein, serving as a Treasury official, engaged with influential officials from the Emirates – individuals who are now compensating his firm with substantial sums to function as their representative within the United States.

4- Links to Governments/Political Agenda:

The evident connection between the group and the UAE indicates a direct relationship, suggesting that the UAE government enlisted the services of this group for political purposes. The UAE government outpaces all other nations in terms of expenditures allocated to exert influence over U.S. policy decisions and mold domestic discussions. In its pursuit of these objectives, the UAE engages former senior government officials who previously collaborated with the country, including figures like Epstein and his firm, to advance its priorities within the United States. This emphasizes the fact that Camstoll maintains tangible connections with the UAE’s ruling monarchs.

5- Sources of Funding:

The Camstoll Group is the most expensive among UAE lobby firms, with its fees accounting for nearly a third of the Emirati lobby’s expenditures over the past decade. On December 2, 2012, a mere week following its incorporation, Camstoll swiftly entered into a highly lucrative and indefinite consulting arrangement with Outlook Energy Investments, LLC – an entity wholly owned by the Emirate of Abu Dhabi. Notably, the Emir, who presides over the UAE, is depicted above. In a subsequent week, Camstoll proceeded to officially declare its status as a foreign agent operating on behalf of the Emirate.

The consultancy agreement specifies that Camstoll is entitled to a substantial monthly remuneration of $400,000. This sum is transferred on a monthly basis into a dedicated account held by Camstoll. Within a mere two weeks from its inception, Camstoll received an initial retainer payment of $4.3 million from the Emirates entity. This financial transaction was succeeded by an additional disbursement of $3.2 million in the subsequent year, 2013.

6- Activities:

Camstoll disclosed a total of 15 distinct interactions with the Daily Beast‘s Eli Lake, each of which was conducted in alignment with the UAE’s objectives. Notably, during the month of December, the frequency escalated with a total of 10 separate engagements with Goodman. Additionally, multiple conversations transpired with Warrick. This transpired alongside their concerted efforts on behalf of their Emirates client, during which they engaged with their former colleagues still serving as prominent Treasury officials. Among these colleagues were Kate Bauer, the Treasury Department’s Financial Attaché stationed in the Emirates, and Deputy Assistant Secretary Danny McGlynn.

Furthermore, The Camstoll Group actively communicated with journalists who held right-wing or pro-Israel inclinations. These interactions were orchestrated to secure media coverage that cast Qatar in a negative light, linking it to entities such as Jabhat Al-Nusra and Hamas.

7- NGO Leadership:

Matthew Epstein is the Chief Executive Officer of The Camstoll Group and Howard Mendelsohn is a Managing Director of The Camstoll Group. 

8- Controversy:

 How did Camstoll fulfill its substantial financial commitments to the UAE? Their efforts entailed a significant investment of time and resources dedicated to influencing media narratives through orchestrating placements of anti-Qatar stories. Remarkably, their endeavors bore fruit, as they strategically directed their efforts. Their approach predominantly centered on engaging writers affiliated with neoconservative or pro-Israel circles, including prominent names such as Eli Lake from the Daily Beast, Alana Goodman from the Free Beacon, Elliott Abrams who had been implicated in the Iran-Contra affair, Jennifer Rubin from The Washington Post, and Michael Rubin from the American Enterprise Institute. These figures were receptive to advancing the narrative linking Qatar to terrorist funding, an alignment that resonated with Israel’s position.

Camstoll’s strategy also extended to established media personalities like Erin Burnett from CNN, Mark Hosenball from Reuters, and Joby Warrick from The Washington Post. The core motive behind these endeavors was clear: target influential individuals who could amplify the notion that Qatar and Iran were adversaries to the UAE. Evidently, these actions underscore the role of the Camstoll Group as a tool utilized by the UAE to achieve their strategic goals.

9- Contact Details:

  • Website:
  • Address:USA
  • Email:

10- Classification/Blacklist:

The group has been labeled as blacklisted because of its associations with UAE governments.

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