With Daniel Lippman
PROGRAMMING NOTE: Influence will not publish on Monday, Oct. 11. We’ll be back on our normal schedule on Tuesday, Oct. 12. Please continue to follow Pro issues.
BARBOSA DECAMPS FOR WILLIAMS & JENSEN: The law and lobbying firm Williams & Jensen has snapped up Grant Barbosa, one of only a handful of former aides to now-Vice President Kamala Harris on K Street. Barbosa, who was a legislative assistant to Harris in the Senate, will join the firm as a principal from Emergent BioSolutions, where he was a senior director of federal government affairs.
— Barbosa told PI in an interview that he wanted a new challenge after lobbying in-house for Emergent for the last three and a half years. While he’ll continue to lobby on health care issues, Barbosa said, he’s excited by the prospect of working on a mix of issues and a range of clients, noting that “I’m uniquely positioned to help clients across the spectrum.”
— He’ll also be able to offer clients and colleagues insight on his former boss, not to mention his former co-workers who have followed Harris into the White House. Barbosa said he in particular can help provide a better understanding of the way Harris “thinks and approaches issues” — the types of things “that you only can really get a glimpse into having worked for somebody and directly with them.” Despite his ties to the administration, Barbosa said his lobbying efforts will not be limited to just the executive branch — Barbosa also worked in the House, for now-HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra and former Rep. Sandy Levin (D-Mich.). “It would be foolish of me not to say, you know, how can I be helpful to a client or whatever chamber they want me to talk to, whatever party they want me to talk to, I’m happy to do that,” he said.
— Williams & Jensen also promoted Chris Wilcox and James Burchfield to shareholders, and Nicole Ruzinski Bertsch and Mahlet Makonnen to principals.
THE CHAMBER/BIF WHIPLASH: The U.S. Chamber of Commerce on Monday night denied an Axios report that the business group had withdrawn its support from the bipartisan infrastructure bill now that its passage was more explicitly linked to Democrats’ social and climate spending reconciliation package. The Chamber reiterated its support even as its top lobbyist, Neil Bradley, acknowledged to members in a letter that decoupling the bills “is no longer a realistic possibility.”
— “The Chamber continues to support the Senate-passed bipartisan infrastructure bill and believes it should pass the House as a stand-alone bill unlinked to the proposed tax and spend reconciliation bill,” a Chamber spokesperson said in a statement. “The Chamber is continuing and expanding its efforts to defeat the reconciliation bill and opposes efforts to link the infrastructure bill to the reconciliation bill.”
— The story from Axios came hours after Punchbowl News reported that House GOP leadership had booted the Chamber off its strategy calls on the reconciliation bill, and days after Bradley sparred on Twitter with House Minority Whip Steve Scalise’s (R-La.) chief of staff over the two bills’ linkage and the lack of Republican support for the bipartisan Senate-passed legislation.
CFOs FLY IN: The Business Roundtable, whose members include the chief executives of the country’s largest corporations, is dispatching member companies’ chief financial officers to meet virtually with lawmakers beginning Wednesday. The more than two dozen CFOs will make the case to lawmakers that tax increases would stifle U.S. competitiveness and innovation for their companies and harm American workers, building off the outreach that BRT’s member CEOs have been conducting.
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BANKS LEAN ON A PECULIAR ARGUMENT TO FIGHT REPORTING REQUIREMENTS: Financial institutions and their powerful trade associations like the American Bankers Association are waging war against a Biden administration proposal requiring that they “report to the Internal Revenue Service each year the gross inflows and outflows on accounts at or above a certain threshold,” POLITICO’s Hailey Fuchs reports, and they’re “doing it by insisting that the proposal, if enacted, would be costly and that marginalized communities would pay the disproportionate price.”
— “According to three individuals close to the discussions, financial institutions lobbying the Hill, including minority banks, have stressed that the provision could be problematic for households of color, who have long been disproportionately left out of the banking system. They’ve emphasized that additional disclosure requirements would create privacy concerns, which in turn would be an additional barrier for marginalized groups or prompt existing customers to leave.”
— Critics, however, call the push “a misleading and whiplash-inducing effort by the finance industry to claim the moral high ground after decades of being accused of discriminatory practices. But there is some indication that the argument is resonating. The Biden administration had advocated for that minimum threshold to be set at $600, but lawmakers have reached a tentative agreement that the new threshold will be $10,000. Under that agreement, the total will not include deposits by payment processors, according to a Democratic aide. For the banks, that’s not enough. They say nearly every American will be subject to the reporting, and they want to eliminate the potential requirements altogether. They are fighting to roll the requirements back even further.”
‘LIKE THE GAME OF WHACK-A-MOLE’: “Sen. Amy Klobuchar said Congress has ‘done nothing’ to meaningfully tackle the problems surrounding Facebook due to the intense lobbying efforts of the tech industry,” POLITICO’s Julia Arciga reports. “We have not done anything to update our privacy laws in this country — our federal privacy laws — nothing, zilch, in any major way. Why? Because there are lobbyists around every single corner of this building that have been hired by the tech industry,” the Minnesota Democrat said at today’s Senate Commerce hearing featuring Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen.
— “We have done nothing when it comes to making the algorithms more transparent,” Klobuchar continued, adding that the company’s lack of transparency has prevented independent research on the social platform. “Why? Because Facebook and the other tech companies are throwing a bunch of money around this town and people are listening to them.” She later told POLITICO that “it’s like the game of whack-a-mole. Every time I think I’ve got something done, some other lobbyist pops up,” she said. “Facebook has ‘literally hired so many people in this town,’ she said.”
— The comment earned some all-too-rare agreement across the aisle: “Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) echoed Klobuchar’s concerns about lobbying, stating that Facebook — together with Google — were ‘extremely powerful’ in D.C. ‘I don’t think there’s a more powerful interest group in town than them,’ he said. ‘Their reach is really — it’s not just here. It’s into the academic community, it’s into the think tank community, on both sides of the aisle. They’ve been very strategic about it and they’re very influential.’”
ANNALS OF CAMPAIGN FINANCE: “Allies of former President Donald J. Trump formed a new super PAC days after Corey Lewandowski, Mr. Trump’s former campaign manager and the leader of one of the largest pro-Trump super PACs, was accused of sexual misconduct,” The New York Times’ Jeremy Peters writes. “The move, an attempt to isolate Mr. Lewandowski and deny him a role in Mr. Trump’s political operation, creates a new outside group to support the former president as he considers whether to run again in 2024. It also hints at the internal tumult that continues to divide the wide circle of formal and informal Trump advisers.”
ONE WAY TO GET YOUR POINT ACROSS: “Members of the environmental justice movement sent an email blast more than 5,600 times over a 48-hour period to top Biden administration officials, disrupting White House communication and sparking a tense exchange between the administration’s chief environmental outreach official and one of the key leaders of the movement,” according to POLITICO’s Zack Colman.
— “The form-letter blast effectively shut down email communication over two August days between high-ranking Biden administration officials, including national climate adviser Gina McCarthy, her deputy Ali Zaidi, National Economic Council Director Brian Deese and David Kieve, who leads outreach to environmental groups for the White House, according to Erika Thi Patterson, campaign director with the Action Center on Race and the Economy, and two others familiar with the incident.”
— “Patterson said she learned those details when Kieve called her to express dismay in a 17-minute conversation that she characterized as aggressive and offensive.” The spat “symbolizes the administration’s challenges in satisfying the left-wing, mostly non-white movement calling for significant clean energy, public transportation, environmental cleanup and workforce investments in low-income neighborhoods and communities of color.”
— Brian Skretny has joined WilmerHale’s Public Policy and Legislative Affairs Practice. He was most recently government affairs director at Rural Investment to Protect our Environment and was a top staffer on the House Foreign Affairs Committee and previously was former Rep. Eliot Engel’s legislative director.
— Carrianna Suiter Kuruvilla is joining DoorDash as head of federal government relations. She spent nearly eight years at the Obama-era Department of Labor in roles including deputy director and director of legislative affairs, and was most recently deputy director of Civic Cities at When We All Vote.
— Jessica Montoya is joining FoodCorps as policy director. She most recently led government affairs for food service firm Sodexo and is a Chrysler and Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C.) alum.
— Emma Alme will be director of public policy at Guardant. She was most recently a health policy fellow for Rep. Anna Eshoo (D-Calif.)
— Connie LaRossa is now head of national security policy on Google’s federal policy team. She previously was a principal at Cornerstone Government Affairs.
— Ashli Palmer is now a principal at Resolution Public Affairs, per Playbook. She previously was a partner at Tiber Creek Group and is a House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn (D-S.C.) and Obama Agriculture Department alum.
— Kim Gaedeke joined Notarize as associate vice president and head of government affairs, and Casey Garber as the director of auto policy and industry relations. Gaedeke was most recently chief deputy director at the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs, and Garber was most recently manager of vehicle programs at the American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators.
— Marv McMoore is now vice president of digital media strategy at SKDK. He previously was senior political digital strategist at GMMB, and is a Pete Buttigieg campaign alum.
— Ed Gresser has left USTR after a six-year stint to become the Progressive Policy Institute’s vice president for trade and global markets policy. Gresser most recently was assistant USTR for trade policy and economics.
— Emily Emery has joined Aristocrat as vice president of government relations for digital. She was most recently vice president of digital policy at MPA — The Association of Magazine Media.
— Jerry Sussman and Ted Chiodo are launching LangleyCyber, a cybersecurity firm. Sussman will be chief information security officer and previously was a senior technical intelligence officer with the CIA. Chiodo will be CEO and previously was COO at SKDK.
— The Consumer Bankers Association has elected Michelle Lee as chair of its board of directors. Lee serves as regional banking executive for branch banking at Wells Fargo. John Durrant, Capital One’s executive vice president of retail and small business banking, was named as chair-elect for the upcoming year.
Carey Victory Fund (Carey for Congress, Carry On PAC, NRCC, Ohio Republican Party State Central & Executive Committee)
GRANGER VICTORY COMMITTEE (Rep. Kay Granger (R-Texas) Common Sense Common Solutions Political Action Committee, NRCC)
Center Street PAC (PAC)
RISE FEDERAL PAC (PAC)
Atlantic Strategies Group: Amtec Corporation
Capitol Alliance Group, Inc: Redwire Space
Center For Popular Democracy: Center For Popular Democracy Action
Cornerstone Strategies Group: Chenmed LLC
Crossroads Strategies, LLC: Individual Retirement Rights Association
Empire Consulting Group: Vertex Pharmaceuticals Incorporated
Farragut Partners LLP: Sanctuary Systems
Govbiz Advantage, Inc.: Citizens For Responsible Energy Solutions
Health And Medicine Counsel Of Washington: National Eczema Association
Holland & Knight LLP: Agnc Investment Corp.
Holland & Knight LLP: Ameresco, Inc.
Holland & Knight LLP: Big Brothers Big Sisters Of America
Lptv Broadcasters Association: Lptv Broadcasters Association
Markley And Company: Alaska Power Association
Ogilvy Government Relations: Molina Healthcare, Inc.
Rivian Automotive, LLC: Rivian Automotive, LLC
Somertons, Pllc: Ali Azemi F/B/O Union Association Of Imk Ex-Steel Pipe Factory Employees
Sustainable Strategies Dc: Friends Of Blackwater
Taft Stettinius & Hollister LLP Dba Taft Advisors LLC Fka (Taft, Stettinius & Hollister, LLP): The Millennia Companies
Taft Stettinius & Hollister LLP Dba Taft Advisors LLC Fka (Taft, Stettinius & Hollister, LLP): University Hospitals
Fidelis Government Relations: The Queens Health Systems
The Picard Group, LLC: University Of Louisiana At Lafayette Foundation
USg Corporation: USg Corporation