With Daniel Lippman
BANKERS WILL BACK ERNST ON THE AIR: The American Bankers Association is backing Sen. Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) in its first TV ad of the general election. “Joni is fighting for loan forgiveness for small businesses impacted by Covid-19,” Mick Guttau, who’s identified as an Iowa banker, says in the ad. “And to get vital funding in the hands of both farmers and Main Street,” Peg Scott, another Iowa banker, says.
— While the American Bankers Association has run ads supporting Rep. Roger Marshall (R-Kan.) ahead of the next month’s Senate primary and Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-Texas) ahead of a March primary challenge, the ad is the trade group’s first for a candidate this cycle facing a tough general election race. Polls have shown a tight race in Iowa, with Democrat Theresa Greenfield leading Ernst 46 percent to 43 percent in a Des Moines Register survey last month (Greenfield’s lead was within the poll’s margin of error). The ad will run on broadcast and cable TV as well as online. A spokesman for the trade group declined to say how much it was spending to air the ad.
K STREET MULLS LIFE AFTER TRUMP: The election is still more than three months away, but Republicans on K Street are already talking about what their party will look like if President Donald Trump loses. “Who and what follows Donald Trump?” Dean Hingson, a Republican lobbyist and former chief of staff to then-Sen. Dan Coats (R-Ind.), asked Karl Rove on Mehlman Castagnetti Rosen & Thomas’ podcast. (The firm is one of several lobbying shops that produce their own podcasts.)
— “The Ronald Reagan consensus of what it meant to be a Republican — you know, limited government and low taxes and a strong military and anticommunism and a sunny optimism that the American dream was alive and well for anyone who wanted to participate in it — those kind of things are going to be challenged and challenged I think in a very strong fashion in the aftermath of the election, win, lose or draw, but particularly if President Trump does not win reelection,” Rove replied.
— Asked who might lead the party after Trump, Rove said his gut told him Republican senators such as Josh Hawley of Missouri and Marco Rubio of Florida would have an advantage over governors. “I just don’t sense that the political dynamic is such that the governors have got the upper hand,” he said.
BATTLE OVER HOW TO STAFF A BIDEN ADMINISTRATION HAS BEGUN: “Four dozen liberal groups are pressuring Joe Biden to publicly commit to not appointing certain people with recent private sector industry experience to his transition team or his administration to avoid ‘conflicts of interest,’ according to a letter sent to the Biden campaign Wednesday and obtained by POLITICO,” POLITICO’s Alex Thompson reports. “Signed by left-wing grassroots and policy-focused organizations such as Indivisible, the Working Families Party, Demand Progress and the Revolving Door Project, the letter calls for the Biden team to reject ‘any individual to a senior policy role in an agency or department with authority over any industry in which that individual held a senior position or served in an advisory capacity within the last five years.’ That standard should apply to the transition team as well, they wrote.”
HOW DODD IS HELPING BIDEN CHOOSE A VEEP: POLITICO’s Natasha Korecki and Christopher Cadelago have a deeper look at the role former Sen. Chris Dodd (D-Conn.) is playing in Joe Biden’s hunt for a running mate. People close to Dodd — a former head of the Motion Picture Association of America (since rebranded as the Motion Picture Association) who was a registered lobbyist at Arnold & Porter Kaye Scholer until last year — “and those with knowledge of the selection process said his role is no larger than that of the other three search committee members. But dozens of Democrats — including former aides of VP short-listers, party leaders, former and current elected officials and donors — said their primary contact with the selection team has been Dodd.”
BANKS LOBBY TO BLOCK TECH COMPANIES’ FORAYS INTO FINANCE: “Banks and consumer advocates are lobbying lawmakers to include in the upcoming economic relief package a new measure that would derail technology firms’ ambitions to expand their financial services offerings,” POLITICO’s Zachary Warmbrodt reports. “The legislation the coalition is seeking would impose a three-year moratorium on a Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. process that enables non-financial firms to set up lending operations when they obtain so-called industrial loan company charters available in several states.”
— “The motivation behind the lobbying effort is a pending application by Japanese e-commerce company Rakuten to operate a U.S. banking arm. The request for legislation in the next coronavirus aid bill follows months of lobbying by the banking industry against Rakuten’s application and more broadly the ability of non-banking firms to win FDIC licenses. … In a letter to the leaders of the Senate Banking and House Financial Services Committees, the Bank Policy Institute, the Center for Responsible Lending and the Independent Community Bankers of America said Congress should at least impose a temporary moratorium until there are safeguards established.”
WHAT HAPPENED AT THE HEARING: In one of the sharpest exchanges during Wednesday’s blockbuster House Judiciary Committee hearing at which Amazon‘s Jeff Bezos, Google‘s Sundar Pichai, Apple‘s Tim Cook and Facebook‘s Mark Zuckerberg testified, Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.) confronted Mr. Bezos on accusations that an Amazon lawyer had lied to the committee about how the company develops its own products,” The New York Times‘ Cecilia Kang and David McCabe report. “She asked him to answer whether it misused data with a yes or no. ‘I can’t answer that question yes or no,’ said Mr. Bezos, appearing rattled.”
— “Yet while the hearing was ripe with theater, any impact will be limited by antitrust laws that were created a century ago and that are imperfect for corralling internet firms. Since the 1980s, enforcement officials have used the notion of consumer welfare as the predominant test for antitrust violations — generally meaning that if prices are not going up, the markets are most likely competitive enough. … While Democrats at the hearing indicated they were more inclined to change antitrust law, Representative Jim Sensenbrenner, Republican of Wisconsin, said he did not think the laws needed to change.”
— Lila Nieves-Lee has left the Hill to join Autos Drive America as vice president of government affairs. She was previously an aide to Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.).
— Southern Company has promoted Leroy Nix to director of market strategy for Southern Company Gas. He’s currently an in-house lobbyist for Southern Company in Washington.
— The Association for Advanced Life Underwriting and the General Agents and Managers Association have promoted Josh Caron to vice president of legislative affairs. He succeeds Armstrong Robinson, who was promoted to senior vice president last month. Jennifer Fox has moved up to fill Caron’s previous role as assistant vice president of political affairs.
BlackPAC and EMILY’s List Women Vote! Joint Fundraising Committee (Women Vote!, Black PAC)
Expand the Map (Hybrid PAC)
James Victory Committee (John James for Senate, Inc., Michigan Republican Party, NRSC)
Representation Matters II (Joyce Elliott for Congress, Jackie Gordon for Congress, Patricia Timmons-Goodson for Congress, Friends of Desiree Tims, One Voice)
Black Voters Matter Action PAC (Super PAC)
Blue Texas PAC (Super PAC)
Cacique2020 (Super PAC)
God Society (PAC)
MemeAmerica PAC (MemeAmerica) (Super PAC)
More Perfect Union PAC (PAC)
People for Liberty Action (PAC)
Republicans, Democrats and Independents for District 48 (Super PAC)
Save America PAC (Super PAC)
United Medical Freedom Super PAC (Super PAC)
ANSYS, Inc.: ANSYS, Inc.
ATOLLetc LLC: Intelli-Network Corporation
Capitol Advocacy Partners: Gustine, City of
Faegre Drinker Biddle & Reath LLP: Simon Williams Pharma Consulting (SWPC) LLC
Global Payments, Inc.: Global Payments, Inc.
Holland & Knight LLP: Neteera Technologies Ltd.
Husch Blackwell Strategies: Kansas City Area Transportation System
J M Burkman & Associates: Josh Starr
Jones Walker, LLP: Calvary Sanitizers, LLC
McLarty Inbound LLC: I Squared Capital Advisors (US) LLC
Mehlman Castagnetti Rosen & Thomas, Inc.: ath Power
Monument Advocacy: DynCorp International
Pendulum Strategies, LLC: Somerset County, Pennsylvania
Sextons Creek: First Principles Strategies, LLC (on behalf of the Health Innovation Alliance)
Vitello Consulting: Stonington Global on behlaf [sic] of the Ambassadors Group
Winning Strategies Washington: Combat Hate Foundation
Gordley Associates: Rural Media Group
Sextons Creek: First Principles Strategies, LLC (on behalf of Horizon Government Affairs)