With Daniel Lippman
CHAMBER BASHES TRUMP’S DRUG PRICING EXECUTIVE ORDERS: The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is weighing how to battle President Donald Trump’s new executive order on drug pricing, which Trump tweeted that he had signed on Sunday after talks with the pharmaceutical industry broke down. Trump “had signed a version of the directive more than a month ago but said he would hold it so industry could come up with an alternative,” as POLITICO’s Sarah Owermohle reports. Neil Bradley, the Chamber’s chief policy officer, called price controls a “flawed and dangerous policy that will result in a substantial reduction in investment in new cures and drugs at the worst possible time.”
— “We urge the administration to reconsider this approach, and the U.S. Chamber is assessing options to challenge this misguided policy,” Bradley said in a statement. “Rather than importing price controls, we encourage policymakers to focus on ensuring that other countries bear their fair share of the burden of the significant costs of drug research and development.”
REALTORS PROMOTE MCGAHN AS MALKASIAN, VENTRONE RETIRE: The National Association of Realtors will promote Shannon McGahn to chief advocacy officer as Bill Malkasian, the trade group’s current chief advocacy officer, and Joe Ventrone, its top lobbyist, prepare to retire at the end of the year. Ventrone will continue to serve as an adviser to McGahn next year, he wrote in a note to friends and colleagues. The National Association of Realtors hired McGahn as a senior vice president in 2018. She’s one of more than 80 former Trump administration officials who have registered as lobbyists, according to a POLITICO analysis.
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NATIONAL RESTAURANT ASSOCIATIONS PARES DOWN ITS ASKS: The National Restaurant Association sent Congress a blueprint of proposals for saving the industry in July, including a $120 billion fund to bail out restaurants. But with Congress unable to pass a comprehensive coronavirus relief bill, the trade group is paring down its asks, acknowledging in a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer this morning that “a larger solution for the industry seems unlikely to be passed this year.”
— Instead, the trade group is asking for a second round of Paycheck Protections Program loans with more flexibility, as well as an expansion of the Employee Retention Tax Credit “to help restaurants get support after a PPP loan has run out” and other tax credits to allay what restaurants are spending on coronavirus-related equipment, supplies and training. “This month marks a critical inflection point for the restaurant industry,” Sean Kennedy, the trade group’s top lobbyist, warned in the letter. “Outdoor dining will soon be impractical for many owners, and without immediate steps from Congress, thousands of restaurants may close before you reconvene after the November elections.”
CAPUTO ACCUSES CDC OF HARBORING A ‘RESISTANCE UNIT’ WITHOUT EVIDENCE: Michael Caputo, the Department of Health and Human Services’ assistant secretary of public affairs, “accused career government scientists on Sunday of ‘sedition’ in their handling of the pandemic and warned that left-wing hit squads were preparing for armed insurrection after the election,” The New York Times’ Sharon LaFraniere reports. Caputo, a veteran of Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign who worked as a lobbyist after Trump took office, “said without evidence that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention was harboring a ‘resistance unit’ determined to undermine” Trump.
— “Mr. Caputo, who has faced criticism for leading efforts to warp C.D.C. weekly bulletins to fit Mr. Trump’s pandemic narrative, suggested that he personally could be in danger. ‘You understand that they’re going to have to kill me, and unfortunately, I think that’s where this is going,’ Mr. Caputo, a Trump loyalist installed by the White House in April, told followers in a video he hosted live on his personal Facebook page. Mr. Caputo has 5,000 Facebook friends, and the video has been viewed more than 850 times. It has been shared by 44 followers.”
MEANWHILE, IN CALIFORNIA: Bills that would have cracked down on single-use plastic packaging died in the California State Capitol this year despite Democrats’ supermajority control, as “intense lobbying from container manufacturers, retailers and the plastics industry — coupled with legislative mismanagement — doomed the proposal for the second straight year,” POLITICO California’s Debra Kahn reports.
— Who helped to block the bills? “Dart Container Corp. — a familiar name to anyone who orders takeout — donated to 75 lawmakers this session, including 20 of the 24 Assembly members who let the bill die by abstaining. The lobbying group Californians for Recycling and the Environment, spearheaded by packaging manufacturer Novolex, reported spending $3.3 million over the first 18 months of the two-year session to oppose the two bills.”
— “But it wasn’t just a packaging company attack. The Consumer Brands Association, which includes Coca-Cola, Target, General Mills and other retailers and manufacturers, opposed the measure. So did the Western States Petroleum Association, a perennial Sacramento powerhouse whose oil members include manufacturers of chemicals used in plastic production.”
IF YOU MISSED IT THIS MORNING: “Oracle Corp. won the bidding for the U.S. operations of the video-sharing app TikTok, people familiar with the matter said, beating out Microsoft Corp. in a high-profile deal to salvage a social-media sensation that has been caught in the middle of a geopolitical standoff,” The Wall Street Journal’s Georgia Wells and Aaron Tilley report. “Oracle is set to be announced as TikTok’s ‘trusted tech partner’ in the U.S., and the deal is likely not to be structured as an outright sale, the people said. The next step is for the White House and the Committee on Foreign Investment in the U.S. to approve the deal, said one of the people, adding that the participants believe it satisfies the concerns around data security that have been previously raised by the U.S. government.”
CORRECTION: Some editions of Influence on Friday misstated Richard Grenell’s role in the Trump administration. He is the former acting director of national intelligence and U.S. ambassador to Germany.
— The Taxpayers Protection Alliance has hired Patrick Hedger as its new vice president of policy. He was previously a research fellow at the Competitive Enterprise Institute.
— The MENTOR Network has hired Chanta Combs as vice president of government relations. She was previously a senior director of state government affairs at Aetna.
— The Brunswick Group has hired the Democratic consultant Doug Sosnik. The firm also promoted Alex Finnegan, who was chief of staff to Brunswick’s chief executive, to partner. Finnegan is based in Washington.
Common Sense Commonwealth (Kevin O’Connor for U.S. Senate Inc., Massachusetts Republican Party)
Daines Rosendale 2020 (Sen. Steve Daines, Matt Rosendale for Montana, Montana Republican State Central Committee)
Winning Women Victory Committee 2020 (Rep. Elise Stefanik, Bice for Congress, Miller-Meeks for Congress, Tiffany Shedd for Congress Committee, Victoria Spartz for Congress, E-PAC)
Asian American Forward (Hybrid PAC)
Clark Street Associates LLC PAC (PAC)
Equal Nation Super PAC (Super PAC)
Front Porch Progressives (Super PAC)
Los Angeles African American Womens [sic] Political PACtion Committee (PAC)
Moms Protecting Tomorrow (PAC)
Move Ahead USA (Super PAC)
Move Forward America (PAC)
National Republican Committee (PAC)
No Dem Left Behind PAC (Hybrid PAC)
Ohioans for Justice and Integrity Committee (Super PAC)
Pro-Life America General Purpose Committee (Super PAC)
Quiplash to Save America (PAC)
Rappahannock Conservative Women’s Coalition (PAC)
Rural GroundGame (PAC)
SmileDirectClub, Inc. PAC (SMILE PAC)
Solutions for Colorado (Super PAC)
Southern Equality Alliance (Super PAC)
SWPA Moving Forward (Super PAC)
The Committee for Common Sense (Super PAC)
The League for an Independent America (Super PAC)
The New British Empire Political Action Committee (Super PAC)
United Against White Supremacy (Super PAC)
Votar Es Poder PAC (Super PAC)
Vote SF Super PAC (Super PAC)
Adams and Reese, LLP: Louisiana Organ Procurement Agency
Akin, Gump, Strauss, Hauer & Feld: SpectraPass
Avenue Solutions: Health Management Systems, Inc.
Bickford Pacific Group: Baxter Senior Living
Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck, LLP: Lehigh Hanson, Inc.
Carmen Group Incorporated: Evolus Inc
Cornerstone Government Affairs, Inc.: Edward M. Kennedy Institute
Efrus Federal Advisors LLC: Fortinet
Ervin Hill Strategy: ByHeart, Inc.
Government Relations Group, LLC: Heroes To Education
Jenner & Block LLP: Northern Arapaho Tribe
Platinum Advisors DC, LLC: Bungie Inc.
Rutledge Policy Group, LLC: Norton Rose Fulbright US LLP
Steptoe & Johnson LLP: Cogent Power Inc.
Tai Ginsberg & Associates, LLC: Village of Lemont, IL
The Ferguson Group, LLC: The Orland Unit Water Users Association
Veritas Advisors, LLP: Owyhee Basin Stewardship Coalition