Cities turn to K Street for help with coronavirus


With David Beavers and Daniel Lippman

CITIES TURN TO K STREET FOR HELP WITH CORONAVIRUS: The National League of Cities has hired its first Washington lobbying firm in more than a decade as the country’s cities grapple with the coronavirus and the resulting budget shortfalls. Former Rep. Ed Royce (R-Calif.); Nadeam Elshami, a former chief of staff to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi; and nine others at Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck will lobby on municipal finance and the coronavirus, among other issues, according to a disclosure filing.

— “This is an unprecedented time in our country and for cities economic needs,” a National League of Cities spokesperson said in a statement. “The National League of Cities hired additional lobbying support to secure critically needed direct, flexible federal aid and support to help with our Cities Are Essential campaign. Local governments are calling for at least $500 billion in direct federal funding to protect families, municipal workers and America’s economic future in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.”

— The National League of Cities’ decision to hire the lobbying firm came as a number of cities have turned to K Street for aid securing aid from the federal government. The city of Denver also hired Brownstein Hyatt in April to lobby on municipal finance “with a priority emphasis on COVID-19.” The city of Savannah, Ga., hired Holland & Knight to lobby on the coronavirus last month; the city of Detroit hired former Transportation Secretary Rodney Slater and another Squire Patton Boggs lobbyist last month; the city of Coral Springs, Fla., hired Alcalde & Fay in April to lobby on the coronavirus; and the city of Vallejo, Calif., hired Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld.

— The National League of Cities also called on the Justice Department on Thursday to update its use of force guidelines for police officers. “While we appreciate the speed at which Congress and the Administration are moving to reform our nation’s law enforcement, federal actions taken thus far — including the President’s Executive Order signed this week — only scratch the surface of the critical reforms that our communities are desperately calling for,” Clarence Anthony, the group’s chief executive, said in a statement. But Brownstein Hyatt isn’t lobbying on police reform for the National League of Cities, according to the group.

Good afternoon, and welcome to PI. Happy Juneteenth. Read Jamelle Bouie on why the holiday matters. And send me your tips: [email protected]. You can also follow me on Twitter: @theodoricmeyer.

VENUES PRESS CONGRESS FOR AID: The National Independent Venue Association, a new trade group formed by venues such as Minneapolis’ First Avenue and Washington, D.C.’s 9:30 Club to press Congress for coronavirus aid, has enlisted musicians from Lady Gaga to Neil Young in its campaign. “With zero revenue and the overwhelming overhead of rent, mortgage, utilities, taxes and insurance, 90% of independent venues report that if the shutdown lasts six months and there’s no federal assistance, they will never reopen again,” dozens of musicians, actors and comedians wrote on Thursday in an open letter to lawmakers. “We are asking you to support NIVA’s request for assistance so these beloved venues can reopen when it’s safe and welcome us and our fans back in.”

— Among the letter’s signatories: Willie Nelson, Whoopie Goldberg, David Letterman, Jerry Seinfeld, Billy Joel, David Byrne, Robert Plant, Ozzy Osbourne, Beck, John Mellencamp, Leon Bridges, St. Vincent and Joan Baez. Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld is lobbying on the group’s behalf.

DEMOCRATIC DONORS SEEK TO NUDGE PACS TOWARD DIVERSITY: “A network of high-dollar donors from diverse racial and ethnic backgrounds has pledged to fund only political organizations that adopt detailed pledges to diversify their top ranks and pump more money into communities of color,” POLITICO’s Maya King reports. “The group, called the Donors of Color Network, announced on Friday plans to unveil a series of inclusion principles that political action committees and other groups have to adopt in order to receive funding from its (c)(4) arm, Donors of Color Action. They include filling senior-level positions with candidates of color, spending at least 30 percent of their annual budget on communities of color, submitting annual diversity reports and hiring African American and Latino consultants.”

“‘We’re hoping that by influencing all of these organizations, both through donors of color, but also white donors, that the party itself will recognize how important diversity is to engaging a critical part of its base,’ said Akunna Cook, senior adviser to the Donors of Color Network. ‘We know that the Democratic Party cannot win if people of color are not engaged.’”

THE VIEW FROM K STREET: The Supreme Court’s ruling striking down President Donald Trump‘s attempt to dismantle the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program because the Trump administration failed to follow the Administrative Procedure Act elicited criticism of the administration from at least one Republican lobbyist.

— “This decision is another example how the Trump Administration’s unwillingness to go through normal rule-makings has undermined its ability to make decisions that can survive court challenges,” Stewart Verdery of Monument Advocacy, who served in President George W. Bush‘s administration, wrote on Thursday in a LinkedIn post. “We have seen major initiatives, especially in the immigration arena, issued by executive orders short on an official administrative record and chance for comment. This failure to understand how to deploy executive branch power will be studied for years to come by political scientists and constitutional scholars.”

IF YOU MISSED IT ON THURSDAY: “A contractor making Covid-19 testing materials for the federal government has been assembling the items in unsterile conditions in a Texas warehouse where workers only intermittently wear protective gear, according to several former employees,” The Wall Street Journal’s Mark Maremont, Susan Pulliam and James Grimaldi report. “Fillakit LLC was established in Florida in May, six days before winning a $10.2 million contract from the Federal Emergency Management Agency to produce liquid-filled tubes for Covid-19 tests, federal and state databases show.”

— “Several former employees said dozens of workers sit side-by-side filling test tubes by hand, with cooling fans blowing dust around. Teresa Bosworth-Green, a retired science educator who worked at Fillakit for about two weeks in May, said she witnessed vials containing debris and bugs being packaged for shipment. ‘The environment is not clean at all and certainly not sterile,’ asserted Ms. Bosworth-Green. One worker sent an anonymous complaint this week to Rep. Jackie Speier (D., Calif.), alleging that ‘Fillakit is delivering inferior and unusable product to the government without oversight or accountability to the taxpayer.’ An aide to Rep. Speier confirmed receiving the complaint.”

John Cusey is returning to the American Enterprise Institute as vice president of communications, per Playbook. He was previously the director of policy in the Department of Health and Human Services’ refugee resettlement office.

DePasquale Victory Fund (DePasquale for PA 10, Pennsylvania Democratic Party)
Green Senate Victory Fund (Sen. Doug Jones, Sara Gideon for Maine, Theresa Greenfield for Iowa, Jaime Harrison for US Senate)
Maine Kansas Victory Fund (Bollier for Kansas, Sara Gideon for Maine)

Doctors for a Health US, LLC (Super PAC)
Justice Through Police Reform Political Action Committee (PAC)
ReformUSA PAC. (Super PAC)
Stand with the Badge (Super PAC)
Start the Fire Federal Political Action Committee (Super PAC)
The Best and the Worst PAC (PAC)

Ballard Partners: Atlantic Sapphire, USA, LLC
BGR Government Affairs: Postmates Inc
Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck, LLP: Meruelo Gaming
Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck, LLP: National League of Cities
Capitol Decisions, Inc.: Meadows Mental Health Policy Institute
Forbes-Tate: Contessa Health, Inc.
Mercury Public Affairs, LLC: Fluidigm
Mercury Public Affairs, LLC: Success TMS Therapy
Mr. Robert L. Redding Jr.: National Pecan Federation
Tarplin, Downs & Young, LLC: Foundation Medicine
The Glover Park Group LLC: 8Minute Solar Energy LLC

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