With David Beavers and Daniel Lippman
MORE THAN 80 FORMER TRUMP ADMINISTRATION OFFICIALS HAVE REGISTERED TO LOBBY: As President Donald Trump “prepared to sign his administration’s ethics pledge in 2017, he joked that ‘most of the people standing behind me will not be able to go to work’ on K Street.” That’s not how it’s worked out. At least 82 former administration officials have registered as lobbyists nearly 3 1/2 years into Trump’s presidency. One of the people who was standing behind Trump when he signed the pledge — “then-White House chief of staff Reince Priebus — is now the chairman of a lobbying firm that’s hired several other former White House aides, two of whom have registered as lobbyists.”
— “Rick Dearborn, who served as a White House deputy chief of staff, is now a lobbyist for clients such as MetLife and Verizon. Chiefs of staff from Vice President Mike Pence’s office, the State Department, the Treasury Department, the Health and Human Services Department, the Transportation Department, the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative, and the Environmental Protection Agency have all been absorbed by the influence industry, though not all of them have registered as lobbyists.” (There’s a table showing all the former administration officials who registered to lobby in the story.)
— Many former Trump administration officials are lobbying only Congress. “But others have found Trump’s ethics rules haven’t prevented them from lobbying the administration — including on issues strikingly similar to ones they worked on while in government.” Some of them appear to be taking advantage of a loophole in Trump’s ethics pledge “that allows former administration officials to lobby the administration on rule-making and licensing matters.”
— Thomas Spulak, a lawyer at King & Spalding “who has advised clients on Trump’s ethics rules, said the loophole that allows former administration officials to lobby on permitting and licensing issues is so broad it “can encompass almost anything that an agency or department does.” Former administration officials “can attempt to influence anyone in the Executive Branch on virtually all of the things that they can do, provided they register,’ he wrote in an email.”
SEVEN LETTER, O’NEILL AND ASSOCIATES TO MERGE: The Washington public affairs firm Seven Letter is merging with O’Neill and Associates, the Boston-based lobbying and public affairs firm led by former Massachusetts Lt. Gov. Thomas P. O’Neill III. The new firm will boast more than 40 staffers and will do business under the Seven Letter name. Seven Letter is itself the product of a relatively recent merger: The firm was created after the Democratic public affairs shop Blue Engine Message & Media bought the Republican firm JDA Frontline in 2018. “It’s really about adding capacity and highly skilled, smart talent,” Erik Smith, a Seven Letter partner, said in an interview.
DEFENSE CONTRACTORS ASK TRUMP ADMINISTRATION FOR CORONAVIRUS AID: “The top executives of eight major defense contractors are warning the White House and Pentagon of dire consequences for the defense industrial base — and efforts to modernize the military — without extra funding to cover pandemic-related costs,” POLITICO’s Connor O’Brien reports.
— “In separate letters on Tuesday to acting White House budget chief Russ Vought and Pentagon acquisition chief Ellen Lord obtained by POLITICO, the CEOs warned that, without more funding, the costs imposed by a program aimed at buoying the defense industry could force the Pentagon to dip into procurement and research and development accounts needed for military modernization.” Among the signatories: BAE Systems, Raytheon, L3Harris Technologies, Boeing, Textron, General Dynamics, Lockheed Martin and Huntington Ingalls Industries.
SKDK EXPANDS HEALTH CARE PRACTICE: “SKDKnickerbocker is launching a dedicated health care division that rolls up its disparate services and builds on its recent acquisitions of Sloane & Company and Seward Square Strategies,” POLITICO’s Dan Diamond reports. “The practice will be led by longtime SKDK executive Loren Riegelhaupt and Meaghan Smith, an SKDK senior vice president who was a senior [Department of Health and Human Services] official during the Obama administration.”
OPEN YOUR WALLETS: Rep. Steve Scalise (R-La.) “is inviting lobbyists to attend a four-day ‘Summer Meeting’ at Disney World’s Polynesian Village in Florida, all but daring donors to swallow their concern about coronavirus and contribute $10,000 to his leadership PAC,” Axios’ Hans Nichols reports. The fundraiser starts July 31. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, meanwhile, “hasn’t made a final call on his annual August Jackson Hole gathering for big donors, but may cancel it, according to an aide.”
JUSTICE DEPARTMENT, FTC SEEM TO BE LOOKING INTO TIKTOK: TikTok “is the subject of an inquiry by the U.S. Federal Trade Commission and Justice Department over its data practices, according to a children’s privacy advocate who says he was interviewed by the agencies,” Bloomberg News’ Ben Brody and Daniel Stoller report. The agencies “asked Josh Golin, executive director of the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood, about allegations that his group and others filed with the FTC, Golin said. Several privacy groups alleged in May that the app, which is popular with teens, was collecting information about children under 13 without parental permission, in violation of both U.S. privacy law and an earlier FTC settlement.”
WHICH POLITICAL FIRMS GOT SMALL BUSINESS: The New York Times’ Ken Vogel has a rundown of some of the polling and political consulting firms that received Paycheck Protection Program loans. (PI had a rundown of some of the lobbying and public affairs firms that did so in Tuesday’s edition.) Two polling firms that have done work for Joe Biden’s campaign — Anzalone Research and Lake Research Partners — got loans, although both of them also do work for non-political clients.
— “Anzalone, which is based in Alabama, lists companies including Airbnb and Volkswagen, as well as the Chicago Cubs and the Seattle Seahawks, among its clients. Lake Research’s founder and president, Celinda Lake, said less than half of the firm’s revenue was from ‘electoral politics.’ She said, ‘We do a lot of different kinds of work — marketing, government, nonprofits, labor unions, corporate.’”
— “Loans also went to three firms that have collectively been paid more than $3 million for direct mail by the Biden campaign — Belardi Wong, Chapman Cubine and Hussey and Resonance Campaigns. A spokesman for Belardi Wong said that 99 percent of its work was for consumer brands, mostly in high-end fashion and home goods. The firm sought a loan in response to ‘the downturn in demand for consumer goods and its impact on their business,’ he said.”
— “At least three firms or their affiliates received loans totaling at least $1.7 million while being paid millions by [President Donald] Trump’s re-election campaign and the committees supporting it.” One of them, America Rising, “received a loan worth $350,000 to $1 million. America Rising used the loan to keep employees on the payroll, said its founder and chief executive, Joe Pounder. He said the company had already completely paid back the loan ‘with interest.’”
— Strategic Marketing Innovations has hired Patricia Rojas-Ungár as a vice president. She was previously a lobbyist for the Outdoor Industry Association.
— Nicholas Kent is joining the Duane Morris LLP as a senior education policy adviser, POLITICO’s Morning Education reports. He previously was senior vice president of policy and research at Career Education Colleges and Universities.
— Rob Noel has left the State Department, where he was a speechwriter for Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, to start Washington Writers Network, a speechwriting and op-ed agency for freelance writers, per Playbook.
End Citizens United 2020 (Rep. Colin Allred, Jackie Gordon for Congress, Michelle for Kansas, Sri for Congress, End Citizens United)
Palmetto Oak Victory Committee (Sens. David Perdue and Lindsey Graham, NRSC)
Immigrant Power PAC (Super PAC)
Landslide (Hybrid PAC)
Michigan Progressive Action (Super PAC)
Minnesota Progressive Action (Super PAC)
Run and Organize (Super PAC)
Atlantic Strategies Group: Arnold & Porter Kaye Scholer LLP obo Cerberus Capital Management, LP
Atlantic Strategies Group: Arnold & Porter Kaye Scholer LLp obo First Key Homes
Atlantic Strategies Group: Preserving American Furniture & Manufacturing (informal coalition)
Ballard Partners, LLC: MCI, LC
Ballard Partners, LLC: Nanobiosym Diagnostics, Inc.
Bluebird Strategies: Global Down Syndrome Foundation
Christie 55 Solutions LLC: Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority (PREPA)
Collective Communications LLC: Billings Flying Service
Crossroads Strategies, LLC: American Shrimp Processors Association
Crossroads Strategies, LLC: LHC Group
Crossroads Strategies, LLC: Sanderson Farms, Inc.
George H. Denison: Albert Yuma Mulindi
Government Relations Group, LLC: National Bio+Green Sciences LLC
K-Beaz Consulting LLC: Humana Military
Liebman & Associates, Inc.: Nozomi Networks, Inc.
Mercury Public Affairs, LLC: Osiris Ventures LLC
Mercury Public Affairs, LLC: Sanit Technologies LLC d/b/a Durisan
Mr. Brendan Neal: Van Heuvelen Strategies on behalf of Trestle Energy
Plurus Strategies, LLC: Cadmus
Plurus Strategies, LLC: SmartPower
The Vogel Group: Danieli Taranis LLC
Turnberry Solutions, LLC: Elevate Textiles
Turnberry Solutions, LLC: Turn Therapeutics
Bergen & Parkinson, LLC: Foundation for Individual Rights in Education
Bluebird Strategies: Faegre Baker Daniels Consulting (on behalf of Global Down Syndrome Foundation)
BlueWater Strategies: Waste Control Specialists LLC
Breaux Lott Leadership Group: Airlines For America
Breaux Lott Leadership Group: National Association of Broadcasters
Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP: Financial Services Forum
Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP: JPMorgan Chase Bank N.A.
David Wade/GreenLight Strategies LLC: Facebook
Kaplan Kirsch & Rockwell LLP: City of Pocatello
Kaplan Kirsch & Rockwell LLP: Rhode Island Airport Corporation
Lee & Smith, PC: Space Dynamics Laboratory (SDL)
Lugar Hellmann Group: Google Inc.
McGuireWoods Consulting (A Subsidiary of McGuireWoods LLP): 5G Action Now
McGuireWoods Consulting (A Subsidiary of McGuireWoods LLP): AmeriHealth Caritas
Miller & Chevalier, Chtd: Ryan, LLC
MLJ Strategies: Bockorny Group, Inc. on behalf of National Rental Home Council
Policy Development Group: Secured Financial Solutions
Schagrin Associates: ADEX Medical Staffing
Schagrin Associates: National Association of Wine Retailers
Shearman & Sterling, LLP: Confederacion de Asociaciones Agricolas del Estado de Sinaloa, A.C. (CAADES)
Squire Patton Boggs: CHEP USA
Squire Patton Boggs: Entegris, Inc.
Squire Patton Boggs: Invenergy LLC
Squire Patton Boggs: LogistiCare Solutions, LLC