With Daniel Lippman
FIRST IN PI — RUSH’S TOP AIDE HEADS BACK TO K STREET: Yardly Pollas-Kimble, who is currently chief of staff to Rep. Bobby Rush (D-Ill.), is heading back downtown to join the lobbying firm Venable. Pollas-Kimble rejoined the Illinois Democrat’s office in 2015 after seven years in the private sector, leading government affairs for Motorola before becoming a principal at Upstream Consulting and then starting her own firm.
— In a statement provided by Venable, Rush called Pollas-Kimble a “key part of my life in Congress for almost 20 years,” adding that he will be keeping her on speed dial. As a “true confidant, advisor, friend,” he said, “we have become part of each other’s families, celebrating triumphs and mourning tragedies.
— Rep. Yvette Clarke (D-N.Y.) called Pollas-Kimble “the personification of Black girl magic” and a “trailblazer who remains at the forefront of telecommunications and tech policy,” which Pollas-Kimble told PI in an interview will be among her focuses at Venable. “What I like about Venable is that they’re the ones you go to for when something is complicated, you don’t understand the area of the law — they’ve got that expertise there,” she said.
DROBAC, WALDEN RE-SIGN OLD TECH CLIENTS: Dentons tech lobbyists Michael Drobac and Greg Walden (not to be confused with the former congressman) have signed back about half a dozen of their old clients from their time at McGuireWoods Consulting. The App Coalition, which Drobac and another McGuireWoods lobbyist led, seeks to represent the interests of smaller app companies. The coalition parted ways with McGuireWoods when Drobac and Walden left last fall. The duo also signed Booking.com, whose subsidiaries are part of the App Coalition, and Digital Content Next, Infosys and Perry Street Software. In December, they re-signed the drone group Small UAV Coalition.
CLARK HILL ADDS DeLAURO CHIEF: Leticia Mederos is leaving the Hill after two decades to join Clark Hill as a senior managing director in the firm’s government and regulatory affairs practice. Mederos was most recently chief of staff to new House Appropriations Chair Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.), who is overseeing a revival of the earmarks process, and previously served as director of labor policy for the Senate HELP and House Education and Labor committees. Mederos will register to lobby, according to the firm.
CHAMBER SOFTENS ITS STANCE ON ELECTION OBJECTORS: The U.S. Chamber of Commerce on Friday said it won’t necessarily withhold support from the 146 lawmakers who voted against certification of electoral college votes in the wake of Jan. 6’s insurrection, arguing in a memo that the powerful business lobby does not view it “appropriate to judge members of Congress solely” based on those votes.
— “There is a meaningful difference between a member of Congress who voted no on the question of certifying the votes of certain states and those who engaged and continue to engage in repeated actions that undermine the legitimacy of our elections and institutions,” Ashlee Rich Stephenson, the trade group’s senior political strategist, wrote. “For example, casting a vote is different than organizing the rally of January 6th or continuing to push debunked conspiracy theories.”
— That’s an apparent departure from the rhetoric Chamber leaders used in the days after supporters of former President Donald Trump infiltrated the Capitol in early January, when chief policy officer Neil Bradley said in a news conference in January that some lawmakers will have “forfeited the support of the Chamber” by their actions surrounding the insurrection, and outgoing CEO Tom Donohue said days before the insurrection that voting to object to the results “undermines our democracy and the rule of law.”
HOW THE SAUDIS SHIFTED THEIR LOBBYING STRATEGY SINCE KHASHOGGI: USA Today’s Deirdre Shesgreen looks at “a new Saudi government lobbying strategy – launched in the wake of Jamal Khashoggi‘s murder inside a Saudi consulate in 2018 – focused on reaching out to state and local officials from New Orleans to Anchorage. The pitch: Saudi Arabia is a pivotal global player in the midst of a transformation on women’s rights.”
— “Records show that the Saudi government has not abandoned its Washington-focused lobbying. Their consultants reported more than 650 contacts with the House and Senate and another 123 with D.C.-based think tanks, according to the Foreign Influence Transparency Initiative‘s analysis. However, there’s been a remarkable shift in focus,” according to Ben Freeman, the initiative’s director. “More than 1,000 of the country’s nearly 2,000 reported lobbying contacts in 2020 were to individuals and groups outside the Beltway.”
FLYING IN (VIRTUALLY): The National Association for the Education of Young Children is conducting a multiday virtual fly-in for early childhood educators from around the country that started last week and will continue this week to push for keeping billions in child care aid in the recently passed relief package as well as investments in early childhood education and educators as part of an infrastructure bill. Educators will meet with more than 200 congressional offices on both sides of the aisle, including 63 Senate offices and leadership for relevant committees in both chambers, according to the trade organization.
MARYLAND BIOTECH FIRM EMPLOYED ‘WHO’S WHO’ OF INFLUENCERS TO SELL MILLIONS TO NATIONAL STOCKPILE: “As health workers resorted to wearing trash bags” at the peak of the coronavirus pandemic last year, Maryland biotech firm Emergent Biosolutions “profited by selling anthrax vaccines to the country’s emergency reserve,” The New York Times’ Chris Hamby and Sheryl Gay Stolberg report. Emergent’s chief executive Robert Kramer has boasted of “‘extensive relationships across multiple agencies within the federal government’” that boosted the company’s bottom line.
— Those relationships “form a web of revolving-door connections across Washington,” an investigation by The New York Times found, that has included a former cabinet member, a retired Army general, three former members of Congress and a bipartisan array of former government employees. Over half of Emergent’s “current board members have previously served in government,” and it “also has a corps of paid influencers, which has included lobbyists from more than a dozen firms with deep ties to Capitol Hill.”
ICYMI — GIG COMPANIES BLINDSIDED BY RELIEF BILL TAX PROVISION: “Airbnb, Etsy and other pillars of the gig economy are shaping up to be rare losers in Democrats’ coronavirus relief package,” POLITICO’s Brian Faler reports. “Buried in the legislation are provisions that will require them to provide a lot more information to the IRS about the money millions of people earn through their platforms, which is likely to bring in billions of dollars more in federal taxes.”
— Robert O’Brien, who was former President Donald Trump’s last national security adviser, is rejoining Larson LLP, the law firm he founded in Los Angeles, as of counsel, with an international practice on arbitration, our Daniel Lippman reports.
— Alex Calabro will be PAC director & Mid-Atlantic deputy finance director at the DSCC. He was most recently a fundraising consultant at Chraca Friedman Group.
— Angela Ebiner is now policy adviser to Sen. Alex Padilla (D-Calif.), per Playbook. She most recently was a vice president at Cassidy & Associates, where she lobbied for clients such as Intel, Charter Communications and California utility provider Pacific Gas & Electric.
— Aaron White is joining the Progressive Policy Institute as its new communications director. He was previously communications director for Rep. Sean Maloney (D-N.Y.).
— Carter Christensen is joining Edelman‘s D.C. office to work with the Energy Department. He was previously communications director for the Progressive Policy Institute.
— Cavan Jones will be manager of federal government affairs at the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. He was most recently deputy finance director on the Gil Cisneros campaign.
— Michael Ahrens is joining Bullpen Strategy Group as a vice president in its strategic communications and public affairs advisory practice, Playbook reports. He most recently was communications director for the RNC, and is a Marco Rubio campaign alum.
Americans for a Public Health Insurance Option (PAC)
DOORS PAC (Super PAC)
DT Midstream Holdings, LLC PAC (PAC)
Florida for Change PAC (PAC)
Gender Critical Greens PAC (PAC)
NEW YORK NEW LEADERSHIP PAC (Super PAC)
Reboot Wisconsin Super Pac (Super PAC)
The Redacted Caucus Liberty Project (Super PAC)
Republican Progress P.A.C. (PAC)
Trust God Party of God Part (PAC)
Cornerstone Government Affairs, Inc.: Centene Corporation
Cornerstone Government Affairs, Inc.: Torch Research LLC
Dentons US LLP: App Coalition
Dentons US LLP: Booking.Com B.V.
Dentons US LLP: Digital Content Next
Dentons US LLP: Infosys Limited
Dentons US LLP: Perry Street Software, Inc.
Dutko Worldwide, LLC: Armorworks
Glencoe Strategies LLC: Air-Conditioning, Heating, And Refrigeration Institute (Ahri)
Maynard, Cooper & Gale, P.C.: Paragon Research Corporation
Pareto Policy Solutions, LLC: Rivian
S-3 Group: Premiumestore LLC, Dba Premium-Ppe
Strategies 360: Center For Employment Opportunities, Inc.
Strategos Public Affairs: Scanstat Technologies, LLC
Summit Strategies Government Affairs LLC: Autodesk, Inc
The Spectrum Group: Scone Medical Solutions
Wiley Rein LLP: Lightbox Parent, L.P.
Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney, Pc: Pebble Limited Partnership
Faegre Drinker Biddle & Reath LLP (Formerly Known As Drinker Biddle & Reath LLP): American Bearing Manufacturers Association
Faegre Drinker Biddle & Reath LLP (Formerly Known As Drinker Biddle & Reath LLP): Best Buy
Faegre Drinker Biddle & Reath LLP (Formerly Known As Drinker Biddle & Reath LLP): Dw National Standard- Stillwater, LLC
Faegre Drinker Biddle & Reath LLP (Formerly Known As Drinker Biddle & Reath LLP): Indo-Mim Private Limited
Faegre Drinker Biddle & Reath LLP (Formerly Known As Drinker Biddle & Reath LLP): Mitsubishi Chemical America, Inc.
Faegre Drinker Biddle & Reath LLP (Formerly Known As Drinker Biddle & Reath LLP): Schaeffler Group USa Inc.
Faegre Drinker Biddle & Reath LLP (Formerly Known As Drinker Biddle & Reath LLP): Schindler Elevator Corporation
Faegre Drinker Biddle & Reath LLP (Formerly Known As Drinker Biddle & Reath LLP): Streamlight
Merevir Consulting: Giant Cement Holding Inc.
The Crane Group Inc: Cayuga Indian Nation Of New York