With Daniel Lippman
NEW BUSINESS: Tencent, the Chinese company behind the WeChat app that’s ubiquitous in China, isn’t the only one lobbying on the executive order that President Donald Trump issued last month cracking down on WeChat. Alticor, the conglomerate owned by the DeVos and Van Andel families, of which Education Secretary Betsy DeVos is a member, has hired Victor Smith of Bose Public Affairs last month to lobby on the executive order, according to a disclosure filing. It’s not clear what Smith, who served as Indiana’s commerce secretary while Vice President Mike Pence was the state’s governor, didn’t respond to a request for comment. Neither did Amway, the multilevel marketing company of which Alticor is the parent company and which has a major presence in China.
— Prudential, meanwhile, has added Thorn Run Partners to its roster of outside lobbying firms after recently bringing on BGR Group. Thorn Run’s Beau Schuyler and Charles Thomas will lobby on tax and retirement issues, according to a disclosure filing. And 1776 Pharmaceuticals, which describes itself on its website as a company dedicated to as to bringing “back the manufacturing of essential medicines” to the U.S., has hired teams of lobbyists at Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld and Covington & Burling to lobby on the issue, including former Rep. Howard Berman (D-Calif.) of Covington. The startup is affiliated with Zymergen, a California-based biotechnology company.
Good afternoon, and welcome to PI. There’s been so much good reporting on Sept. 11 and its aftermath over the past 19 years. Two of the stories that have stuck with me: Jim Stewart’s
“The Real Heroes Are Dead” and Eric Moskowitz’s story in The Boston Globe a decade after the attacks. Tips: [email protected]. You can also follow me on Twitter: @theodoricmeyer.
FOXX, JACKSON WILL HEADLINE BIDEN FUNDRAISER: Joe Biden’s “campaign is holding an infrastructure-themed fundraiser next week, hosted by a trio of former transportation officials who served under President Barack Obama, according to an invitation obtained by POLITICO,” POLITICO’s Sam Mintz and Kathryn A. Wolfe report. “Two Obama cabinet secretaries” — former Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx and former Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa Jackson — “will speak at the virtual fundraiser on Sept. 15, which is hosted by former DOT staffers John Porcari, Carlos Monje and Shailen Bhatt. Porcari, a consultant at WSP, and Monje, director of public policy and philanthropy at Twitter, are co-chairs of Biden’s infrastructure policy committee. Bhatt is CEO of the Intelligent Transportation Society of America. Tickets for the fundraiser range from $250 to $10,000.”
HOW THE PHARMACEUTICAL INDUSTRY IS FIGHTING LOWER DRUG PRICES: A nonprofit called the Institute for Clinical and Economic Review over the past five years “has pressured drugmakers to lower the cost of nearly 100 drugs,” Reuters’ Caroline Humer reports. “It aims to play a similar role with emerging COVID-19 treatments and vaccines. Health insurers increasingly use ICER’s fair-value analyses to limit access to expensive drugs or to negotiate steeper discounts with drugmakers.”
— The pharmaceutical industry, meanwhile, “has moved aggressively to combat the threat to its profits in two ways: With open criticism of ICER’s formula and with a stealthier campaign to undermine its credibility through proxies, including veterans’ groups and organizations that claim to advocate for patients but have ties to the pharmaceutical industry, Reuters found in a review of industry connections and funding among groups targeting ICER. Two such groups — the Partnership to Improve Patient Care (PIPC) and Value our Health — are led by employees of Thorn Run Partners, a Washington-based lobbying and public relations firm that counts nearly a dozen drugmakers as clients. PIPC denied it is part of a larger industry-financed proxy campaign to undermine ICER’s impact.”
WHITE HOUSE MOVES TO CURB REGULATORY ENFORCEMENT: “The White House is taking action to rein in enforcement activity by government agencies, calling for more input by political appointees and advising against opening more than one probe into the same company,” POLITICO’s Victoria Guida reports. “When it comes to investigations and actions against companies for regulatory violations, any ambiguity in the law should be read ‘in favor of the targeted party,’ according to a memo issued last week by Paul Ray, who heads the White House’s regulatory review office.”
— “The move comes in response to concerns by companies that government investigators wield too much power, but it has sparked criticism from government watchdog groups that it will handicap the oversight of wrongdoing by corporate America. Enforcement has already been steeply declining under the Trump administration for years, they say. ‘We’ve seen regulatory enforcement drop to historic lows across agencies in the Trump administration,’ said Amit Narang, regulatory expert at the public interest group Public Citizen. ‘So, I don’t see it as a shift in priorities, but more as like a codification of what is already the policy.’”
— Foley Hoag has hired Andrew Smith as a senior policy adviser in the firm’s administrative law department and a member of the cannabis and health care practices. He’ll be based in New York. He was previously an in-house lobbyist for the cannabis company Surterra Holdings.
— Prudential has promoted Bryan Pickel to head of external affairs, overseeing all of its government affairs operations. He was previously vice president of international government affairs.
SPOTTED: At the Dupont Circle home of José Cunningham, the executive director of the International Trade Association’s advocacy center, for a fundraiser benefiting Trump Victory headlined by Richard Grenell, President Donald Trump’s former acting director of national intelligence and U.S. ambassador to Germany, according to a PI tipster: Tommy Hicks Jr. of the Republican National Committee, Dan Crowley and Shane Shannon of K&L Gates, Robert Flock of the Credit Union National Association; Bob Kabel of the District of Columbia Republican Party, Don Bramer of the Bramer Group, Bobby Hamill of the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association and David Short of the Department of Transportation.
Act 4 Greater America Corp. (Hybrid PAC)
American Trade Association for Cannabis and Hemp PAC (ATACH PAC) (PAC)
Constitutional Crisis PAC (Super PAC)
Empower to Change PAC (Hybrid PAC)
GoBrands Inc. Political Action Committee (PAC)
Impact Vote Inc (Super PAC)
Jews Defending American Values (Super PAC)
Mariner Finance LLC Political Action Committee (PAC)
Patriotic Chickens (Super PAC)
The Accountability Project (Hybrid PAC)
The Emergency Committee to Save America (PAC)
Adams and Reese, LLP: Escambia County Healthcare Authority
Akin, Gump, Strauss, Hauer & Feld: The Crosby Group
Baker & Hostetler LLP: Venture Quest Capital Partners
Ballard Partners: Orchestra Technology, Inc.
Blank Rome Government Relations: National Association of Waterfront Employers
Greenberg Traurig, LLP: North State Aviation Holdings, LLC
J.A. Green and Company (formerly LLC): Mason Harriman Group
Relativity Space: Relativity Space
SC Partners LLC: Space Nuclear Power Corporation
Steptoe & Johnson LLP: Tetra Tech, Inc.
Thorn Run Partners: Prudential Financial, Inc.
Van Scoyoc Associates: American Transaction Processors Coalition
Monument Advocacy: National Young Farmers Coalition