This is the dawning of the age of the virtual wine fundraiser


With David Beavers and Daniel Lippman

CRUZ FUNDRAISER TONIGHT WILL FEATURE ‘INFLUENCE’ CHARDONNAY: With traditional fundraisers canceled due to the pandemic, lawmakers have turned to Zoom events to raise cash — including virtual wine tastings, which have replaced happy hour fundraisers. Rep. Vicente Gonzalez (D-Texas) held one last month and Reps. Jim McGovern (D-Mass.), Salud Carbajal (D-Calif.) and Kurt Schrader (D-Ore.) are set to hold wine-centered fundraisers this week, according to a Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee fundraising schedule obtained by PI.

— Now Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) is getting in on the action. He’ll host a virtual wine tasting this evening and another next week with Michael Herson, a lobbyist at American Defense International, according to an invitation obtained by PI. Herson is also supplying the wine, which sports K Street-inspired names. “I hope you will be able to join us and of course Sen. Ted Cruz as we sip and discuss ‘Access’ Merlot and ‘Influence’ Chardonnay from Herson Family Vineyards,” the invitation reads. “Michael is a level one Master Sommelier and will answer ANY and ALL wine questions from glass/bottle shape to the aging process. Sen. Cruz of course will chat about policy, current events and I am sure have some great wine questions.” Attendees can pick up their wine from Cruz’s office.

NEW BUSINESS: EFB Advocacy will lobby and run strategic communications for a new coalition of groups representing nonprofits that choose to avoid paying state unemployment insurance taxes by instead reimbursing the state directly for claims paid out to former employees. Due to a provision in the coronavirus relief bill that President Donald Trump signed in March, such nonprofits that have laid off workers due to the pandemic will be on the hook for 50 percent of claims paid out to legions of laid-off employees, according to John Feehery, an EFB partner. “The problem is a lot of these nonprofits are really on a shoestring,” he said.

— Feehery’s firm plans to lobby Congress and the administration to include a fix in the next relief package, he said. The coalition, which doesn’t have a name yet, includes the 501(c) Agencies Trust, UST, the Nonprofit Trust and First Nonprofit.

Good afternoon, and welcome to PI. Tips: [email protected]. Twitter: @theodoricmeyer.

JUSTICE DEPARTMENT MOVING TO INVESTIGATE APPLE: “The Justice Department and a coalition of state attorneys general are taking the first steps toward launching an antitrust probe of Apple, turning the iPhone-maker into the latest Silicon Valley giant to face legal jeopardy in Washington, three people involved in the discussions told POLITICO,” POLITICO’s Leah Nylen reports. The individuals said the Justice Department and the attorneys general “have spoken to several companies unhappy with Apple’s ironclad control of its App Store, the source of frequent griping by developers who say the company’s rules are applied inconsistently — particularly for apps that compete with Apple’s own products — and lead to higher prices and fewer choices for consumers.”

SMALLER AIRLINES WANT MORE CORONAVIRUS RELIEF: Smaller U.S. airlines are likely to need more government aid amid an uncertain travel recovery, according to a trade group that represents discounters such as Spirit Airlines Inc., Frontier Airlines and Allegiant Travel Co.,” Bloomberg NewsMary Schlangenstein and Alan Levin report. “The National Air Carrier Association would like to see a ‘clean extension’ of existing federal payroll support as airlines wait for more passengers to fly amid the Covid-19 pandemic, Chief Executive Officer George Novak said Tuesday.”

K STREET’S CONVENTION PLANS ARE UP IN THE AIR: Top lobbying firms such as Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld and BGR Group and trade groups such as the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the National Association of Realtors haven’t decided whether they’ll attend the Democratic and Republican conventions due to the pandemic, Roll Call’s Kate Ackley Zeller reports. “We had planned to be on the ground in Charlotte and Milwaukee and actively involved,” Shannon McGahn of the National Association of Realtors said in a statement to Roll Call. “However, we realize the situation is fluid, and we are monitoring events and looking for new ways to participate. No decision has been made.”

SILICON VALLEY DECRIES H-1B VISA RESTRICTIONS: “Silicon Valley executives criticized President Trump’s order suspending new immigration on several employment-based visas programs, warning it could damage the U.S. tech industry’s competitiveness and ultimately jeopardize domestic job creation,” The Wall Street Journal‘s Asa Fitch and Aaron Tilley report. “The temporary ban, announced Monday, includes the H-1B type of visa for high-skilled workers many tech companies employ.”

— “Apple Inc. Chief Executive Tim Cook, Tesla Inc. CEO Elon Musk and Sundar Pichai, boss of Google-parent Alphabet Inc., were among the executives who criticized the action. Mr. Cook on Tuesday said on Twitter he was ‘deeply disappointed by this proclamation.’ Amazon.com Inc. called the measure shortsighted.”

— The American Iron and Steel Institute’s board has tapped Kevin Dempsey, the trade group’s senior vice president for public policy and general counsel, as interim president and chief executive. He’ll succeed Thomas Gibson, who announced in March that he would retire.

Greg Rogers is joining autonomous vehicles startup Nuro next month as public policy manager. He was previously director of government affairs and mobility innovation at Securing America’s Future Energy.

Take Flight Committee, Inc. (Rep. Jack Bergman, John James for Senate, Inc., Michigan Republican Party)

Ha ha, the Empty blue seats just DOMINATED YOU YOU FAT PUNK (PAC)
NAIOP of Ohio, Inc. PAC (PAC)
Raptor PAC (Leadership PAC: August Pfluger)
Vote Local Vote Blue (PAC)

Avenue Solutions: FMAP Coalition (informal coalition)
Cuneo Gilbert & LaDuca: Aqua Conscience, Inc.
David Murray: Pivotal Commware
Invariant LLC: Advantek Waste Management Services LLC
Invariant LLC: Health Catalyst, Inc.
K&L Gates LLP: Clark Street Associates on behalf of Lattice Semiconductor
K&L Gates LLP: Seastreak LLC
Mason Street Consulting, LLC: Bockorny Group, Inc. on behalf of Cognosante, LLC

American Alliance of Orthopaedic Executives: American Alliance of Orthopaedic Executives
Mercury Public Affairs, LLC: Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala





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