With David Beavers and Daniel Lippman
WHICH DEMOCRATS ARE IN THE CHAMBER’S GOOD GRACES: The U.S. Chamber of Commerce announced the results of its annual scorecard this morning, which shows many of House Democrats elected for the first time in the 2018 wave doing relatively well. Among House Democrats, 34 voted with the Chamber last year at least 70 percent of the time — the threshold below which the Chamber won’t consider endorsing candidates — compared to 31 in 2018. That’s actually a slight drop in the percentage of House Democrats backing the Chamber’s priorities when you take into account the seats the party won in 2018 — but many of the new lawmakers are among those most closely aligned with the Chamber.
— Rep. Joe Cunningham (D-S.C.), who won a Republican-held district in 2018, received a score of 91 percent — the highest percentage of any Democratic lawmaker and higher than Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell or House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy. Two other vulnerable Democratic freshmen, Reps. Kendra Horn (D-Okla.) and Anthony Brindisi (D-N.Y.), notched scores of 87, and 19 other freshmen scored above 70 percent. Several others who scored above the threshold are longtime lawmakers, including Reps. Collin Peterson (D-Minn.); Henry Cuellar (D-Texas), for whom the Chamber aired TV ads in a successful effort to help him fend off a primary challenge in March; and Dan Lipinski (D-Ill.), who lost a primary challenge of his own earlier this year.
— The Chamber, which has traditionally favored Republicans, has said it wants to become more bipartisan — it changed its scorecard this year to give lawmakers credit for working across the aisle — but it remains to be seen whether the trade group will commit resources to backing any of the House Democratic freshmen in the fall, when Cunningham, Horn, Brindisi and others are expected to face tough faces.
— What about Senate Democrats? Just four hit the 70 percent threshold: Sens. Doug Jones (D-Ala.), Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.), Michael Bennet (D-Colo.) and Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), along with Sen. Angus King (I-Maine), who caucuses with Democrats. Only Jones is up for reelection this year. Five Democrats and King had scores of at least 70 in 2018; one of them, Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.), lost reelection.
TRANSIT COALITION HIRES AKIN GUMP: The North American Transit Alliance, a new coalition of private companies that operate public transit, has hired Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld. Former Rep. Vic Fazio (D-Calif.) and three other Akin Gump lobbyists will represent the coalition, whose members operate transit in cities such as Los Angeles, San Francisco, Boston, Washington, Seattle, Atlanta and Baltimore, according to the coalition’s website. “The COVID-19 pandemic has had a severe impact on public transit in North America, and NATA companies have worked diligently beside their public transit agency partners to continue to provide necessary mobility and other community services during this extraordinary time,” Paul Comfort, the coalition’s executive director, said in a statement earlier this month.
VENEZUELA TRIED TO RECRUIT PETE SESSIONS: “Venezuela’s socialist government tried to recruit then-Congressman Pete Sessions to broker a meeting with the CEO of Exxon Mobil at the same time it was secretly paying a close former House colleague $50 million to keep U.S. sanctions at bay,” The Associated Press’ Joshua Goodman reports. “An official at state-run oil giant PDVSA sent an email to the Texas Republican on June 8, 2017 seeking his help arranging a meeting between Venezuela’s oil minister and Darren Woods, then Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s successor at the helm of the Irving, Texas-based Exxon. The purpose: to lure Exxon back to Venezuela after a decade’s absence and inject much-needed dynamism into the OPEC nation’s collapsing oil industry.”
— “The email, which was seen by the AP, has been shared with U.S. federal law enforcement looking into the person who allegedly instructed Sessions to send the email: former [Rep. David Rivera (R-Fla.)], according to two people familiar with the investigation who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss the politically sensitive matter.” Rivera was working as a consultant for PDVSA’s U.S. subsidiary at the time — “a business deal now being investigated by federal prosecutors in Miami because he never registered as an agent of a foreign government.”
CHAMBER PUSHING REPUBLICANS TO HELP STATES, CITIES: “City halls and statehouses are getting a boost in their scramble for federal aid from an unexpected source: the U.S. Chamber of Commerce,” POLITICO’s Katy Murphy, Kellie Mejdrich and Bernie Becker report. The Chamber “says if help doesn’t come, states and cities will likely lay off more workers, cut services and raise taxes, deepening the economic crisis. Businesses are concerned, especially about taxes.
— “As state and local governments struggle with how to plug pandemic-induced budget holes, businesses see a play in helping them get aid from Congress to avoid shouldering more of the burden. ‘Part of our conversation with Republicans on Capitol Hill is that ironically, if your concern is big state government, then the last thing you want to do is force states to replace one-time lost revenue with permanent tax increases,’ said Neil Bradley, the U.S. Chamber’s chief policy officer, in an interview.”
AT&T WILL LOBBY FOR MORE BROADBAND FUNDING: “AT&T will lobby Congress to revamp the U.S.’ broadband policies, including funding for programs that ensure Americans can access the internet regardless of their location or income,” POLITICO’s Leah Nylen reports. “‘The COVID-19 crisis laid bare critical shortcomings in our approach to universal service,’ AT&T’s Ed Gillespie said in a blog post today. … At least 18 million people lack access to broadband internet service, and 15 percent of U.S. households with school-age children do not have high-speed internet at home.”
IF YOU MISSED IT ON FRIDAY: “The Treasury Department and Small Business Administration bowed to congressional pressure Friday and said they will disclose information on companies that received loans under the government’s massive small business rescue program,” POLITICO’s Victoria Guida reports. “The names of companies and nonprofits that got loans larger than $150,000 under the Paycheck Protection Program will be released, along with other identifying information, the agencies said in a statement. Loan amounts will only be given within a certain range.”
— “Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said the move represents an agreement with the bipartisan leaders of the Senate Small Business Committee, which is headed by Sens. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) and Ben Cardin (D-Md.). Those lawmakers had asked for all borrowers to be identified; the deal will cover nearly 75 percent of the more than $500 billion that has been lent out, though only a minority of the 4.5 million total beneficiaries.”
— EMD Serono has hired Daniel Harder as director of U.S. government affairs. He was previously an in-house lobbyist for Allergan.
— Michael Robbins is joining the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International as executive vice president of advocacy and government affairs, POLITICO’s Morning Transportation reports. He will remain chief operating officer at the Moak Group.
— CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield has hired Kelly Ceballos as director of public relations and internal communications, per POLITICO Pulse. She was previously the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ deputy director of media relations.
Iowa Grassroots Victory Fund (Theresa Greenfield for Iowa, Iowa Democratic Party)
Action on All Fronts (Super PAC)
American Policy Fund (Super PAC)
Best Days Lie Ahead Committee (Super PAC)
CABIA Action, Inc. (Super PAC)
Defeat by Tweet (Super PAC)
Fight on All Fronts (PAC)
Late Breakers PAC (Super PAC)
oit (Super PAC)
Our Black Party (Hybrid PAC)
Public Lands Access for Recreation PAC (PAC)
Send in the Marine PAC (Super PAC)
The New Jersey Childhood Literacy Political Action Committee (Super PAC)
USMC (Super PAC)
Akin, Gump, Strauss, Hauer & Feld: North American Transit Alliance
Baker Donelson Bearman Caldwell & Berkowitz /The Daschle Group: Predictive Technology Group, Inc.
Dentons US LLP: King Ranch, Inc.
Lucas | Compton, LLC formerly Madison Policy Group, LLC: The Berman Law Group, LLP
Michael Best Strategies LLC: HouseCanary, Inc.
Peck Madigan Jones: Avenue Solutions
Squire Patton Boggs: Zippo Manufacturing Company
STMS Consulting Partners, LLC D/B/A “Sorial Consulting”: The Berman Law Group
Gordon Thomas Honeywell Governmental Affairs: International Boxing Federation