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House bill would ban companies that get coronavirus aid from lobbying

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With David Beavers and Daniel Lippman

HOUSE BILL WOULD BAN COMPANIES THAT GET CORONAVIRUS AID FROM LOBBYING: “Corporations that receive coronavirus relief loans would be banned from lobbying the federal government” in draft legislation backed by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. With senators working to finalize a deal that the House would take up if it passes the Senate, House Democrats’ legislation is unlikely to become law. Still, the provision spurred anger on K Street on Monday as lobbyists discovered it.

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— The “bill would ban corporations from paying bonuses to their executives or paying any compensation to fired executives until the corporations repay their coronavirus relief loans to the federal government.” It “would also ban corporations receiving relief loans from buying back their own stock or paying out dividends to shareholders. … Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s bill, in contrast, only prohibits businesses that receive coronavirus relief funds from giving raises for two years to employees who make more than $425,000 a year. It also bans such companies from paying severance packages to employees who make more than $425,000 that are worth more than twice what the employee made last year.

— For what it’s worth: “Neither the bank bailouts of 2008 nor the rescue of General Motors and Chrysler the following year banned the companies receiving aid from retaining Washington lobbyists. General Motors, Chrysler and banks such as JPMorgan Chase and Wells Fargo continued to lobby the federal government after being bailed out, according to disclosure filings.”

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ANTI-CADILLAC TAX COALITION RETOOLS FOR CORONAVIRUS ERA: A coalition of health insurers, unions and other companies and trade groups that successfully pushed Congress to kill Obamacare’s “Cadillac tax” last year is regrouping to advocate for health insurance protections as part of Congress’ coronavirus relief efforts. The coalition, previously known as the Alliance to Fight the 40, will rebrand as the Alliance to Fight for Health Care. It will push Congress to enact a payroll tax credit for companies that continue to provide health insurance to their employees during the coronavirus crisis, among other ideas.

Heather Meade, Tara Bradshaw, Wes Coulam and Laura Dillon of Washington Council Ernst & Young and Katy Spangler of Spangler Strategies are running the coalition. The coalition’s members include the American Benefits Council, America’s Health Insurance Plans, the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association, Cigna and the United Brotherhood of Carpenters, among others.

GIBBS HEADS TO BULLY PULPIT: Robert Gibbs, a former White House press secretary in the Obama administration who later became global chief communications officer at McDonald’s, is going to the public affairs firm Bully Pulpit Interactive. He’ll be a senior counsel based in the firm’s Chicago office. He’s already familiar with the firm, which is full of Obama alumni. “I’ve been a BPI client, I founded a strategic communications agency BPI bought in 2016 and I’ve worked alongside many of them on campaigns,” Gibbs said in statement. “Seeing their incredible work and the measurable impact the team makes firsthand, made me want to be part of it myself.”

BOEING CEO DOESN’T WANT WASHINGTON TO TAKE A STAKE IN THE COMPANY: David Calhoun, Boeing‘s chief executive, told Fox Business he doesn’t want the federal government to take a stake in his company in exchange for a bailout. “‘I don’t have a need for an equity stake,’ Calhoun told FOX Business’ Maria Bartiromo. “I want them to support the credit markets, provide liquidity. Allow us to borrow against our future, which we all believe in very strongly and I think our creditors will too. It’s really that simple.” Calhoun suggested the company may reject aid if it required the government take an equity stake in the company. ‘If you attach too many things to it, of course you take a different course,’ he said.”

CHAMBER DEFENDS LOBBYING AGAINST USE OF DEFENSE PRODUCTION ACT: Six Democratic senators sent a letter to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce on Monday demanding answers following a report in The New York Times that the trade group had lobbied the Trump administration not to invoke the Defense Production Act as a way to ramp up production of medical equipment such as ventilators. “If these reports are true, you owe the American public an explanation for your actions,” Sens. Elizabeth Warren (Mass.), Ed Markey (Mass.), Brian Schatz (Hawaii), Chris Murphy (Conn.), Tammy Baldwin (Wis.) and Sheldon Whitehouse (R.I.) wrote in the letter.

— In an interview on Monday, Neil Bradley, the Chamber’s executive vice president and chief policy officer, confirmed the trade group had lobbied against using the law and defended the trade group’s stance. “The Defense Production Act has kind of become a political football, where you have a lot of people calling for invoking it, but they’re not exactly clear on what they would do once” it was invoked, he said. In a follow-up statement on Monday, he said that triggering “the law may do more harm than good in sectors such as pharmaceuticals and medical equipment because it creates uncertainty and confusion for the companies now working day and night to make these needed supplies.” Peter Gaynor, the Federal Emergency Management Agency administrator, said this morning that the administration would invoke the law for the first time to help ramp up production of coronavirus test kits.

NATIONAL RIFLE ASSOCIATION CUTS SALARIES: “The National Rifle Association is cutting salaries 20 percent and bracing for layoffs, as the coronavirus pandemic forces the nonprofit to cancel its annual meeting set for April and a wide range of upcoming fundraisers and programs, according to a memo to staffers from the nonprofit’s leadership Monday,” The Washington Post’s Beth Reinhard reports. “More than 800 people worked at the NRA in 2018, according to its latest tax filing, although that number includes part-time workers who would not be affected by the reductions. Schedules for hourly workers will be reduced from five to four days a week, the memo said.”

— “Some top NRA officials, including chief executive Wayne LaPierre, are taking salary reductions greater than 20 percent, according to a person familiar with the cuts who was not authorized to speak publicly about them. … LaPierre received a total of about $2.2 million from the NRA and related entities in 2018, including a base salary of $1.27 million, tax documents show.”

— Has your trade group cut salaries or moved toward layoffs? Do you know of any that have? Let me know, anonymously: [email protected]. You can also reach me on Signal: 917.370.1996.

NEW RESTAURANT COALITION URGES CONGRESS TO HELP THE INDUSTRY: Restaurateurs have organized a new group, the Independent Restaurant Coalition, to lobby Congress for help as the restaurant industry faces a crisis, Bloomberg Government’s Megan Wilson reports. The coalition has “hired lobbyists and a public affairs firm co-founded by Stephanie Cutter, who previously served as a senior campaign aide to former President Barack Obama.” Tom Colicchio, one of the chefs involved in the effort, said he and the group are “pushing for an income replacement program based on what individual restaurants reported earning the previous year.”

— “‘We’re in the room where these negotiations are happening,’ he said, noting he was on the phone with a member of Congress before the interview. Lawmakers, he added, are being receptive to their requests. ‘If you replace my income, I rehire everyone who has been laid off. They’re working — or at least employed,’ said Colicchio, who had to lay off 300 people. Businesses and employees would still pay taxes on that income to keep money flowing to Social Security, Medicaid and Medicare.”

OIL AND GAS INDUSTRY WONDERS IF TRUMP HAS ITS BACK: President Donald Trump has been a strong ally of oil and gas — but some executives are wondering whether he grasps the severity of the crisis now confronting the industry, POLITICO’s Ben Lefebvre reports. “‘Good for the consumer, gasoline prices coming down!’ Trump tweeted on March 9, as the domestic oil price fell by 25 percent.”

— In interviews, “half a dozen industry officials who have talked with White House officials in recent days described Trump as slow to comprehend the twin body blows a global pandemic and a price war between Saudi Arabia and Russia would have on an industry he has long supported. Oil prices at $20 a barrel threaten to rain destruction on an industry that has donated $1.8 million to Trump’s reelection campaign and employs hundreds of thousands of people in states key to any hope to beat his eventual Democratic rival for the presidency.”

IF YOU MISSED IT ON MONDAY: “President Trump’s private business has shut down six of its top seven revenue-producing clubs and hotels because of restrictions meant to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus, potentially depriving Trump’s company of millions of dollars in revenue,” The Washington Post’s David Fahrenthold, Joshua Partlow and Jonathan O’Connell report. “Those closures come as Trump is considering easing restrictions on movement sooner than federal public health experts recommend, in the name of reducing the virus’s economic damage.”

— The Trump Organization, which is run by Trump’s sons, “has not said whether it would apply for a bailout of the hotel industry, if Congress created one. Trump has not, either. On Sunday, he was asked if his business would abstain from any federal bailout. He did not give a clear answer. ‘Everything’s changing, just so you understand, it’s all changing,’ he said. ‘But I have no idea.’”

Cal Cunningham Victory Fund (Cal for NC, North Carolina Democratic Party – Federal)
End Citizens United – PRIORITY (Reps. Max Rose, Andy Kim, Lucy McBath, Joe Cunningham and Xochitl Torres Small, End Citizens United)
End Citizens United – URGENT (Reps. Kendra Horn, Abigail Spanberger, Tom Malinowski, Elissa Slotkin, Cindy Axne, Josh Harder, End Citizens United)

Working America PAC (Super PAC)

ACG Analytics: IHS Holding Limited
Alston & Bird LLP: Biogen, Inc.
American Continental Group: Project Management Institute, Inc.
American Defense International, Inc.: ADMA Biologics, Inc.
American Defense International, Inc.: Webb Diagnostic Technologies, LLC
Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck, LLP: Harbor Freight Tools USA Inc.
Carmen Group Incorporated: Accel Entertainment, Inc.
Chartwell Strategy Group LLC: SONSIEL: Society of Nurse Scientists, Innovators, Entrepreneurs & Leaders
Chartwell Strategy Group LLC: Veridos America, Inc.
Cordone Consulting LLC: United Fresh Produce Association
Greenberg Traurig, LLP: Southern Nevada Home Builders Association
Guide Consulting Services, Inc.: RI International
Holland & Knight LLP: CleanWell, LLC
Holland & Knight LLP: Energizer Holdings, Inc.
Holland & Knight LLP: Monster Worldwide, Inc.
Mercury Public Affairs, LLC: Genting
ML Strategies, LLC: Abiomed, Inc.
Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP: LendUp Global, Inc.
Platt Strategic Consulting LLC: InterDigital
Ridge Policy Group: National Association of Development Organizations (NADO)
Squire Patton Boggs: National Air Traffic Controllers Association
Squire Patton Boggs: Philip Morris International
Strategies 360: AcademyHealth
Sullivan Strategies LLC (FKA SB Capitol Solutions): FetchyFox Inc.
Taiwan Semiconductor Manufactoring [sic] Company (TSMC): Taiwan Semiconductor Manufactoring [sic] Company (TSMC)
The Consilio Group: Remote Health Solutions
The Livingston Group, LLC: Greater America LLC (on behalf of City of Palmdale)

Alpine Group Partners, LLC.: Hewlett Packard Enterprise
Alycia Farrell: General Atomics, Electromagnetic Systems
DLA Piper LLP (US): PureKana LLC
Mike Williams Capitol Strategies, LLC: Kelley Drye & Warren LLP
Mike Williams Capitol Strategies, LLC: Kelley Drye & Warren LLP on behalf of the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation
Sullivan Strategies LLC (FKA SB Capitol Solutions): Cubic Corporation





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