There’s no hiring freeze on K Street

Gun News

With David Beavers, Daniel Lippman and Zachary Warmbrodt

THERE’S NO HIRING FREEZE ON K STREET: Some Washington lobbying firms are still hiring, even amid the uncertainty of the pandemic. The Smith-Free Group has added Chris Scribner, who was previously an in-house lobbyist for Regions Financial Corporation. “Chris has established relationships with Members and staff in Leadership and on the Judiciary, Commerce, Financial Services and Banking Committees in both the House and Senate, and will enhance our ability to respond to our clients’ needs,” Jon Deuser, the firm’s president and chief executive, said in a statement.

Waxman Strategies has brought on Ruth McDonald as a vice president and Kahaari Kenyatta as a health research specialist. McDonald, who previously worked at Avalere Health, plans to register as a lobbyist. And Invariant, the lobbying firm led by Heather Podesta, has added Jenny Werwa to its public affairs and strategic communications team. She previously worked for the Council of Large Public Housing Authorities and is also a former aide to Rep. Jackie Speier (D-Calif.).

AKIN GUMP LOBBYIST RETURNS TO THE HILL: Lauren O’Brien has left Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld, where she was a senior policy adviser, to return to the Hill, according to an email obtained by PI announcing the move. She’ll be legislative director for Sen. Todd Young (R-Ind.). O’Brien lobbied for Akin Gump clients including the Biotechnology Innovation Organization, Fidelity Investments and UPS, according to disclosure filings. She worked as a lobbyist at Republic Consulting before joining Akin Gump and is also a former aide to former Rep. Geoff Davis (R-Ky.).

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PRESSURE TO INVESTIGATE ZOOM MOUNTS: “Virtual conferencing platform Zoom is facing the prospect of mounting legal threats in Washington after a slew of prominent Democratic lawmakers urged federal regulators Tuesday to investigate its privacy and security lapses,” POLITICO’s Cristiano Lima reports. “In response, a spokesperson for the Federal Trade Commission declined to disclose whether the agency is probing the company, whose skyrocketing popularity amid the pandemic lockdowns has brought complaints about data leaks and online harassment.”

— “But the spokesperson noted that FTC Chairman Joe Simons has said in the past that ‘any time you see a press report of a significant privacy issue, a potential privacy violation of our authority, it is safe to assume that we either are investigating it already or shortly after that media release, we will investigate it.’ Lawmakers including Sens. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) and Michael Bennet (D-Colo.) and Reps. Frank Pallone (D-N.J.) and Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.) have called for investigating the company.

BANKS VOICE COMPLAINTS ABOUT SMALL BUSINESS LENDING SYSTEM: “Frustrated bankers on Tuesday directly appealed to President Donald Trump to fix problems with a Small Business Administration system that is holding them back from issuing $350 billion in government-backed loans designed to avert mass layoffs during the coronavirus pandemic,” POLITICO’s Zachary Warmbrodt reports. “Trump discussed the state of the so-called Paycheck Protection Program on a teleconference with several of the biggest U.S. banks and small lenders.”

— “Attendees on the call included the CEOs of Bank of America, Citigroup and Goldman Sachs. While the large lenders voiced no complaints, executives from small banks pressed Trump to bolster the SBA ‘E-Tran’ system, which has periodically crashed since the small business lending program’s hurried launch on Friday. Banks must use the system to authorize the federally guaranteed loans, which can be forgiven if small businesses agree to maintain their payrolls.”

— “Noah Wilcox, chairman of the Independent Community Bankers of America and CEO of Grand Rapids State Bank in Minnesota, told Trump that one-third of community bankers still lacked access to the SBA system. ‘That means those community banks have been boxed out and unable to serve their communities and their customers,’ he said.”

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WHAT SQUIRE PATTON BOGGS IS DOING FOR THE AMERICAN STAFFING ASSOCIATION: Former Rep. Jack Kingston (R-Ga.), who’s now a lobbyist at Squire Patton Boggs, discussed the firm’s work for the American Staffing Association, which hired the firm last month to lobby on coronavirus-related matters, according to The Associated PressRichard Lardner and Brian Slodysko. One issue that arose during a webinar held by the trade group last week “stemmed from a prohibition in the legislation against outsourcing, Kingston said. Businesses with 500 to 10,000 employees that receive loans have to certify that for the term of the loan and two years after repayment they won’t outsource workers.

— Staffing companies are adamant the ban not be construed to apply to a company’s use of temporary help. ‘We just want to make sure that they’re heard by Congress. … as we rush through rules and legislation to try and address the crisis,’ Kingston said.”

NATIONAL RIFLE ASSOCIATION LAYS OFF DOZENS: “The National Rifle Association has laid off more than 60 employees in recent weeks, according to three people with knowledge of the matter,” POLITICO’s Betsy Woodruff Swan reports. “The move comes as the gun rights group faces acute financial challenges during the economic crunch caused by the coronavirus outbreak. The association recently took a large financial hit when the pandemic forced the NRA to cancel its massive annual meeting.”

— The National Association of Mutual Insurance Companies has promoted Jon Bergner to vice president of public policy and federal affairs and Andrew Huff to senior director of federal affairs.

Christopher Kim has joined Guidepost Solutions (not to be confused with GuidePost Strategies) as a senior managing director. He was previously an independent consultant.

Tom Qualtere has started his own consulting firm, TQ Media LLC. His first client is the Heritage Foundation, for which he is handling East Coast media. He was previously communications director for Nahigian Strategies and before that worked for Rep. Mike Kelly (R-Pa.).


Montana Next (Super PAC)
Straight Talk Politics PAC (Hybrid PAC)

Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld: Aria Energy
Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld: Management Research Services, Inc.
Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld: Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation
Avisa Partners US, Inc.: VodaFone
Ballard Partners: Secure Democracy
Big Sky Bluewater Strategies, LLC: Louisiana Mid-Continent Oil and Gas Association
Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck, LLP:
Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck, LLP: Colony Capital, Inc
Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck, LLP: William Hill US
Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney, PC: Hospital Association of Rhode Island
Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney, PC: Rothman Orthopaedic Institute
Capitol Hill Consulting Group: ANCSA Regional Association
Carmen Group Incorporated: Tenet Healthcare
Carmen Group Incorporated: The People Concern
Cassidy & Associates, Inc.: Culinary Institute of America
Cassidy & Associates, Inc.: DJI Technology Incorporated
Chartwell Strategy Group LLC: Compass Group USA, Inc.
Confluence Government Relations: 3M Company
Franklin Square Group, LLC: Amazon Web Services, Inc.
Gordley Associates: Low Carb Action Network
Liebman & Associates, Inc.: Conomix, Inc.
Miller Strategies, LLC: Ashford Hospitality Trust, Inc.-Ashford, Inc.
Miller Strategies, LLC: California Business Roundtable
Miller Strategies, LLC: iAero Group
Miller Strategies, LLC: Nuclein LLC
Miller Strategies, LLC: SACHEM Inc.
Peck Madigan Jones: Bristol Myers Squibb
Polsinelli PC: Blue Earth Diagnostics Inc.
Ryan Costello Strategies: Mount Airy #1, LLC
Ryan Costello Strategies: POSC of Orange, LLC
Sidley Austin LLP: International Council of Shopping Centers
Squire Patton Boggs: Invacare Corporation
Strategies 360: Nacero Inc.
The Russell Group, Inc.: U.S. Greenhouse Coalition
The Vogel Group: Reven Pharmaceuticals, Inc.
Tiber Creek Health Strategies, Inc.: Peck Madigan Jones (on behalf of Bristol Myers Squibb)
William Watson Group LLC: 313, LLC

ACG Analytics: IHS Holding Limited
Cassidy & Associates, Inc.: Quantum XChange
Cassidy & Associates, Inc.: Wilcox Industries
Holland & Knight LLP: Adjuvant Global Advisers, LLC
Holland & Knight LLP: Innovative Wireless Technologies Inc
Manatt, Phelps, and Phillips: Science Care, Inc.
Mirsonia Group: Robert G. Mullendore, PC
REM Strategies, LLC.: Kean Wind Turbines, Inc.
Squire Patton Boggs: Community Financial Services Association of America
Squire Patton Boggs: Summit County, Utah
Squire Patton Boggs: US Immigration Fund LLC

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