With Daniel Lippman
TRADE GROUPS URGE CONGRESS, ADMINISTRATION TO STRIKE A PAYROLL TAX DEAL: More than two dozen trade groups wrote to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin urging them to find a way to address the uncertainty generated by President Donald Trump’s executive order earlier this month suspending collection of payroll taxes. “Without Congressional action to forgive this liability, it threatens to impose serious hardships on employees who will face a large tax bill as a result of deferral,” the trade groups wrote.
— Congress, of course, showed little inclination to include a payroll tax cut in the next coronavirus relief package even before negotiations between Democrats and the White House collapsed earlier this month, despite Trump’s enthusiasm for doing so. Among the trade groups that signed the letter: the National Association of Chain Drug Stores, the National Association of Manufacturers, the National Association of Realtors, the National Restaurant Association, the National Retail Federation, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the Wine & Spirits Wholesalers of America.
LOBBYISTS CREATE DIVERSITY TASK FORCE: Nearly three months after the protests sparked by the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis spread across the country, the National Institute for Lobbying and Ethics plans to create a task force to encourage diversity on K Street. The task force, which will be chaired by Larry Gonzalez of the Raben Group and Paul Miller of Miller/Wenhold Capitol Strategies, will seek to expand opportunities for people of color at lobbying firms, trade groups and corporate offices in Washington. “For far too long, the lobbying profession has been an exclusive club, not at all reflective of the diversity of America nor the growing diversity of Congress,” Gonzalez said in a statement.
— “Diversity and inclusion can’t be a one-time campaign or a one-off initiative,” Gonzalez added in an email to PI. “In my mind, that’s not what this Task Force is about. Promoting them in the workplace is a constant work-in-progress, and this is about creating a set of recommendations that will, hopefully, contribute to lasting change.”
— Other task force members include Kevin Cain of the Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges, Ian Fluellen of Rep. Jim Costa’s (D-Calif.) office, Tommy Goodwin of the Project Management Institute, Jocelyn Hong of Jocelyn Hong & Associates, David Kim of the IAMBIC Group and Korean Americans for Political Action, Ellen Kuo of the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology, Paul Thornell of Mehlman Castagnetti Rosen & Thomas, Todd White of Rulon & White Government Strategies and Eriade Williams of American Continental Group.
STAFFER ON LEAVE FROM GOOGLE CALLS TRUMP ‘ILL-EQUIPPED’ TO DO HIS JOB: Miles Taylor, a former Department of Homeland Security chief of staff in the Trump administration, warned that President Donald Trump “was actively doing damage to our security” in a new ad cut for the group Republican Voters Against Trump. The ad was accompanied by an op-ed in The Washington Post in which Taylor described Trump’s first term as “dangerously chaotic.”
— Taylor is on leave from Google, which hired him last year as the U.S. lead for advanced technology and security strategy. His hire drew internal criticism at the company at the time as well as a letter from lawmakers to Sundar Pichai, Google’s chief executive. “We are deeply troubled with Google’s decision to hire someone from the Trump Administration that has defended the very same cruel DHS policies Google senior leadership has previously denounced,” Reps. Joaquín Castro (D-Texas), Karen Bass (D-Calif.) and Judy Chu (D-Calif.) wrote in a letter dated Nov. 19.
— Taylor doesn’t hold the criticism against his colleagues, he said. “I don’t begrudge any of them for how my entry was handled,” he wrote in a text message to PI. “Trump has so divided us that we have ALL rushed to judgment in this polarized time. I’m just lucky to work with incredible colleagues.”
MORE TROUBLE FOR THE NATIONAL RIFLE ASSOCIATION: “Earlier this month, the National Rifle Association was sued by the New York attorney general, who is seeking to dissolve the organization and said top executives had “looted” it,” The New York Times‘ Danny Hakim reports. “Now the N.R.A., which has faced two years of turmoil and infighting, is confronting a new adversary from within its own senior ranks.”
— “Josh Powell, one of the group’s highest-ranking former executives, is poised to release ‘Inside the NRA: A Tell-All Account of Corruption, Greed and Paranoia Within the Most Powerful Political Group in America.’ Mr. Powell, former chief of staff to Wayne LaPierre, the group’s longtime chief executive, says the N.R.A. is ‘rife with fraud and corruption’ and writes that its finances ‘are in shambles,’ and that ‘it has operated in the red for the past three years, despite annual revenues of roughly $350 million.'”
CONVENTION NOTES: Former Rep. Susan Molinari (R-N.Y.), who spent nearly seven years as Google’s top lobbyist, described Trump on Monday night as “so disappointing and lately so disturbing” in brief remarks to the Democratic National Convention. She described Joe Biden as a friend and said she was “honored to join in support of his candidacy for president.” “He’s a really good man, and he’s exactly what this nation needs at this time,” she said.
— Molinari went on to introduce former Ohio Gov. John Kasich, whose endorsement of Biden earned a derisive review from another Washington lobbyist: Chris Christie. The former New Jersey governor bashed Kasich on ABC News as a “backstabber” and “an untruthful guy.” Trump, in turn, praised Christie — who has lobbied his administration several clients on coronavirus relief — for his color commentary. “Good Job by Chris C in exposing yet another loser!” Trump tweeted this morning.
— Sharp-eyed PI readers might have spotted a photo of Larry Rasky, who led the lobbying and public affairs firm Rasky Partners before he died suddenly in March, in an “in memoriam” montage of Americans who’ve died during the pandemic. Rasky served as treasurer of a super PAC that backed Biden in the primary, Unite the Country. He was identified onscreen only as a “PR Executive.”
HOW THE OIL LOBBY SEES BIDEN: The Financial Times’ Derek Brower takes a look at how the oil and gas industry views the prospect of a Biden victory in November. “‘I don’t expect that it’s going to be a top priority to get back to 13m barrels of oil production a day,’ says Mike Sommers, head of the American Petroleum Institute, one of the most powerful lobby groups in Washington. Still, the API is sanguine about what a Biden presidency would mean for Big Oil. ‘I’ve met him, I’ve negotiated with him,’ says Mr Sommers. ‘The view from behind the Resolute Desk in the Oval Office is different from behind a podium looking at a crowd on the campaign trail.’”
AARP WORRIED MAIL CHANGES MAY COMPROMISE ‘HEALTH AND SAFETY OF MILLIONS’: Nancy LeaMond, the top lobbyist for AARP, sent a letter to Postmaster General Louis DeJoy “on Monday urging him to suspend changes to the Postal Service that are disrupting mail delivery during the pandemic right before the election,” POLITICO’s Matthew Choi and Daniel Lippman report. “‘We urge you to suspend any adjustments that could negatively affect service during the pandemic,’ LeaMond said. ‘Further, we urge the Postal Service to be more forthcoming and transparent regarding any changes, including a more detailed cost-benefit analysis of the operational changes you have made and will be making to assure timely delivery of all mail, including election-related mail.'”
— “LeaMond said that the organization, which has 38 million members, was worried that DeJoy’s changes may be ‘compromising the health and safety of millions of older Americans and may unduly restrict the ability of all Americans to safely participate in the upcoming elections.’”
ALCOHOL INDUSTRY IS LOBBYING ON NEW DIETARY GUIDELINES: The Wall Street Journal’s Sumathi Reddy has some details on how K Street is trying to shape new federal guidelines being drafted by the Agriculture and the Health and Human Services departments and set to be finalized by the end of the year. An alcohol advisory committee recently suggested cutting the recommended amount of alcohol that men should consume from two drinks a day to one.
— Tiffany Sizemore-Ruiz, a medical adviser for the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States, “is among those who spoke on behalf of the alcohol industry at a public hearing last week. She said the lowered limit for men isn’t based on sound science, and that the committee didn’t look at enough research that specifically studied the difference between one and two daily drinks. The Beer Institute President and CEO Jim McGreevy said the committee ‘cherry picked studies’ to make their point.”
EVERYTOWN ADS BASH ERNST AND TILLIS’ TIES TO GUN, INSURANCE INDUSTRIES: “Everytown for Gun Safety, the group co-founded by former New York Mayor Mike Bloomberg, is launching a $5 million TV ad buy in Iowa and North Carolina this week, marking the first major round of spending from the organization in Senate races this year,” POLITICO’s James Arkin reports. The ads, which start running today, criticize Sens. Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) and Thom Tillis (R-N.C.). “They aren’t specifically about gun control measures, but rather accuse both senators of being beholden to ‘special interests’ including the ‘gun lobby’ and the insurance industry. Everytown for Gun Safety Victory Fund is spending nearly $3.2 million on TV and digital platforms in North Carolina, and nearly $2.2 million in Iowa.”
— Patreon has hired Laurent Crenshaw as director of policy. He was previously senior director of government affairs for Eaze, the cannabis startup, and before that worked as Yelp’s director of public policy.
— Leavitt Partners has hired Tevi Troy as a senior adviser. He was previously Juul Labs’ vice president of public policy and will continue to consult for the company.
— The American Chemistry Council has hired Joshua Baca as vice president of plastics, per POLITICO’s Morning Energy. He’ll start next month. He’s currently senior vice president of public affairs at the American Beverage Association.
Cantwell for Women in the Senate 2020 (Sen. Maria Cantwell, DSCC)
Cruz Senate Victory 2020 (Sens. Ted Cruz, Steve Daines, Joni Ernst, Cory Gardner, Dan Sullivan, John Cornyn and David Perdue; Jobs, Freedom and Security PAC; Tuberville for Senate, Inc.; Lummis for Wyoming Inc.)
Diane Mitsch Bush Victory Fund (Colorado Democratic Party, Diane for Colorado CD3)
Win Blue 2020 (Dr. Al Gross for U.S. Senate, Mark Kelly for Senate, Jaime Harrison for Senate, MJ for Texas)
Americans for the Republic (PAC)
Biden Harris 2020 Super PAC (Super PAC)
Capitalism SUPERPAC (Super PAC)
Committee for Young Republicans (PAC)
Hollywood for Biden 2020 (PAC)
Honor Courage Commitment PAC (Leadership PAC: Ernest Anthony Gonzales II)
Operation Restore Military Honor and Valor, Inc. (Super PAC)
Reclaim Our Party (Super PAC)
Save America Stop Socialism PAC (Leadership PAC: Marjorie Taylor Greene)
Taco the Vote (Super PAC)
Barnes & Thornburg, LLP: Duracell Distributing, Inc.
Barnes & Thornburg, LLP: Firemon LLC
Barnes & Thornburg, LLP: Hamilton County Board of Commissioners
Barnes & Thornburg, LLP: Horizon Bancorp, Inc.
Barnes & Thornburg, LLP: Michigan Sugar Company
Barnes & Thornburg, LLP: MSA Safety Incorporated
Barnes & Thornburg, LLP: R & L Carriers Inc.
Barnes & Thornburg, LLP: Tenacore LLC
Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck, LLP: Uber Technologies Inc.
GM Strategies: K12 Inc.
GrayRobinson PA: EJF Capital LLC
J M Burkman & Associates: Coalition of Hope Foundation Project: Excelsior
J M Burkman & Associates: Joseph Pallivathucal
Law Offices of Kevin G. Curtin: Convergence Services, Inc. on behalf of Public Media Venture Group
Monument Advocacy: XR Association
Peck Madigan Jones: Hamilton Place Strategies (on behalf of Thermo Fisher Scientific)
SBL Strategies, LLC: Hayward Family of Companies
West Front Strategies LLC: Brighthouse Financial
The Grimes Group Inc.: Berks Women in Crisis