Azar, Bush alumni to fundraise for former HHS aide

Gun News

With Daniel Lippman

AZAR TO HEADLINE FUNDRAISER FOR FORMER CHIEF RUNNING IN SPECIAL ELECTION: Former HHS Secretary Alex Azar will headline a fundraiser tomorrow for his top aide running to replace the late Rep. Ron Wright (R-Texas), according to an invitation obtained by PI.

— The fundraiser for former HHS chief of staff Brian Harrison, who like Azar worked in the Bush administration but whose campaign website touts his closeness with President Donald Trump, will be hosted by a number of fellow Bush-Cheney alumni, including Jessica Beeson Tocco, Brian Bartlett, Joey Smith, Tevi Troy, Jack Kalavritinos and Demetrios Kouzoukas. Tickets for the virtual fundraiser start at $500 and go up to $2,000 to be named a host.

BIG TECH VET LAUNCHES PROGRESSIVE INDUSTRY COALITION: Some of the biggest names in tech are backing a new industry group aimed at advancing traditionally liberal priorities like income inequality, voting rights, climate change and a progressive tax structure. The Chamber of Progress, meant to evoke the structure of the traditionally right-leaning Chamber of Commerce, will be led by Adam Kovacevich, a former Democratic political operative and Google and Lime alum.

—The new effort is starting off with backing from companies like Amazon, Automattic, Facebook, DoorDash, Getaround, Google, Grubhub, Instacart, Lime, Twitter, Uber, Waymo, Wing and Zillow, though Kovacevich emphasized in an interview the companies are “partners” of the group rather than “members” who get a vote.

— The group, which also has support from the House of Representatives’ New Democrat Coalition, will focus first on advocacy for congressional Democrats’ legislation to expand voting access but will also work on more traditional tech issues like regulation, working to shape proposals on the Hill in order to “nurture the things that people love about technology, while curbing its downsides.”

Good afternoon and welcome to PI. Send K Street tips and gossip: [email protected]. And follow me on Twitter: @caitlinoprysko.

WHITE HOUSE GRANTS ETHICS WAIVER FOR AFGE LOBBYIST: The Biden administration has waived its ethics rules for a former union lobbyist and its pick to lead congressional and intergovernmental affairs at OPM to carry out her duties, its fifth total ethics waiver and second for a former registered lobbyist.

Alethea Predeoux, who the White House announced last week would join OPM, was previously director of legislative, political and grassroots mobilization at the American Federation of Government Employees, where she lobbied for years on behalf of federal employees, including those at OPM, according to disclosure filings.

— According to a memo from OPM General Counsel Lynn Eisenberg posted online last week, Predeoux “has lobbied the Hill on OPM-related issues” but “has not directly lobbied OPM.” She calls Predeoux’s resume “unique in that she has significant subject-matter expertise in federal employment, civil service, and workforce issues critical” for the role she has been appointed to, and has relationships with key Hill staffers. The memo also notes that Predeoux has lobbied only for AFGE for the past six years, whose mission it describes as “consistent with the Administration’s values.”

BIDEN INFRASTRUCTURE PROPOSAL TO INCLUDE MORE THAN $3T IN TAX HIKES: President Joe Biden’s infrastructure proposal to be released beginning this week could contain “as much as $4 trillion in new spending and more than $3 trillion in tax increases,” The Washington Post’s Jeff Stein reports, up from the $3 trillion in spending and $1 trillion in tax hikes in a proposal circulated last month.

— “The choice to limit the impact on the federal deficit may help the White House counter critics who say that the nation’s spending imbalance is out of control. But it also sets up the administration for an enormous political challenge in convincing Congress to pass a package of tax increases on wealthy Americans and companies that together would represent the largest tax hike in generations.”

NRA SAYS IT’S NOT GOING ANYWHERE: “The National Rifle Association says it is ready to aggressively lobby against federal and state gun-control measures being considered in the wake of recent mass shootings in Georgia and Colorado, even as it remains in bankruptcy and beset by lawsuits and investigations into its business practices,” the Wall Street Journal’s Julie Bykowicz and Mark Maremont report.

— While gun control advocates inside Congress and out are eager to take advantage of the group’s internal turmoil, NRA spokesperson Andrew Arulanandam contended the gun rights group “hasn’t lost a beat,” while “other lawmakers said the NRA’s decadeslong no-compromise approach to opposing any new gun-control measures has penetrated so deeply into the Republican Party over the past few decades that lobbying on individual federal bills is less necessary.”

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT: Reuters’ Marisa Taylor and Dan Levine reported Friday that “a former top lobbyist for pharmaceutical giant Eli Lilly & Co accused a high-ranking executive and another senior manager of engaging in sexual discrimination, harassment and retaliation against women in its Washington D.C. office, according to a lawsuit filed Friday.”

Sonya Elling, who worked as an in-house lobbyist for 16 years before resigning in 2019, alleges in the suit that “a Lilly senior vice president, Leigh Ann Pusey, repeatedly demeaned Elling and other women, and eventually forced Elling to resign.” The suit also accuses another executive, Shawn O’Neail, of engaging “in inappropriate sexual behavior in the office, including ‘sexual self-groping,’ during meetings with Elling in her office.”

— Per Reuters, “A Lilly spokeswoman denied the allegations in the suit. ‘Lilly is committed to fostering and promoting a culture of diversity and respect, and a work environment free of discrimination, harassment or retaliation of any kind,’ the spokeswoman, Kathryn Beiser, said.”

Brandon Messina has been promoted to be managing director and corporate counsel at Sard Verbinnen. He most recently was principal and corporate counsel at the firm. TJ Tatum has been promoted to be principal at Sard Verbinnen; he most recently was vice president at the firm.

Cherie Wilson is now managing director on Delta Air Lines’ government affairs team, Playbook reports. She previously was a director of federal affairs at General Motors.

Alisha Sud will be associate director at the Milken Institute’s FasterCures Center. She most recently was an analyst at Albright Stonebridge Group.

Erin Dunne is now an account supervisor at LEVICK. She was previously an associate at Cogent Strategies.

Brittany Hernandez is joining Crossroads Strategies as executive vice president. She most recently led government affairs for the Muscular Dystrophy Association and federal advocacy for March of Dimes and is a Steve Cohen alum.

Michael Petrucelli has joined Rational 360 as president of the firm’s government solutions division, per Playbook. He is a DHS, State Department, FCC and Export-Import Bank alum.


Americans for Action on Climate Fund (Hybrid PAC)
Democrats Serve (PAC)
Level Politics (PAC)
The SILO Project (Super PAC)

A1.9 Strategies LLC: Marathon Targets Inc.
Alpine Group Partners, LLC.: Nextnav, LLC
Alpine Group Partners, LLC.: Runsafe Security
Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck, LLP: Aegle Corporation
Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck, LLP: Modernatx, Inc.
Covington & Burling LLP: New Venture Fund
Dla Piper LLP (US): Planet Labs Federal, Inc.
Ejk, LLC: Center For Near East Policy Research, Ltd
Forbes-Tate: Calypsoai
Forbes-Tate: National Audubon Society
J M Burkman & Associates: Esg Bank Holding Co Inc
J M Burkman & Associates: Ridge Top Services
Keller Partners & Company: City Of Williamsport
O’Neill And Associates: Roz100
Poyner Spruill LLP: American Retirement Association
Rich Feuer Anderson: Fiserv, Inc.
Squire Patton Boggs: Eps Industry Alliance
Subject Matter (Fka Elmendorf Ryan): Yellow Corporation
Tarplin, Downs & Young, LLC: Open Philanthropy Action Fund
Tiger Hill Partners LLC: Alternative Investment Management Association
Tremont Strategies Group LLC (F/K/A Ads Ventures): Uber Technologies. Inc.
Troutman Pepper Strategies (Fka Troutman Sanders Public Affairs Group, LLC): NHCA – National Hookah Community Association
Vikki Cooper & Associates: Kairos Power LLC

Hill Impact: Aptiv Plc
Hill Impact: Big Brothers Big Sisters Of America
Hill Impact: Flex (Fka Flextronics International USa, Inc)
Keller Partners & Company: Brownsburg, Indiana

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