With Daniel Lippman
CHAMBER LAUNCHES SECOND ROUND OF RECONCILIATION ADS: The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is launching a second six-figure wave of ads targeting Democrats’ reconciliation package as lawmakers search for ways to shrink the social spending and climate bill’s overall price tag. The 30-second spots warn that Democrats’ proposals, which would be paid for by a combination of tax increases targeting various industries, large corporations and the wealthy, would force “Americans to compete with one arm tied behind our backs” in the global economy.
— The ads will air in the districts of Democratic Reps. Deborah Ross and Kathy Manning of North Carolina and Tom Malinowski of New Jersey. The Chamber is also targeting the districts of Reps. Angie Craig of Minnesota and Antonio Delgado of New York with a second wave of ads after the trade group’s initial buy last month, which also targeted three other Democrats the group endorsed in 2020, Reps. Cindy Axne of Iowa, Josh Harder of California and Elaine Luria of Virginia. All of the lawmakers with the exception of Ross and Manning are heading into tight reelection races next year, though Ross and Manning represent redrawn districts formerly held by Republicans.
— “Every CEO and business leader is concerned about how the reconciliation bill will torpedo America’s fragile economic recovery and future prosperity with higher taxes and burdensome regulations,” Suzanne Clark, the Chamber’s president and chief executive, said in a statement. Clark asserted the reconciliation bill “would significantly harm the ability of American businesses to continue to compete internationally by introducing new tax hikes on those who sell overseas” and “disadvantage American businesses who compete in the global economy.”
— The latest ad blitz comes as the business community, including the Chamber, is working to shore up votes for the Senate-passed bipartisan infrastructure bill, which Democratic leaders are holding up until the reconciliation package has been completed. The Washington Post’s Michael Scherer reported this morning that One Nation, the dark money group linked to Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, is launching its own $10 million buy against the reconciliation bill, targeting Democratic Sens. Mark Kelly of Arizona, Catherine Cortez Masto of Nevada and Maggie Hassan of New Hampshire, all of whom will be in tight reelection races next year.
FINSBURY GLOVER HERING ANNOUNCES MERGER WITH SARD VERBINNEN: Public affairs giant Sard Verbinnen has agreed to merge with another major industry player, Finsbury Glover Hering, to create one massive strategic communications firm boasting 1,000 employees operating from 25 offices across the globe, the companies announced today.
— British conglomerate WPP, which owns FGH — itself the result of a recent merger between the Glover Park Group, Finsbury and Hering Schuppener that became official only earlier this year — will remain majority investor in the new firm, which will offer government affairs, corporate reputation, crisis management, and transformation and change services and tap into Sard Verbinnen’s strength in mergers and acquisitions, private equity, IPOs, SPAC transactions, shareholder activism and restructurings.
— The new company will be led by top executives from FGH and Sard Verbinnen: George Sard will join Roland Rudd and Carter Eskew as co-chairs. Alexander Geiser will serve as global CEO; Mike Feldman and Paul Verbinnen as co-chairs of North America; Andrew Cole as deputy global CEO as well as co-CEO of North America with Joel Johnson, Paul Kranhold and Winnie Lerner; Faeth Birch as CEO of U.K., Middle East and Asia; and Brigitte von Haacke as CEO of Europe.
COULD YARMUTH END UP ON K STREET?: Retiring House Budget Chair John Yarmuth (D-Ky.) would certainly be a hot commodity should he choose to go that route, according to Ivan Adler, a headhunter who specializes in placing people on K Street. Yarmuth’s decade-plus of experience on the powerful Budget Committee would, quite understandably, be viewed as “a real benefit” for lobbying firms and their clients, Adler told PI.
— “They know that combination of the money and … how the legislative process really works. And so, you know, they become valuable for that,” said Adler, who added that he hadn’t been contacted by Yarmuth or anyone else on Yarmuth’s behalf about a potential lobbying gig after he leaves office.
TOP-ED: Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) blamed K Street for holding up Democrats’ reconciliation bill in an op-ed on Fox News’ website this morning in which he assailed drug, health insurance, fossil fuel and business lobbyists for working to water down or defeat the bill altogether. “As part of our corrupt, big-money dominated political system, the pharmaceutical industry is now spending hundreds of millions of dollars on lobbying, campaign contributions and television ads to defeat this legislation because it does not want Medicare to negotiate for lower prescription drug prices,” Sanders wrote, arguing that polls show many of the provisions most opposed by drugmakers, insurers and the like have widespread support.
— Sanders also took a shot at Democratic lawmakers who’ve raised concerns about the bill’s price tag or its individual components. “In a tied Senate which has 50 members each of the Democratic and Republican caucuses and a House of Representatives which has a mere three-vote-majority for Democrats, the question of whether we finally deliver consequential legislation to improve the lives of working class families comes down to Democratic unity,” he wrote. “Will all Democrats stand together to protect the interests of the elderly, the children, the sick and the poor? Will all Democrats stand together to take on the greed of the pharmaceutical industry, the health insurance companies, the fossil fuel industry, and wealthy campaign contributors? I certainly hope so.”
CLARK, OIL CEOs WILL TESTIFY ON CLIMATE LOBBYING: “The CEOs of six major fossil fuel companies and trade associations will testify at a blockbuster hearing this month about their role in spreading climate disinformation,” Rep. Ro Khanna (D-Calif.) told The Washington Post’s Maxine Joselow.
— “‘In the history of Congress, the fossil fuel executives have never come before the committee … to explain climate disinformation and address the climate crisis. That will change,’” Khanna, who chairs the Oversight and Reform Subcommittee on Environment, said in an interview. Khanna and Oversight Chair Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.) sent letters last month to the executives of ExxonMobil, BP, Chevron, Shell Oil, the American Petroleum Institute and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce asking them to testify about their reported efforts to mislead the public about climate change.”
— “API has said CEO Mike Sommers ‘welcomes the opportunity to testify’ at the Oct. 28 hearing. But until now, it was unclear whether the other CEOs would show up” to the hearing, which stems from comments by a former Exxon lobbyist in a sting operation carried out by an environmental group.
A LOOK AT THE NRA’S FINANCES AFTER A ROUGH YEAR: “The NRA’s finances stayed above water in 2020. But only because it continued to make significant spending cuts,” The Reload’s Stephen Gutowski reports. “The gun-rights group ran a surplus of just over $40.5 million last year, according to a copy of its financial statements obtained by The Reload. That makes 2020 the second year in a row where the NRA spent less than it brought in, reversing a years-long trend of operating in the red. But the better books came at the cost of deep cuts to most of its key programs.”
— “The group’s 2020 spending was down more than $54 million, or about 15.3 percent, from 2019. It’s down over $124 million, or about 29.3 percent, compared to the group’s financial statements from the last election cycle in 2018. The cuts affected core areas of the group’s activities, with tens of millions less being spent on legislative programs, training, and member services compared to the previous election cycle. Revenue fell by eight figures too, down $19.4 million from 2019 and $78.2 million from 2018. While revenue and spending fell, the group’s legal expenses rose. The NRA’s 2020 legal spending increased by $245,892 from the previous year to more than $46 million.”
CORNERSTONE ADDS HEALTH CARE VET: Carlos Jackson is joining the government relations team at Cornerstone Government Affairs. Jackson most recently served as vice president of legislative affairs at America’s Essential Hospitals, and has a long history of lobbying for other health care trade associations in Washington, including the American Hospital Association and American Nurses Association and the Cleveland Clinic’s Health System.
SPOTTED: On Washingtonian’s annual list of Washington’s Most Powerful Women for 2021, which includes a number of K Street heavy hitters: Invariant’s Heather Podesta, Ridgely Walsh’s Juleanna Glover, Haddad Media’s Tammy Haddad, Story Partners’ Gloria Dittus, U.S. Chamber’s Suzanne Clark, Facebook’s Erin Egan, Amazon’s Virginia Boney, SKDK’s Anita Dunn, American Council of Life Insurers’ Susan Neely, American Beverage Association’s Katherine Lugar, American Legislative Exchange Council’s Lisa B. Nelson, Precision Strategies’ Stephanie Cutter, Edelman’s Lisa Osborne Ross and Clearview AI’s Jessica Medeiros Garrison.
— Angela Kimball is joining Inseparable, a nonprofit working to expand access to mental health care, as its senior vice president of advocacy and policy. She previously served as national director of government relations, policy and advocacy at the National Alliance on Mental Illness.
— Kirsten E. Donaldson is joining the Digital Media Association as vice president of legal. She was previously at the Donaldson Law Group and is a Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.) alum.
— Sarah Mills is launching Alta Strategies, a health policy consulting and political strategy practice. She previously was a vice president and senior lobbyist at the District Policy Group.
— Ambar Mentor-Truppa, Katherine Brandon, Kimberly Davis-Wells and Tania Mercado are joining Fenton Communications as vice presidents. Mentor-Truppa previously was vice president of communications at the Shriver Center on Poverty Law. Brandon previously led communications and advocacy for Together For Girls. Davis-Wells previously was lead consultant for the City of Oakland Human Services Department. Mercado previously was a vice president at SKDK.
— Kevin Liao, Tess Seger and Mariela Casellas are joining Bryson Gillette. Liao will be a director and previously was press secretary for Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm. Seger will be a director and is a Cory Booker and Susie Lee campaign alum. Casellas will be a manager and previously was a legislative aide in the Massachusetts House of Representatives.
— David Kimelman is joining Caring Across Generations as legislative manager. He previously was senior legislative assistant for Rep. Adriano Espaillat (D-N.Y.).
— Kellogg Co. hired Michael Daniels to be the next senior director for federal government regulations, per Morning Ag. Daniels is leaving a similar post at Land O’Lakes Inc., where he worked for two years. He is also a USDA alum.
— Trevor Jones has joined CTIA as associate vice president for government affairs, Morning Tech reports. He is a USTelecom and Sen. Ron Wyden (R-Ore.) alum.
— Sakura Komiyama Amend is joining SKDK as a managing director. She previously was a U.S.-based comms executive for En+ Group.
Virginia Michigan Victory Fund (Sens. Tim Kaine, Debbie Stabenow, Common Ground PAC, Great Lakes PAC)
Fight for Democracy PAC (Super PAC)
1607 Strategies, LLC: Fifth Third Bank
Arnold & Porter Kaye Scholer LLP: Reyes Holdings L.L.C.
Baker Donelson Bearman Caldwell & Berkowitz /The Daschle Group: Delta County Memorial Hospital District
Bracewell LLP: The Boppy Company, LLC
Cgcn Group, LLC (Formerly Known As Clark Geduldig Cranford & Nielsen, LLC): Datamaxx Applied Technologies, Inc.
Elizabeth Stein: Institute For Higher Eduction Policy (Ihep)
Ens Resources, Inc.: North Tahoe Public Utility District
Ens Resources, Inc.: Tahoe City Public Utility District
Hodgkins Consulting, LLC: American Psychological Association Services, Inc.
Invariant LLC: Archer Aviation Inc.
Invariant LLC: Saildrone
Jeffrey J. Kimbell And Associates: Organon & Co.
Mason Street Consulting, LLC: Advamed – Advanced Medical Technology Association
Mehlman Castagnetti Rosen & Thomas, Inc.: American Society Of Anesthesiologists
Mercury Public Affairs, LLC: Tuya, Inc.
Rich Feuer Anderson: Enact Holdings, Inc.
Spilman Thomas & Battle, Pllc: New Venture Fund
Taft Stettinius & Hollister LLP Dba Taft Advisors LLC Fka (Taft, Stettinius & Hollister, LLP): Njoy
The Madison Group: Ferring Pharmaceuticals
The Madison Group: Ligado Networks LLC
The Raben Group: Discovery Communications, LLC
Vincent Brandys: American Optometric Association
Altrius Group, LLC: Instituto Invertir Libertad
Apco Worldwide LLC: Syngenta Corporation
Blue Marble Strategy LLC: Citizens For Alternatives To Animal Research And Experimentation (Caare)
Capitol Advocacy & Government Affairs, LLC: The Livingston Group (On Behalf Of Ravensafe)
Capitol Legislative Strategies LLC: Dmm Strategies On Behalf Of American Battlefield Trust
Consilium Consulting: United States Telecom Association
Covington & Burling LLP: Navient Solutions, LLC
Dentons US LLP: City Of Indianapolis
Dentons US LLP: Indiana Historical Society
Global Witness Inc (Formerly Global Witness Publishing): Global Witness Inc (Formerly Global Witness Publishing)
Grant Consulting Group: Compuware
Grant Consulting Group: Humanetics Innovative Solutions
Grant Consulting Group: International Toner Corp.
Grant Consulting Group: Multi Parts
Gray Global Advisors, LLC: Exacter Inc.
Greater America LLC: City Of Lancaster
Greater America LLC: Greenpoint Resources, Inc.
Greater America LLC: Greenpoint Resources, Inc.
Holland & Knight LLP: Ochin, Inc.
Hutton Strategies: Merkava Strategies Corporation
Hutton Strategies: Wrap Technologies, Inc.
Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough: Chabot-Las Positas Community College District On Behalf Of Ca Community Colleges
Richard F. Hohlt: Sk Hynix America, Inc
Van Fleet Associates: Michelman And Robinson LLP (On Behalf Of Careismatic, Inc.)
Ward And Smith, P.A.: Sos Global Express, Inc.