Bankers, hospitals, film industry tap new outside help
With help from Daniel Lippman
NEW BUSINESS: A handful of top trade associations downtown have added to their rosters of outside lobbyists, newly filed disclosures show. The American Hospital Association retained the Smith-Free Group back in March. Trevor Kolego, a former aide to then-House Speaker John Boehner, is lobbying on hospital reimbursements for the industry group, which dropped more than $27 million on lobbying last year, according to a PI analysis of disclosures.
— The Motion Picture Association, meanwhile, hired its seventh outside firm last month. Democrat Vincent Roberti of Roberti Global is lobbying for MPA, a slew of general issues related to copyright, trade, tax, privacy and communication policy.
— And the American Bankers Association, one of the top banking groups in D.C., has tapped a team from Monument Advocacy to work on this year’s farm bill.
— The team includes John Weber, who previously served as legislative director to Rep. Dusty Johnson (R-S.D.), the chair of the House Agriculture subcommittee on commodity markets, digital assets and rural development; Lilia McFarland Horder, a former USDA official and T.A. Hawks, a former minority staff director for the Senate Agriculture Committee, in addition to Monument’s Kimberly Ellis and Rich Thomas.
— ABA laid out its priorities for the farm bill in testimony submitted ahead of a Senate Ag hearing on the massive agriculture and nutrition policy legislation earlier in February, calling for legislation that would make tax-exempt income earned from interest from certain agricultural real estate, which the industry said would allow banks to lower interest rates and remove a key barrier to entry for young, beginning and underserved farmers and ranchers.
— The group also asked lawmakers to beef up a cadre of other farm lending programs, like the FSA guaranteed loan program and down payment assistance program and to reinstate a program meant to help offset high interest rates.
— In a separate letter to House and Senate budget leaders, this March, ABA pushed for more funding for farm safety net programs to reduce the need for “ad hoc” disaster aid for the industry.
— ABA is the second entity to hire Monument this year for farm bill lobbying. The advocacy arm of the Bipartisan Policy Center retained the firm in January to work generally on issues related to the bill, which expires later this year.
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ANNALS OF FUNDRAISING: “Oracle co-founder and Republican megadonor Larry Ellison is preparing to spend millions of dollars backing Sen. Tim Scott’s run for president,” CNBC’s Brian Schwartz reports.
— “The plans have been in motion since the 2022 midterms, when Ellison donated $30 million to a pro-Scott super PAC, Opportunity Matters Fund, according to people familiar with the Oracle executive chairman’s plans.” The super PAC has since been rebranded as Trust In The Mission PAC, or TIM PAC.
— A Republican strategist and fundraiser close to Ellison — who attended Scott’s campaign launch in South Carolina this morning and whom Scott name-checked in that speech — told CNBC that Ellison is likely to double that $30 million figure in support of Scott.
— “Another veteran Republican fundraiser told CNBC that Ellison is already planning to donate up to $10 million to the TIM PAC in the early going of Scott’s run. Ellison has signaled to allies that he could give at least between $20 million and $30 million more this cycle, this person said.”
THE ROOTS OF TRANSGENDER HEALTH PUSHES: An Associated Press analysis of the recent flurry of state legislation targeting gender-affirming care for transgender minors found “that often those bills sprang not from grassroots or constituent demand, but from the pens of a handful of conservative interest groups,” AP’s Jeff McMillan, Kavish Harjai and Kimberlee Kruesi write.
— “At least 17 states have enacted laws restricting or banning gender-affirming care for transgender minors, though judges have temporarily blocked their enforcement in some,” and while the use of model legislation across statehouses is a well-worn tactic by interest groups, “in the case of restrictions on gender-affirming care for youths, they allow a handful of far-right groups to spread a false narrative based on distorted science, critics say.”
— “The AP obtained the texts of more than 130 bills in 40 state legislatures from Plural, a public policy software company, and analyzed them for similarities to model bills peddled by the conservative groups Do No Harm, which also criticizes efforts to diversify staffing in medicine, and the Family Research Council, which has long been involved in abortion restrictions.”
— “One of the clearest examples is in Montana, where nearly all the language in at least one bill can be found in Do No Harm’s model. Publicly available emails from December show the Republican sponsor, Sen. John Fuller, tweaked the model before introducing it weeks later. … Do No Harm’s model and the 2021 Arkansas bill endorsed as a model by the Family Research Council also have many similarities, including the assertion — rebutted by major medical organizations — that the risks of gender-affirming care outweigh its benefits.”
SENATE COMMERCE AIDE HEADS TO K STREET: Crystal Tully is joining Wiley’s government relations team as special counsel. She most recently was general counsel for investigations and nominations at the Senate Armed Services Committee, but before that spent nearly a decade with the Senate Commerce Committee, eventually moving up to become the panel’s deputy GOP staff director.
— Tully, who told PI that she plans on registering to lobby, said she expects to spend a lot of time working on spectrum issues as well as the awarding and oversight of broadband funding that was included in the bipartisan infrastructure bill.
META PENALTY HIGHLIGHTS DATA PRIVACY LOGJAM: “With an unprecedented $1.3 billion fine Monday, Meta became the first American tech giant ordered to shut off its transatlantic flow of user data under European privacy rules — putting new pressure on the Biden administration to solve a major disconnect between American and European data regulations,” POLITICO’s Alfred Ng reports.
— “The Irish Data Protection Commission found that Meta violated European data privacy regulations by transferring EU users’ data to the U.S. without a proper framework in place to protect EU citizens from American government surveillance. The agency fined Meta $1.3 billion — a record under Europe’s data privacy regulations — and ordered the company to stop transferring its data to U.S. servers.”
— “The fine highlights the need for the Biden administration to finalize negotiations with the EU to get a transatlantic data deal in place. Without that, Meta could be the first of many U.S.-based companies to face similar penalties for similar conduct.”
— “Companies could also look to make costly infrastructure investments to keep that data in the EU, but that could be cost-prohibitive for all but the largest. The gap affects not only major tech platforms like Meta, but virtually any American company, large or small, conducting transatlantic business with customers in Europe.”
— Aaron Stetter is joining the Electronic Payments Coalition as executive director. He previously served as executive vice president of advocacy and strategic engagement at the Independent Community Bankers of America.
— Tiffany Cipoletti has joined the Specialty Equipment Market Association as manager of federal government affairs in the Washington office. She was most recently the government affairs manager for on-highway issues for the American Motorcyclist Association.
— The Health Industry Distributors Association has hired Kathryn DiBitetto as vice president of congressional relations. She previously served as a government relations consultant to HIDA and is a former senior vice president of government relations for the 340B Health coalition.
— Boston Scientific has added Sarah Macchiarola as director of international affairs and Whitney Craig as director of federal affairs. Macchiarola was previously vice president of federal policy and government relations at the Illinois Health and Hospital Association. Craig was previously vice president of federal affairs at AHIP.
— Michael Flannigan is now the Nuclear Energy Institute’s vice president of government affairs. He previously served as managing director at the consulting firm Bondi Partners.
— Cheryl Lombard is joining ClearPath as senior program director for regulatory policy and advocacy, with a focus on permitting policy. She was most recently president and CEO of Valley Partnership.
— Morgan Brummund is joining the American Conservation Coalition as ACC Action’s government affairs director. She previously was a science and technology policy fellow at the Energy Department. Sarah Jensen is now a policy associate for ACC.
— Jesse Solis is joining the House Budget GOP staff as a senior adviser. He previously was communications manager at the Tax Foundation and is a Ways and Means Committee alum.
— Sarah McHaney is now director of marketing and business development at Precision Strategies. She previously was communications director for Grid and is a Bully Pulpit Interactive alum.
New Joint Fundraisers
About WV (Hybrid PAC)
BIG SKY ACTION FUND (Super PAC)
Pro-Choice Women (PAC)
New Lobbying REGISTRATIONS
Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck, LLP: Jetti Resources, LLC
Dci Group, L.L.C.: Scm Consulting Limited
Delta Development Group, Inc.: East Whiteland Township
Delta Development Group, Inc.: Western Reserve Transit Authority
Roberti Global (F/K/A Roberti White, LLC): Motion Picture Association Of America
Virginia Commonwealth University: Virginia Commonwealth University
New Lobbying Terminations
Blue Star Strategies LLC: Kaival Brands Innovations Group, Inc.
Mr. Jason Osborne: Big Cat Rescue
Pavluchuk & Associates: Neo Networks
Viking Navigation LLC: Fpn-USa, Inc.
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