With Daniel Lippman
LOBBYING ON THE FORMULA CRISIS: The Infant Nutrition Council of America, which represents members Abbott Nutrition, Gerber, Perrigo and Reckitt — which together own the largest manufacturers of infant formula in the U.S. — has tapped former Arkansas Sen. Blanche Lincoln and her lobbying firm Lincoln Policy Group to lobby for the trade association in D.C., according to a newly filed disclosure.
— The trade group already retains the association management company Kellen but consistently reports spending less than $5,000 on lobbying each quarter. Its hire of a former Agriculture Committee chair is one of the first signs that the monthslong shortage of infant formula is trickling down to K Street, which to date does not do a ton of work on infant formula issues.
— A spokesperson for the group told PI it hired Lincoln’s firm “to support the regulatory and legislative work of the association.”
— Another trade association, the Human Milk Banking Association of North America, reported its first lobbying hire earlier this week. The group, which helps nonprofit milk banks receive accreditation, hired The Raben Group last month to represent the sector in Washington in discussions on alleviating the formula crisis, according to a disclosure filed this week.
— “We are taking the opportunity, while there are solutions being vetted for the crisis of how to — let’s not have this happen again with infant formula, or you know, things like the money that’s being allocated to ensure that that formula is coming into the country or all the different solutions that they’re proposing with dollars attached … we want to make sure that we’re in that conversation,” Lindsay Groff, the group’s executive director, told PI.
— She said her organization is “working with Congress and other stakeholders to just ensure that we’re educating about donor milk, about our safety record, and trying to increase access to donor milk.” The formula shortage has caused demand for donated breast milk to go “through the roof,” Groff said. She estimated that around 80 percent of donor milk is dispensed to “medically fragile babies” in hospitals, while the rest goes to outpatient infants or those whose need for breast milk goes beyond medical conditions.
MORE NEW BUSINESS: Ahead of his visit to D.C. earlier this month to meet with President Joe Biden and lawmakers to press for tighter gun restrictions, Matthew McConaugheyenlisted the help of seasoned Washington professionals to help coordinate the trip, your host reports.
— Following a spate of recent mass shootings, including the one last month in his hometown of Uvalde, Texas, that killed 19 schoolchildren and two teachers, the award-winning actor retained a team of lobbyists at D.C. firm Avisa Partners, in a sign of the seriousness of the his emotional pleas from the White House briefing room and on the Hill.
— The registration is under the name of an Encino, Calif., holding company registered to McConaughey, Barefoot Money Inc.Noe Garcia, a onetime aide to former Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist; John Procter, a former Pentagon press secretary; and Mike Rubino, a Trump administration alum, will lobby on issues relating to “responsible gun ownership.”
KNOWING THE GUN LOBBY: “Not long after he was nominated to lead the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, David Chipman received a call from a longtime associate: firearms attorney and lobbyist Mark Barnes. Chipman assumed Barnes was in search of intel on whether he would be an industry-friendly ATF leader, so he decided against ringing the lobbyist back. He now speculates whether that failure to connect cost him the job,” our Hailey Fuchs reports in a profile of Barnes, a “rare Washington power broker with close relationships in the industry and its regulators.”
— “One of Barnes’ skills is his ability to operate in the shadows. He has largely kept his name out of the media. Few pictures of him exist on the internet. He is obscure outside of gun shows and firearms conferences. But he is well-known within the industry — and at the ATF. Richard Feldman, a former NRA lobbyist, speculated that anonymity has, in part, fueled his success.”
— “Interviews with former bureau officials, activists on both sides of the gun debate, and industry operatives, some of whom were granted anonymity to speak freely about Barnes and their interactions, along with internal ATF documents underscore the access and influence he has had over the years.”
LAWMAKERS MOVE TO REIN IN FOREIGN INFLUENCE: “A House bill introduced Thursday seeks to curb foreign influence in U.S. democracy by imposing a lifetime ban on members of Congress, senior military leaders and senior executive branch officials from lobbying for a foreign government or political party, among other measures,” The Washington Post’s Isaac Stanley-Becker reports.
— “The legislation would also compel tax-exempt groups, including think tanks, to disclose high-dollar donations and gifts from foreign powers and require political campaigns to verify that donors have a valid U.S. address, using the three-digit CVV code on the back of credit cards.”
— “The proposed measures, which have not been previously reported, respond to growing concern on Capitol Hill that key components of the government and civil society remain susceptible to foreign interference, six years after the Kremlin mounted a campaign to influence the 2016 presidential election.”
— The package, which is being introduced by a bipartisan grouping of odd bedfellows — moderate Rep. Jared Golden (D-Maine), liberal Rep. Katie Porter (D-Calif.) and conservative Rep. Paul Gosar (R-Ariz.) — seeks to address “issues brought to light more recently by the federal probe into whether retired four-star Marine Gen. John R. Allen, who resigned over the weekend as president of the Brookings Institution, lobbied on Qatar’s behalf without disclosing his activities as required under federal law.” The bill also comes “amid stepped-up enforcement by the Justice Department of the Foreign Agents Registration Act.”
RSC UNLOADS ON THE CHAMBER: “House Republicans welcomed to the Capitol on Wednesday a new self-described ‘anti-woke’ business lobbying group, amplifying their hostility toward the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and broader ‘environmental, social and corporate governance’ (ESG) movement,” Axios’ Jonathan Swan reports.
— “The Republican Study Committee, the largest group of conservatives in the House, invited leaders of the American Free Enterprise Chamber of Commerce, to lunch at the Capitol. … RSC chairman Jim Banks (R-Ind.), who is close to [Minority Leader Kevin] McCarthy, introduced the new group’s two leaders — its chairman, former Iowa governor and President Trump’s ambassador to China, Terry Branstad, and its CEO Gentry Collins, a former political director of the Republican National Committee.”
— “In his introductory remarks, Banks said he was ‘increasingly frustrated with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce for supporting woke policies and enriching China.’ … Things only got worse for the Chamber from there as the lunch entered a question-and-answer session with Branstad and Collins. … Rep. Andy Barr (R-Ky.) described the corporate ESG movement as a ‘threat’ to America that is ‘undermining American competitiveness’ and said the U.S. Chamber ‘has been corrupted by woke thinking.’”
— It was Branstad and Collins’ first trip to the Hill on the new group’s behalf, according to a press release. “We hear every day from American businesses and entrepreneurs about their hunger for keeping America’s marketplace open and free,” Collins said in a statement. “It was gratifying to hear from Congressional leaders who are committed to delivering on these principles.”
— In response, a spokesperson for the Chamber told Axios that “today, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce was advocating for boosting domestic energy production and cutting tariffs to curb inflation, fighting taxes in the Senate, securing two business community wins at the Supreme Court, and ensuring pro-business champions like [South Carolina GOP] Rep. [Nancy] Mace return to Congress. So I am not sure what these people were referring to.”
STARTUP WILL ALLOW CRYPTO FUNDRAISING: “Candidates running for election in the 2022 midterms could see a boost to their campaign war chests with the launch of a fundraising platform that will accept and process crypto donations,” CNBC’s Brian Schwartz reports.
— “The new platform, titled Engage Raise, is set to launch in July and will allow federal candidates to raise campaign cash solely through cryptocurrencies. … ‘Candidates can use our platform to connect with the crypto and blockchain community via fundraising, events, and messaging,’ Martin Dobelle, CEO of Engage Labs, the parent company of Engage Raise, told CNBC in an email. Campaigns will be able to process contributions in all major cryptocurrencies through a web browser or by adding a widget to their websites, Dobelle said.”
— “Although digital currencies are known for allowing their owners to conduct transactions anonymously, all crypto donations through Engage will need to be disclosed to the Federal Election Commission like most campaign contributions.”
— Despite major turmoil in crypto markets currently, “Dobelle is plowing ahead with the launch of Engage Labs and Engage Raise … believing that digital currency markets will rebound by the beginning of next year and carry through the 2024 election, when crypto-related fundraising could play a role in the presidential vote.”
CRYPTO TRADE GROUP HEAD LAUNCHES CONGRESSIONAL RUN: Michelle Bond, the chief executive of the Association of Digital Asset Markets, is launching a Republican bid to represent the Hamptons and Long Island’s North Shore in Congress, our Sam Sutton reports in Morning Money. Bond, a former GOP Senate staffer and SEC attorney who’s led the crypto industry group since 2020, filed paperwork with the FEC late last month to run in a newly redrawn 1st District seat that’s being vacated by four-term Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-N.Y.).
SPOTTED at a cocktail reception at District Winery hosted by Squire Patton Boggs to celebrate the return of in-person events and the firm’s new hires, per a PI tipster: Said new hires Rodney Emery, Peter Robertson, Caren Street and Tommy Andrews; Squire’s Rodney Slater, John Boehner, Bill Shuster and Jack Kingston; Reps. Richard Hudson (R-N.C.), Billy Long (R-Mo.), Dave Joyce (R-Ohio), Don Bacon (R-Neb.), Byron Donalds (R-Fla.), Julia Letlow (R-La.), Garret Graves (R-Mo.), Carlos Giménez (R-Fla.), Troy Nehls (R-Texas), Virginia Foxx (R-N.C.), Dan Newhouse (R-Wash.), Randy Weber (R-Texas), Brad Wenstrup (R-Ohio), David Rouzer (R-N.C.), David Valadao (R-Calif.), Warren Davidson (R-Ohio), Jake LaTurner (R-Kan.), Bill Huizenga (R-Mich.), Dan Meuser (R-Pa.), Troy Balderson (R-Ohio), Steve Chabot (R-Ohio), August Pfluger (R-Texas), Andrew Garbarino (R-N.Y.), Mike Carey (R-Ohio), Rodney Davis (R-Ill.) and Barr; Katherine Monge of Nancy Pelosi’s office; Ben Napier and AJ Sugarman of Steve Scalise’s office; Annie Wolf of Drew Ferguson’s office; Jen Goedke of Jared Huffman’s office; Melanee Farrah of Nikema Williams’ office; OPM’s Blake Davis, House Clerk Cheryl Johnson, Collin McCune of the House Financial Services Committee, Jeff Bozman of the House Armed Services Committee, David Planning of the House Small Business Committee and more.
— Erin Hatch Thomas will be director of policy communications at Boeing. She most recently was communications director for House Ways and Means, and is a Joaquin Castro and Cory Booker alum.
— Forbes Tate Partners has added Arthur Sidney as a senior vice president on the government affairs team. He was most recently vice president of public policy at the Computer & Communications Industry Association, and is a Hank Johnson, Sheila Jackson Lee and Commerce alum.
— Protective Life has hired Kara Adame to be head of its federal affairs office. She was previously the head of the Washington office for Mutual of Omaha and serves as the co-chair for the cybersecurity working group at the American Council of Life Insurers.
— GOP policy strategist Ian Foley has joined Invariant. He most recently was legislative director for then-Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), and is a Ken Calvert alum.
— Kellen Moran is now a public affairs fellow at Hill+Knowlton Strategies. He most recently was a junior organizational development partner at the San Francisco Recreation and Parks Department.
— Patrick Halley will be the next president and CEO of the Wireless Infrastructure Association. He currently is senior vice president of policy and advocacy and general counsel at USTelecom – The Broadband Association.
Donna McComber and Kent Stackhouse have joined EY as principals in the national tax department. McComber was most recently at the IRS and Stackhouse most recently worked at Baker McKenzie as a partner in their international tax division.
— Janay Cody is now senior adviser for data equity at Catalist. She is principal behavioral data scientist for J. & J. David LLC and previously worked for the Analyst Institute.
— David Boaz is now a distinguished senior fellow of the Cato Institute. He most recently was executive vice president of the libertarian think tank.
— Block Inc., the parent company of brands like Square, Cash App and Afterpay, is joining the Financial Technology Association.
— Pete Boogaard is joining Snap to lead its policy communications team in D.C. He previously led communications at Meta-backed immigration group FWD.us and is an Obama White House, NSC and DHS alum.
— Alissa Brenner and Alex Bradley are joining Crosscut Strategies. Brenner will be a senior vice president and previously was at FGS Global. Bradley will be a strategic communications manager and previously was a speechwriter for Pennsylvania A.G. Josh Shapiro.
— Millan Robinson is now a policy programs associate with Meta. She was previously associate director for the office of DNC leadership.
— Retired Gen. Frank McKenzie, former head of U.S. Central Command, is now executive director of the Global National Security Institute at the University of South Florida.
Alston & Bird LLP: Diabetes Technology Access Coalition (Informal Coalition)
Amryt Pharma: Amryt Pharma
Avisa Partners US, Inc.: Barefoot Money Inc.
Cartwright & Riley, Inc.: University Of St. Augustine For Health Sciences
Fierce Government Relations: Chipotle Mexican Grill, Inc.
Fierce Government Relations: Edward D. Jones & Co., L.P.
Fierce Government Relations: Unilever United States, Inc.
Invariant LLC: Bridge To Renewables, Inc. D/B/A Btr Energy
Lincoln Policy Group: Infant Nutrition Council Of America
Tractor Supply Company: Tractor Supply Company