With help from Daniel Lippman
TOP PELOSI TAX AIDE HEADS TO K STREET: The tax lobbying firm Capitol Tax Partners has snapped up Katherine Mongé, a longtime aide to House Speaker Emerita Nancy Pelosi, making her one of the top tax aides in Congress.
— Mongé worked for Pelosi for nearly a decade, advising the former speaker on every major piece of tax and trade bills during that time, including the landmark climate and tax reconciliation package passed last summer but also the implementing legislation for the USMCA trade deal.
— In an interview, Mongé said she’ll now deploy that expertise on behalf of clients as agencies like the Treasury Department craft regulations to implement the reconciliation bill, which included a panoply of new tax credits to goose domestic EV production and clean technology investments as well as a new book minimum tax on large corporations.
— “I got to be in the room” when those provisions hammered out, she told PI, “so I have a good sense of what congressional intent was, or how — particularly House Democrats — but Democrats across the board, were thinking about provisions, or will think about future provisions.”
— In addition to demystifying those for clients, Mongé will also be able to bring an understanding of the impacts of policies and policy proposals on different sectors or companies to policymakers, she said.
— As for the raft of tax issues left on the cutting room floor by last year’s government funding bill (to the chagrin of scores of lobbyists and industries) Mongé told PI it’s too soon to tell what’s possible in the new Congress, with much of this year likely being spent laying the groundwork and building relationships with new leadership in the House as well as atop the tax-writing Ways and Means Committee.
NRA TAPS ACTING CHIEF LOBBYIST: The National Rifle Association has tapped Randy Kozuch to serve temporarily as the gun rights group’s top lobbyist following the departure of its longtime head of government relations last month, according to an announcement sent to staff today.
— Kozuch has worked for the group for more than 29 years as a director of political affairs. He’ll be the interim executive director of the nonprofit’s lobbying arm, the NRA-Institute for Legislative Action, until the organization names a permanent successor to former lobbying chief Jason Ouimet. “Randy is a tireless advocate, a veteran of national and local politics, and a dedicated partner to the NRA,” NRA CEO Wayne LaPierre said in the note to staff.
— LaPierre made no mention of the internal turmoil that has enveloped the group in recent years and cost the group millions of members and some of its influence, but declared that the NRA is gearing up for the new election cycle. Kozuch is “the best choice to lead our team, as the NRA advances its political strategy and builds a blueprint to support pro-Second Amendment candidates for the 2024 national election,” LaPierre said.
Happy Thursday and welcome to PI. Send your juiciest lobbying gossip: [email protected]. And be sure to follow me on Twitter: @caitlinoprysko.
NO ONE LOVES TIKTOK DIVESTMENT PLAN: The Biden administration has demanded that TikTok company ByteDance sell its stake in the popular video platform or face a ban on the app in the U.S., but the proposal was panned among key lawmakers and TikTok’s chief executive alike.
— TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew told The Wall Street Journal “that divesting the company from its Chinese owners — a move the U.S. is now demanding — doesn’t offer any more protection than a multibillion-dollar plan TikTok has already proposed,” which would involve storing users’ data in the U.S. and partnering with American cloud giant Oracle to act as a firewall between that data and access to it or influence from the Chinese government.
— The administration’s proposal also got a lukewarm reception from two lawmakers leading the charge in Congress to clamp down on TikTok, POLITICO’s Brendan Bordelon reports. “I’m not convinced the Biden administration is serious about it,” said Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), the top Republican on the Senate Intelligence Committee.
— Senate Intelligence Chair Mark Warner (D-Va.), meanwhile, said that “I’ve still got a lot of questions — whether divestiture is enough?” Warner added that he’d want to know where the source code for TikTok’s algorithm would reside under the Biden plan.
FOX TAPS NEW TOP LOBBYIST: Fox Corp. is promoting Kristopher Jones to executive vice president and head of its government relations team after the company’s former top lobbyist, Danny O’Brien, left the media giant.
— Jones has been with the company since before it was spun off from 21st Century Fox, and previously worked at the National Association of Broadcasters. Fox also promoted Jamie Gillespie, another NAB alum and a former Senate Commerce aide, to executive vice president for government relations.
SAFE RELAUNCHES WITH A NEW FACE: “A group that was set up to fight a prior Biden administration-backed tax increase on generational wealth transfers is launching a new campaign raising concerns about Democrats’ proposals to tax the richest households based on the value of unsold assets like stock, homes and art,” Roll Call’s Laura Weiss reports.
— The advocacy group, dubbed Saving America’s Family Enterprises, or SAFE, has tapped Louisiana senator-turned-lobbyist John Breaux to serve as a senior adviser and the face of its new campaign, which includes an initial seven-figure ad buy in key swing states where Democrats will be defending seats next year.
— The offensive against taxing unrealized gains at death is the latest attempt by Democrats in Washington to hike taxes on the wealthy and on major corporations, and the latest to run into opposition steered by friendly faces. SAFE’s first iteration in 2021 sought to sink a similar proposal in Democrats’ sprawling reconciliation plans with the help of another red state Senate Democrat, North Dakota’s Heidi Heitkamp.
— Blanche Lincoln, the former Democratic senator from Arkansas, served as the face of a business coalition looking to fight an increase in the corporate tax rate, while former Montana Democrat Max Baucus, who served as the chair of the Senate Finance Committee, penned op-eds criticizing attempts to close the so-called step-up basis loophole and crack down on so-called “mega” IRA accounts.
MEET ‘EM WHERE THEY’RE AT: Policymakers’ attention comes at a premium, making it all the more critical for those seeking to influence officials to be efficient with their resources, and it helps to know where D.C. insiders are turning for their dose of news and entertainment. That’s the idea behind Subject Matter’s more-or-less biannual policy insider media habits survey, the most recent findings of which were shared with PI exclusively.
— This year’s survey was fielded in January and polled 204 members of a proprietary panel put together by the firm’s third-party research partner Quadrant which consists of current and former public and private sector policy professionals, according to survey leader Dianne Mikeska.
— The findings, Mikeska told PI, allow the firm to provide more targeted advice to clients on how to reach the people in charge of setting policy. “There are a lot of important issues, and not necessarily with the biggest budgets available,” she said. “We’re able to counsel them on the places where they might have the most impact, because we know that that’s where the eyeballs are the interest or the engagement is.”
— This year’s survey found that D.C.’s top destination for policy news (POLITICO) and insiders’ self-reported most trusted source of news (The New York Times) haven’t changed since 2021. But it logged an interesting partisan shift in social media usage: For the first time, Republican Twitter users in the survey overtook Democrats, with 69 percent of Republicans estimating they use the platform daily or almost daily, compared with just over half of Democratic respondents.
— Republicans drove Twitter’s first appearance in the survey as a most-trusted source of news, even as the vast majority of those surveyed — 73 percent — denied that Twitter’s new conservative-friendly owner would have an impact on how often they use the platform. That wasn’t the case for Democrats in the survey, about half of whom predicted they’ll use the platform less because of its new owner.
— And in great news for your host, the survey also found that while generally, respondents have turned away from a number of their daily media habits since 2021 — there were drops in reading news online, streaming TV shows and movies, browsing Instagram, LinkedIn and Facebook and listening to podcasts and streaming radio — insiders are increasingly reading email newsletters.
— Online newsletters tied with web searches as the second-most-popular daily media habit, with 77 percent responding that they read one almost daily — up from 69 percent in 2021.
— David Ferguson has joined BGR Group as a senior director at BGR Public Relations. He previously led his own firm, Ferguson & Associates.
— The Asian & Pacific Islander American Health Forum hired Jennifer Van der Heide as vice president of policy and advocacy. She was previously chief counsel for former Rep. Charlie Crist.
— Laura Uttley has joined the Woodwell Climate Research Center as director of government relations. She was previously a principal at Lewis-Burke Associates and is a Jim Langevin and Jack Reed alum.
— Marianne Kaiser has joined Clyde Group as senior vice president of creative and digital. She was most recently vice president and creative director at Fingerpaint.
— Chamber Hill Strategies has added Andy Franke and Annissa McDonald as principals. Franke previously was with Zimmer Biomet and is an Erik Paulsen and Lynn Jenkins alum and McDonald was previously with Healthgrades and is a Medicare Payment Advisory Commission alum. Tah Ashi joined as a digital marketing manager.
— Traci Biswese joined the NCTA – The Internet & Television Association as its vice president and associate general counsel, per Morning Tech. She previously was Meta’s associate general counsel of telecom and regulatory.
— Faiz Shakir was named the interim executive director of the American Economic Liberties Project and Nidhi Hegde was promoted to managing director. Shakir is the founder and executive director of More Perfect Union.
— Trevor Higgins is now senior vice president for energy and environment at the Center for American Progress, replacing Christy Goldfuss, who departed CAP last year, Morning Energy reports. Higgins previously served as CAP’s vice president for climate policy and is a Sen. Dianne Feinstein alum.
— Maureen Tkacik will be investigations editor at The American Prospect. She currently is a senior fellow at the American Economic Liberties Project, an affiliation she’ll keep.
— Matthew Dybwad is now senior vice president and head of political at IQM, a programmatic media buying and audience intelligence platform focused on politics. He previously was associate director at Xandr.
— Lou Chiarella is now senior counsel in Crowell & Moring’s government contracts group. He previously was deputy assistant general counsel at the GAO.
— Megan Shea is now scheduler for Rep. Jill Tokuda (D-Hawaii). She most recently was government relations manager at the News/Media Alliance.
— Danielle Barrow is the new executive director of Winning For Women. Barrow previously served as Winning For Women’s chief of staff. Before that, she was political director for Rep. Morgan Griffith (R-Va.).
New Joint Fundraisers
MCA Victory Fund (Reps. Chrissy Houlahan, Mikie Sherrill, Abigail Spanberger)
Americans for Common Sense Super Pac (Super PAC)
Frontline PAC (PAC)
Nebraska Parents PAC (PAC)
Tamil Americans United Political Action Committee (PAC)
New Lobbying REGISTRATIONS
Alston & Bird LLP: The Mathworks, Inc.
Ballard Partners: Fernando Diez Barroso Azcarraga & Maria Lucia Tolo
Ballard Partners: Gapingvoid Culture Design Group
Ballard Partners: Insightec, Inc.
Firefly Aerospace, Inc.: Firefly Aerospace, Inc.
Great State Strategies: Missouri Hemp Trade Association
Great State Strategies: Shaman Botanicals
Kountoupes Denham Carr & Reid, LLC: Research!America
Kountoupes Denham Carr & Reid, LLC: The Great Plains Institute For Sustainable Development, Inc.
Lewis-Burke Associates, LLC: Allen Institute
Passage Consulting Group LLC: Mbda Incorporated
Passage Consulting Group LLC: Reliable Robotics Corporation
Smith Advocacy Group, LLC: Marine Industries Association Of The Treasure Coast
Smith Dawson & Andrews: Carroll College
Smith Dawson & Andrews: St. Ambrose University
Smith Dawson & Andrews: Trust For Public Land
New Lobbying Terminations