With Daniel Lippman and Theodoric Meyer
PROGRAMMING NOTE: POLITICO Influence will not publish on Monday, Jan. 18. We’ll be back on our normal schedule on Tuesday, Jan. 19. Please continue to follow POLITICO Influence.
FIRST IN PI — ‘DEAN OF CAMPAIGN FINANCE’ COMES OUT OF RETIREMENT: The law firm Holtzman Vogel Josefiak Torchinsky has talked veteran campaign finance lawyer Jan Baran out of retirement, scooping up the longtime GOP attorney as a partner. Baran had planned to hang it up for good at the end of last year after 35 years at Wiley Rein, but a tribute on the Senate floor by Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, a past client and longtime friend, sparked a torrent of interest from incredulous clients and former colleagues that lured Baran back into practice, he said in an interview.
— “Instead of rendering what some people might’ve considered a eulogy, it was basically a letter of recommendation,” Baran joked about McConnell’s speech last month, which called Baran “an integral part of legal teams that have defended Americans’ political speech rights before the U.S. Supreme Court.” Baran said that when Jill and Alex Vogel reached out following McConnell’s remarks, “it didn’t seem like it was a new opportunity. It seemed more like a homecoming.”
— Baran represented McConnell in the senator’s legal challenge to the McCain-Feingold campaign finance law, and his amicus brief in the Citizens United case was cited by both the prevailing and dissenting opinions. “Corporations for decades have relied on his advice and counsel,” said Jill Vogel, the firm’s managing partner, adding that “everyone in the firm” is “elated” about Baran joining.
CHAMBER LAUNCHES INFRASTRUCTURE PUSH: The U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the Bipartisan Policy Center launched a new coalition today tying passage of a prospective infrastructure package to the Fourth of July. Tom Donohue, the Chamber’s chief executive, made infrastructure a central part of his pitch to help American business rebound from the coronavirus-induced recession in a speech Tuesday. The new push comes as confidence swells on K Street that the incoming Biden administration, paired with Democratic control in both houses of Congress, will pass a huge, likely bipartisan infrastructure deal this year.
— Nearly 150 trade groups, unions and other stakeholders have already signed on to the “Build by the Fourth of July” campaign, including North America’s Building Trades Unions, the National Wildlife Federation, the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials and the National Association of Home Builders.
Good afternoon, and welcome to PI. Send your tips and best K Street gossip: [email protected]. And follow me on Twitter: @caitlinoprysko.
FIRST IN PI — NARRATIVE CONTINUES TO STAFF UP: Narrative Strategies has tapped veteran GOP strategist Zach Hunter as a managing director. Hunter was previously the vice president of the Republican leadership-aligned Congressional Leadership Fund and American Action Network, whose tens of millions of dollars in outside spending helped Republicans claw back seats in the House in November’s election. The strategic communications firm, started last year by Ken Spain, Patrick O’Connor and Ed Mullen, now has a staff of nearly two dozen and added Jill Farquharson, a longtime aide to Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.), last month after Biden’s win.
SHOT: NRSC Chair Rick Scott (R-Fla.) maintains “he can still effectively lead the Senate GOP’s campaign arm, even as Republicans in Congress remain divided and a growing number of companies pledge not to donate to lawmakers who voted against certifying two states’ Electoral College votes,” a group that includes the freshman senator.
— “Despite his vote last week, Scott said he won’t have trouble raising money, noting he’s been meeting with donors in recent days,” Roll Call’s Bridget Bowman writes. “‘If a company believes in high taxes and more regulations and bigger government and less money for the military, they ought to go fund the Democrats,’ Scott told CQ Roll Call in an interview. ‘If they believe what Republicans believe in, I think they’re going to fund us.’”
CHASER: Another powerful industry lobby has joined the chorus of groups that are freezing political contributions to Republicans who voted against certifying the election results, POLITICO’s Susannah Luthi reports. The American Hospital Association, whose PAC spent nearly $1.2 million on congressional candidates during the 2020 election cycle — though it mostly gave to Democrats — will suspend its contributions to Republican election objectors indefinitely.
— “Rep. Michael Burgess of Texas, the top Republican on the House Energy and Commerce health subcommittee who joined the dissenters, was a top recipient of AHA giving in the last campaign cycle, as was House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy of California.”
AND: “The powerful Koch political network, funders of the Tea Party, will ‘weigh heavy’ the actions of members of Congress in the days leading up to and after last week’s siege of the Capitol when considering future donations,” POLITICO’s Maggie Severn reports, “in a sign that the GOP’s megadonor class is uncomfortable with the party’s recent actions.”
RELATED: The liberal group End Citizens United released a round-up of corporate donors to the eight senators and four of the GOP congressmen who objected to the election certification last week.
TRUMP TWITTER BAN’S UNINTENDED CONSEQUENCES: “Banning President Trump from Twitter didn’t just cut his personal communications channel but curbed a cottage industry of lobbyists and consultants who monetized their ability to get clients into his Twitterverse,” Axios’ Lachlan Markay writes. “Promoting clients on social media has been a routine public affairs tactic for as long as it’s existed. But Trump’s unique obsession turbocharged its value for firms and their clients looking to get his attention.”
— The hierarchy: “Getting Trump to tweet about a client or pet issue was gold. He had 88 million followers and used his feed to promote people, TV programs and causes. A retweet was silver. A tweet by Don Jr., Ivanka or Trump pals like Rudy Giuliani earned a bronze.”
DEBT SETTLEMENT INDUSTRY LAUNCHES COALITION: A group of debt settlement industry leaders are banding together to “self-police” their industry, which can be rife with scams, amid spiking debt across the country and a push within some state legislatures to target the practice. The trade group, dubbed the Consumer Debt Relief Initiative, will focus on educating consumers about alternatives to filing for bankruptcy while also helping to weed out bad actors, Tomas Gordon, the group’s chairman said in an interview.
SCHWARTZ STEPPING DOWN FROM MEDICARE GROUP: Former Rep. Allyson Schwartz (D-Pa.) is stepping down later this year as president and CEO of the Better Medicare Alliance, a coalition of business and health care leaders supporting Medicare Advantage. Schwartz joined the group in 2015 after a decade in Congress and helped grow its membership from 13 organizations to more than 150. She also launched a grassroots component and research arm for the group, it said in a statement.
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT: “One of BlackRock Inc.’s most well-known co-founders, Barbara Novick, is taking a stab at retirement for the second time,” The Wall Street Journal’s Dawn Lim reports. Novick “led the firm’s public-policy efforts, building a lobbying machine that allowed BlackRock to avoid the same regulations as banks and fueling its rise into the world’s largest money manager with $7.8 trillion under management. She tried to leave last year but stayed on as the coronavirus pandemic unnerved markets. She says this time it’s for real.”
— Strategies 360 has hired Patrick Baskette as a senior adviser. He’ll start on Friday and plans to register as a lobbyist, according to the firm. He comes from Shumaker Advisors Florida, where he was a principal. He also once worked as a Senate aide to President-elect Joe Biden.
— Robinhood, the stock trading app that’s ramped up its presence in Washington in recent months, has hired Jacqueline Ortiz Ramsay as head of public policy communications. She previously ran the National Association of Federally-Insured Credit Unions’ communications department.
— Christopher Scribner has joined Venable as a senior policy adviser in the legislative and government affairs practice. He was most recently senior vice president and principal of the Smith-Free Group.
— Greg Chesmore has joined Acceleron Pharma as vice president and head of government affairs. He previously led U.S. government affairs and policy at Bristol Myers Squibb.
— Will Mesinger and Carly Coakley have both been promoted to directors at Seven Letter. Mesinger and Coakley were previously managers and have been with the firm dating back to its Blue Engine Message and Media days.
— Lucia Alonzo and Mike Dankler are joining Michael Best Strategies as principals. Alonzo most recently served as chief of staff for Ferox Strategies and is a Podesta Group and Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) alum. Dankler most recently served as the chief of staff for Rep. Jackie Walorski (R-Ind.).
— Devry Boughner Vorwerk will join Grubhub next week as its chief corporate affairs officer. She previously served as the chief executive of DevryBV Sustainable Strategies.
— Blain Rethmeier and Zack Roday have joined public affairs firm 76 Group, which has rebranded from EIS Solutions. Rethmeier is a Bush alum who was most recently vice president of public affairs at Hims and Hers, and Roday is a Paul Ryan alum and former communications director for the House Energy and Commerce Committee.
Bright Future New Jersey (PAC)
Enlight Tennessee (PAC)
Just Oust Seditious Hacks PAC (Super PAC)
More Blue (PAC)
Swing Blue PAC (PAC)
Covington & Burling LLP: Freedom For All Americans
Greenberg Traurig, LLP: Cgi Federal, Inc.
Jamison And Sullivan, Inc.: Oregon Timber Counties Coalition
Joby Aero, Inc.: Joby Aero, Inc.
Lewis-Burke Associates, LLC: American Society Of Human Genetics
Merkava Strategies Corporation: Ataollah Aminpour
Merkava Strategies Corporation: Hersel Neman
Merkava Strategies Corporation: Morad Ben Neman
American Continental Group: Cognizant Technology Solutions U.S. Corporation
Broydrick & Associates: Ad Hoc Coalition To Preserve The B&I
Broydrick & Associates: Sunovion (Formerly Filed As Sepracor)
Card & Associates, LLC: Epic Systems
Cassidy & Associates, Inc.: Argentum
Cassidy & Associates, Inc.: Mississippi Development Authority
Cassidy & Associates, Inc.: One Health Solutions, LLC
Epplin Strategic Planning: Human Rights Campaign
Fbb Federal Relations: Fracpac
Fti Government Affairs: Pmi Global Services Inc.
Hogan Lovells US LLP: Thirteenth Floor Entertainment Group, LLC
Jamison And Sullivan, Inc.: 1901 Group
Jenkins Hill Consulting, LLC: Fiorentino Group
Morrissey Strategic Partners, LLC: Printing Industries Of America
Morrissey Strategic Partners, LLC: Runyan Public Affairs On Behalf Of The Envelope Manufacurers Association
Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough: Cascade Hemophilia Consortium
Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough: Hifu Prostate Services, LLC
Polsinelli Pc: The Advertising Coalition
Polsinelli Pc: Tridentusa Health Services
R. L. Harris Associates, LLC: Weyerhaeuser Company
Strategic Marketing Innovations: Powerchem
Vox Global: Tadano America
Watson & Company Government Services, Inc: Areti International Group