With Daniel Lippman
FORMER TRUMP NEC OFFICIAL WILL LOBBY FOR COINBASE: Coinbase, the largest cryptocurrency exchange in the U.S., has added a third outside lobbying firm to its roster as the industry continues to expand its footprint in Washington. Mayer Brown’s Andrew Olmem, who served in the Trump administration as deputy director of the National Economic Council and was a longtime attorney on the Senate Banking Committee, will lobby for Coinbase on tax and financial regulation issues, according to newly filed disclosures. The company also retains Steptoe & Johnson, which it hired in March, and Franklin Square Group.
— According to the new disclosures, the hiring came within days of the departure of Brett Redfearn, a former official at the SEC who was head of Coinbase’s capital-markets group, from the company, according to a report in The Wall Street Journal last month. It also took place as crypto companies have rushed to snap up former government officials as Washington policymakers bear down on the rapidly growing sector. In a series of tweets on Tuesday, Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong rebuked the SEC over a threat to sue the company over a new lending product.
FARM BUREAU ‘DEEPLY CONCERNED’ BY RECONCILIATION PROCESS: The head of the nation’s most influential ag lobbying group wrote to congressional leadership on Tuesday to raise the deep concerns with Democrats’ plans to forge ahead with a $3.5 trillion partisan spending package to shore up the social safety net, invest in combating climate change, and hike taxes on corporations and the wealthy to do so.
— “The overall price tag, the proposed tax increases, and the limited ability for stakeholders to engage with lawmakers is troubling,” American Farm Bureau President Zippy Duvall wrote in a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell. Duvall pointed to the trillions of dollars Congress is set to spend this year on a coronavirus relief package and a bipartisan infrastructure bill, should the latter pass the House. Now, Duvall wrote, “Congress is considering another massive partisan spending bill, this one set to be paid for by massive tax hikes on the farmers and ranchers who ensured our nation’s food supply remained secure during the pandemic.”
— While Duvall allowed that “there might be an opportunity” to make climate and conservation investments, he called on Democrats to enact them “in a transparent and bipartisan fashion,” with public hearings to advance provisions with “widespread support and significant input from a variety of stakeholders.” He argued that a variety of Democrats’ proposed changes to the tax code, like imposing taxes on large inheritances and eliminating the pass-through deduction, “will have a disproportionate impact on American family farms, stifle economic growth and rural prosperity and could lead to further consolidation across the agricultural sector putting multi-generational family farms in jeopardy.”
— A coalition of more than 300 state and national agriculture and livestock groups followed the missive up with a letter to the top tax writers in the House and Senate today specifically opposing “long-standing tax code provisions that are fundamental to the financial health of production agriculture and the businesses that supply its inputs, transport its products, market its commodities, and support the vibrancy of U.S. livestock and crop production.”
VAN SCOYOC TAPS HELP STAFFER TO EXPAND EDUCATION AND WORKFORCE PRACTICE: Peter Oppenheim, a longtime counsel and staffer for Senate HELP Committee Republicans, has left the Hill and joined Van Scoyoc Associates to help the firm expand its roster of education and workforce clients. In an interview, Oppenheim said his decision to depart from the Hill, where he served in several roles on the committee, including general counsel, education policy director and acting labor policy director, came down to his looking for a new challenge, and said he plans to be involved in reconciliation negotiations — the HELP Committee has been tasked with doling out $726 billion under the Democrats’ budget resolution.
— Oppenheim also managed the committee’s work on NIL compensation for college athletes, an issue he called a “fascinating” challenge facing the federal government, and coronavirus liability protections for businesses and workers.
FACEBOOK TAKES TO WASHINGTON TO PITCH REVAMPED DIGITAL CURRENCY: “After years of workshopping a cryptocurrency and digital wallet, Facebook leaders are hitting the road to convince policymakers in Washington that the social network is ready to introduce a new-age financial suite,” The Washington Post’s Cristiano Lima reports.
— “It’s the latest chapter in a dizzying saga for the products, formerly known as Libra and Calibra and now rebranded as Diem and Novi, which sought to reinvent how people worldwide do business and transfer funds but were ensnared in global controversy over potential harms. Even the revived push is already facing heavy skepticism from one top lawmaker and analysts, however, who said that Facebook hasn’t quelled the underlying concerns that ignited scrutiny over the initiative in recent years,” despite the social network amassing an army of lobbyists to help sell regulators on both sides of the Atlantic on the idea.
— “Facebook has touted the products as a boon particularly for the developing world: a way to lower costs for payment services, facilitate cross-border transfers and reach underbanked communities globally. … But since its unveiling in 2019, it has been perpetually delayed, amid intense concern from lawmakers and regulators that any for-profit company — let alone Facebook — issuing a digital currency could destabilize global economies and create a haven for illicit activities like money laundering.”
HOUSE DEMS URGE NEAL TO BUCK CORPORATE LOBBYISTS ON INTERNATIONAL TAXES: “Dozens of House Democrats are urging House Ways and Means Chair Richard Neal (D-Mass.) to avoid softening up proposed tax increases on U.S. multinationals. The Democrats, led by Rep. Lloyd Doggett of Texas, the No. 2 Democrat in seniority at Ways and Means, want Congress to pass the international provisions prescribed by President Joe Biden and Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen,” POLITICO’s Bernie Becker writes.
— “Business groups have argued those proposals — including a minimum tax rate of as much as 21 percent — are too harsh and would give an edge to their competition. Even some more centrist Democratic lawmakers are worried about the U.S. moving too far on international changes and going beyond what would be required by the global tax agreement currently being negotiated through the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.”
— But Doggett and the more than 40 other signatories rebuffed that assertion in their letter to Neal, writing that “the argument that Biden’s international tax proposals will make American businesses uncompetitive makes for forceful lobbying but has no basis in fact.” The signatories contended “there will be consequences if Democrats aren’t aggressive enough on making international changes and urged Neal to stay strong against corporate lobbying on the issue,” arguing also that the party “would leave large inequities in the tax code without a more robust international system,” and “could help strengthen Yellen’s hand in international negotiations by more fully backing the administration,” Bernie reports.
WHERE K STREET SEES RECONCILIATION BILL LANDING ON TAXES: “Democrats had hoped that the tax side would be more than notations on an accounting ledger. They regard it as an opportunity to fundamentally change policies to address growing income inequality, reduce incentives for corporations to move jobs and profits overseas, and slow the amassing of huge fortunes that pass through generations untaxed.” But Jonathan Weisman, Alan Rappeport and Jim Tankersley report for The New York Times that “corporate interests, led by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the Business Roundtable and Americans for Tax Reform, have mobilized a multifaceted lobbying and advertising blitz to stop the tax increases — or at least mitigate them.”
— “Lobbyists expect the top individual income tax rate to return to 39.6 percent from the 37 percent rate that President Donald J. Trump’s tax cuts created in 2017. The corporate income tax rate will also rise from the 21 percent in the Trump tax cuts, though not to the 35 percent rate of the Obama years. Lawmakers say a 25 percent rate is more likely.” K Street is also bullish that Democratic plans to raise taxes on large inheritances — a proposal against which former Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.) is lobbying at the behest of her former colleague-turned-lobbyist John Breaux — will be scrapped from the final version of the bill.
GETTING THE BOOT: President Joe Biden today moved to eject a slate of Trump allies from their appointments to various military advisory boards, per POLITICO’s Daniel Lippman. The loyalists facing ousters includes Dave Urban, the American Continental Group lobbyist-turned-ByteDance-executive who sits on West Point’s board of visitors.
— Russ Vought, a former member of Trump’s Cabinet, is also among those the White House is looking to remove. “On behalf of President Biden, I am writing to request your resignation as a Member of the Board of Visitors to the U.S. Naval Academy,” Cathy Russell, the director of the White House’s Presidential Personnel Office, wrote, according to the letter that Vought subsequently posted on Twitter. “Please submit your resignation to me by the close of business today. Should we not receive your resignation, your position with the Board will be terminated effective 6:00 p.m. tonight.” Vought, who has since founded the conservative think tank the Center for Renewing America, said in the tweet he intended to fill out the rest of his three-year term.
MASTERCARD REVAMPS D.C. OFFICE: Mastercard has announced a raft of promotions and role expansions in its D.C. office: Tucker Foote has been named executive vice president of public policy for the Americas, uniting the North and South America public policy operations. Tom Gannon, a vice president of public policy, will lead the U.S. federal affairs team, while Patrick Dwyer, another vice president of public policy, will head up U.S. state affairs. Kendra Brown and Sam Batkins have both been promoted to vice presidents of public policy, and Meg Boland will be manager of public policy. The company is also moving to add two more to its Washington operation.
— Bill McQuillen will join Invariant’s communications and public affairs practice, where he will advise clients on media strategy, public affairs, executive visibility, and reputation issues. He was most recently executive vice president and Washington earned media lead at Burson Cohn & Wolfe.
— Chancè Hindir-Lane joined Aerospace Industries Association as a coordinator for communication and legislative affairs. She was previously an assessor program coordinator at AABB.
— Peraton hired Mara Motherway as senior vice president for government and customer relations. She was most recently a lobbyist at Booz Allen Hamilton.
— Tara Zachariah joined Adfero as energy practice lead and senior vice president, Rebecca McAlexander joined as human resources manager across the company, and Jordan Daniel joined as account executive in the public affairs practice. Zachariah was most recently a vice president at Boundary Stone Partners, McAlexander joins from Northpond Ventures, and Daniel was most recently at ElevenEleven Public Relations.
— Retired Army Lt. Gen. Paul Ostrowski has joined J. A. Green & Company as executive vice president of defense programs. He previously served as the principal military deputy to the assistant secretary of the Army for acquisition, logistics and technology, and was also the seniormost civilian for HHS’ Operation Warp Speed.
— Citizens for Responsible Energy Solutions added John Nagle as a government relations associate. Nagle previously served as a major gift officer at the Koch networks’ umbrella organization Stand Together.
— Sean Perryman will be the executive director of the The Thurgood Marshall College Fund’s Dr. N. Joyce Payne Center for Social Justice. He was previously director of social impact policy at the Internet Association.
— Alka Bhatt has joined Reservoir Communications Group as a senior adviser, and Samantha Leonardo has joined the media team. Bhatt previously served in various strategic roles at Bristol Myers Squibb and Leonardo is the former press secretary for HHS’ COVID-19 Joint Information Center.
— Ethan Holmes is now director of private sector engagement for the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative. He most recently was special assistant to the USTR.
— Raffi Williams has joined Edelman as a vice president on the financial communications team focused on real estate and REITs. He was previously acting communications director at the Federal Housing Finance Agency and is a HUD, RNC and Rep. Steve Scalise (R-La.) alum.
— Varun Krovi is now head of federal affairs for Guarding Against Pandemics. Krovi was previously a director at Invariant and is a Rep. Brenda Lawrence (D-Mich.) alum.
— Navient has hired Regina Luzincourt as a senior director on the government relations team. She previously served as the national director of political action at the Transport Workers Union of America and was a transportation adviser to the Biden campaign.
— The Apollo Pact, which advocates for medical research and education of the therapeutic effects of psilocybin and psychedelic-assisted therapies, has named former Rep. Mimi Walters (R-Calif.) the chair of its board. Ali Amirhooshmand, a Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) alum and head of government and external relations at Magic Leap, will be chief operating officer.
— Katie McBreen will become vice president of communications for Blue Cross Blue Shield Association later this month. She previously held the same role with Consumer Brands Association.
— Mosaic Strategy Group and Talavera Strategies are merging and appointing Ginette Magaña Salas as a partner. She is president and founder of Talavera Strategies and is an Obama White House alum.
— Prism Group added two new team members: Senate Small Business & Entrepreneurship Committee alum Olivia Nutter is now an adviser for economic and community development policy. Ian Doty is now an associate and he recently interned with Rep. Lizzie Fletcher (D-Texas).
Forever Free Action Fund (Super PAC)
Palmetto Citizens for Informed Governance (Hybrid PAC)
Abi Associates: Pernod Ricard USa
Arent Fox LLP: District Alliance For Safe Housing, Inc. (Dash)
Asset & Equity Corporation: Rxbio
Bell & Lindsay, Inc.: Gac Sponsor, LLC
Ernst & Young LLP (Washington Council Ernst & Young): Cambridge Information Group, Inc.
Major Cities Chiefs Association: Major Cities Chiefs Association
Mayer Brown LLP: Coinbase Global Inc.
Mccaulley&Company: City Of Painesville