June 9, 2021
By Caitlin Oprysko
REPORT: COMPANIES THAT PAID NO CORPORATE INCOME TAX DROPPED $450M ON INFLUENCE EFFORTS: On the heels of ProPublica’s bombshell report on Tuesday showing that some of the wealthiest Americans routinely pay little or no taxes, a new report from watchdog group Public Citizen today dives into the lobbying expenditures of 55 corporations that paid no federal corporate income tax in 2020, according to an analysis from the liberal Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy.
— The report found that over the past three election cycles, the companies spent a combined $408 million to lobby the federal government while dishing out $42 million in campaign contributions during that period. Over half of the companies reported lobbying Congress on tax issues during that time, according to the report, with 22 of the companies reporting that they lobbied on the 2017 GOP tax bill that lowered the corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 21 percent.
— “FedEx spent the most of any company in this analysis,” according to the report, “spending $71 million on lobbying and campaign contributions from the 2016 election cycle through the 2020 cycle (years 2015 through 2020). FedEx is followed by Charter Communications ($64 million), American Electric Power ($42 million), Duke Energy ($37 million) and Textron ($22 million).”
KOCH COMMS VET JOINS CGCN: Peter Ventimiglia has decamped from Koch Industries after almost seven years and joined CGCN Group as a partner. Ventimiglia, who led external relations and a corporate reputation campaign for Koch, will stick to similar issues on the communications side for CGCN, in addition to the occasional research analytics work. Steve Lombardo, Koch’s chief communications and marketing officer, in a statement called Ventimiglia “one of the primary architects of our communications strategy at Koch, and his work was instrumental in driving our efforts forward in a significant way.”
— Ventimiglia told PI in an interview that he will also be assisting clients on how best to make sure their target audience sees messages given how much the media landscape has shifted in recent years. “I think it's staying on top of those things, and recognizing that it's really tough — as a corporation, it's really tough these days to make sure that the right people are hearing your stories,” he said.
NEW BUSINESS: Qualcomm has added new outside lobbying teams to its arsenal for the first time in two years. The chipmaker retained a team from Capitol Tax Partners at the beginning of last month to lobby on international tax issues, according to disclosures filed Tuesday. In April, it hired a team from Tiber Creek Group (previously Peck Madigan Jones) to lobby on corporate taxes. The semiconductor and wireless tech company retains a host of other outside firms, including Covington & Burling, a contract that is routinely among the largest on K Street each quarter.
— E-cigarette giant Juul Labs has also added a new outside lobbyist for the first time since 2019. The vape maker hired Miller & Chevalier’s Jorge Castro, a former top IRS aide, to lobby on excise tax issues. (A perennially introduced bill by Senate Judiciary Chair Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) would create a federal excise tax on e-cigarettes among other products and tax them the same as combustible cigarettes.) In a statement to PI, a Juul spokesperson said Castro will lobby Congress on “risk-proportionate tax matters,” which “applies the most stringent regulations to the riskiest tobacco products and encourages adult users to transition to potentially less harmful alternatives like vapor products while combatting underage use.”
— Visa, too, expanded its roster of lobbyists for the first time in a few years according to new filings. It brought on 535 Group’s David Lugar and Jefferies Murray.
REMEMBER THE TIKTOK BAN?: “President Joe Biden on Wednesday rescinded former President Donald Trump’s executive orders that sought to effectively ban the Chinese-owned video app TikTok, instead replacing it with new guidelines for assessing apps' potential risks to U.S. data,” POLITICO’s Cristiano Lima reports.
— In place of the Trump edict — which was aimed at shutting down the U.S. operations of other apps linked to China like WeChat and cited “allegations that Amercians’ personal data could fall into the hands of government officials in Beijing” — Biden’s order “establishes a set of criteria to evaluate whether transactions involving software apps with ties to foreign adversaries threaten Americans' data.”
— A senior Biden administration official tells Cristiano the order “is going to enable us to take strong steps to protect sensitive data of Americans from collection and utilization of foreign adversaries including China through connected software applications.” It also “directs the Commerce Department to issue recommendations for regulatory and legislative action to ‘address the risk associated with foreign adversary connected software applications’ according to a White House news release.”
HOSPITAL LOBBYIST TAPPED FOR TOP CMS POST: “The Biden administration has tapped Erin Richardson, a top lobbyist at the Federation of American Hospitals, as chief of staff to CMS Administrator Chiquita Brooks-LaSure,” our Susannah Luthi and Rachel Roubein report.
— Richardson most recently served as senior vice president of government affairs at the trade association, which represents for-profit health systems. She also previously worked at the White House Domestic Policy Council during the Obama administration, and before that for the House Ways and Means Committee, “which also counts Brooks-LaSure and HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra among its alumni.”
FLYING IN (VIRTUALLY): The Large Public Power Council, which represents dozens of the largest public power utilities in the country, is hosting a virtual fly-in this week, where its members plan to make the case to lawmakers that any infrastructure or clean energy bill should include “comparable incentives” for public power providers. They’ll be meeting with a mix of staff and members from the offices of Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, Sens. Michael Bennet (D-Colo.) and Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) and Reps. Kevin Hern (R-Okla.) and Suzan DelBene (D-Wash.).
IF YOU MISSED IT TUESDAY: “James Murdoch, one of billionaire media mogul Rupert Murdoch’s sons, quietly invested $100 million in his nonprofit foundation, which then used a large chunk of the money to fund political groups during the 2020 election cycle,” CNBC’s Brian Schwartz reported.
— “The $100 million donation marks the couple’s largest known contribution to their foundation or any political effort.” It came in the form of Disney shares, Quadrivium’s 990 tax return from 2019 shows, on the same date that a deal closed for Disney to buy 21st Century Fox, of which James Murdoch was chief executive, and he and his wife, Kathryn Murdoch, “were building their own political operation.”
— Of that $100 million, the tax document shows, “over $25 million went toward grants, including for several political causes. … The most the Murdoch couple has spent through their foundation on political causes, such as fighting climate change and helping people vote.”
— Richard Carbo will be vice president of communications for S-3 Group. He most recently ran his own consulting firm and Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards’ reelection campaign.
— Whitmer & Worrall has named Angela Acampora managing director. She was previously a senior associate, and in her new role will oversee the firm’s client servicing initiatives, operations and business development strategy, with a focus on health care.
— Adam Conner, vice president of tech policy at the Center for American Progress and a Facebook and Slack alum, has joined the board of trustees of George Washington University, of which he is an alum.
— The American Society of Association Executives has promoted Jeff Evans to director of public policy and Nate Fisher to senior manager of public policy and ASAE’s PAC, known as APAC. Evans was previously an associate director. Fisher was previously a manager.
— Andrew Dunkley has joined Strategic Elements as senior public affairs manager. He was previously senior external affairs manager with Colorado-based consulting and public affairs firm Pac/West Strategies.
— Brian Kerkhoven has joined McCarthy Advanced Consulting as an associate. He was most recently at the past seven years at the North American Building Trades Unions and is a Mike Kelly (R-Pa.) and Jim Walsh (R-N.Y.) alum. MAC has also promoted Erin Delaney to director of operations.
— Gabrielle D’Adamo Singer is now a senior manager for cyber policy at Accenture North America government relations. She previously was staff director for the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee
— Peter Kucik is joining Mercury Public Affairs as managing director in its Washington office. He was most recently counsel at Ferrari & Associates and is a Treasury Office of Foreign Assets Control alum.
— Boston-based Tremont Strategies Group has added Khushbu Webber as vice and general counsel and Alexandra Eby as government affairs associate, and promoted Tristan Thomas to senior government affairs associate.
— Taylor Mason, vice president of public affairs at KPM Group DC, has been named executive director of the newly formed Rare Disease Company Coalition.
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NEW JOINT FUNDRAISERS
BARRASSO YOUNG VICTORY FUND (Sens. John Barrasso, Todd Young, Common Values PAC, Oorah! Political Action Committee)
Elect Black Democrats (The Collective PAC, The Collective Super PAC)
IRON LADIES PAC (Reps. Beth Van Duyne, Michelle Fischbach, Claudia Tenney)
ALABAMA FIRST (Super PAC)
FIREFIGHTERS RIGHTS PAC (Super PAC)
Labor and Community for an Independent Party (PAC)
MAGACoin Victory Fund (Super PAC)
NEW LOBBYING REGISTRATIONS
535 Group, LLC: Visa, Inc.
Albertine Enterprises, Inc.: Led Lighting Iq, LLC
Arent Fox LLP: Drug Policy Alliance
Baker Donelson Bearman Caldwell & Berkowitz /The Daschle Group: Liberty Defense Holdings, Ltd.
Bolton-St. Johns, LLC: Ruralorganizing.Org
Bose Public Affairs Group: Global Partnership For Education
Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney, Pc: Optimum Power Holding Co., LLC
Capitol Hill Partners: Concordance Academy Of Leadership
Capitol Tax Partners, LLP: Qualcomm Incorporated
Capitol Tax Partners, LLP: View, Inc.
Cassidy & Associates, Inc.: Center For American Progress
Cassidy & Associates, Inc.: International Code Council
Cassidy & Associates, Inc.: Ledger8760, Inc.
Cassidy & Associates, Inc.: US Well Services
Dentons US LLP: Midtown Connector Project Foundation, Inc.
Dentons US LLP: National Desert Storm Memorial Association
Dentons US LLP: Tampa Bay Water
Duane Morris Government Strategies: Monroe Energy LLC
Duane Morris Government Strategies: Pbf Holding Company LLC
Ghost Management Group, LLC Dba Weedmaps: Ghost Management Group, LLC Dba Weedmaps
Gis Associates, Inc: Enterprise Zone Corp Of Braddock
Greenberg Traurig, LLP: Washington County, Wi
Hartman Harman Cosco LLC: Solar United Neighbors
Hill East Group, LLC: Sentinelone, Inc.
Holland & Knight LLP: Alibaba Group Holding Limited
Holland & Knight LLP: Global Business Alliance
Holland & Knight LLP: Lacore Enterprises, LLC
Invariant LLC: Leaflink, Inc.
J.A.Hill Group, LLC: Windstream Services LLC
Lne Group: Next Steps Chicago
Lne Group: Pushing Boundaries
Lne Group: University Settlement
Lsn Partners, LLC: One Concern, Inc.
Michael Torrey Associates, LLC: Louis Dreyfus Company LLC
Miller & Chevalier, Chtd.: Juul Labs, Inc.
Miller & Chevalier, Chtd.: The Jewish Federations Of North America
Moveon.Org Civic Action: Moveon.Org Civic Action
Mr. Stephen Ryan: American Coalition For Taxpayer Rights
Mr. Stephen Ryan: American Registry For Internet Numbers
Mr. Stephen Ryan: Paper Excellence Holdings Corporation
Ms. Alexis Tkachuk: Tremont Strategies Group, On Behalf Of Tree Care Industry Association
Prime Policy Group: Norse Atlantic Airways As
Rokala Public Affairs (Fka Mr Mark Rokala): City Of Duluth, Minnesota
Sandler, Travis & Rosenberg, P.A.: Ebay
Scale Ai, Inc.: Scale Ai, Inc.
Sidley Austin LLP: Illumina, Inc.
The Madison Group: International Association Of Fire Fighters
The Picard Group, LLC: City Of West Monroe
The Vogel Group: Our Next Energy, Inc.
Triple P America: Triple P America
NEW LOBBYING TERMINATIONS
Keller Partners & Company: Luna County