DEFENSE INDUSTRY REMAINS MUM ON HAGEL: Defense industry lobbyists are staying largely silent in the wake of several senators continuing to speak out against President Barack Obama’s decision to nominate former Sen. Chuck Hagel (R-Neb.) as secretary of Defense. Of course, alienating the guy who could be in charge of slashing the Pentagon’s budget might not seem like a sound business move.
Dan Hill of Ervin Hill Strategies told PI he doesn’t expect much criticism from the industry because it’s focused more on developing a working relationship with the Pentagon than on policy. “I like that he has the background of having been enlisted, as well his experience working with private industry — not to mention his deep understanding of the issues we face from his time in the Senate. He is well-rounded,” Hill said.
Jim Dyer of Podesta Group said the news was probably still being digested, and he too had not heard much from industry insiders on the pick. Dyer added that “given his distinguished military record, I believe he will be well-accepted.”
Jeff Green of J.A. Green and Company, meanwhile, said his credentials have yet to be called into question.
AIPAC WON’T CONTEST HAGEL: Top pro-Israel group American Israel Public Affairs Committee is not currently involved in the Hagel nomination fight. “AIPAC does not take positions on presidential nominations,” spokesman Marshall Wittmann said. But another source familiar with the pro-Israel community said that while AIPAC never opposes nominations, it is happy to provide voting records and other relevant information to members and their staffs. “This is White House spin” that the group won’t be involved in any way, the source said.
Hagel’s comments on the “Jewish lobby” as well as some of his positions on Iran and others have worried some Israel supporters. The more hawkish, conservative Emergency Committee for Israel is planning a paid media campaign against the nomination.
LATOURETTE JOINS MCDONALD HOPKINS: Former Rep. Steve LaTourette (R-Ohio) is jumping to the law firm McDonald Hopkins. He will serve as president of a newly created McDonald Hopkins Government Strategies operation in Washington, D.C. His wife, Jennifer LaTourette, formerly of Van Scoyoc Associates, will serve as vice president of the entity. She has lobbied for clients such as Chep USA, Airports Council International and Spokane Transit Authority, among others.
API HOLDS COURT AT ENERGY BRIEFING: American Petroleum Institute President and CEO Jack Gerard played to a packed house at the Andrew Mellon Auditorium with more than 300 people in the audience, including Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.); Dot Harris, director of the Office of Economic Impact and Diversity at the Energy Department; Esther Aguilera, executive director of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute; Dave McCurdy, president and CEO of the American Gas Association; Tom Gibson, president and CEO of American Iron and Steel Institute; and Cal Dooley, president and CEO of the American Chemistry Council.
Gerard’s message included asking policymakers to approve the Keystone XL pipeline, get rid of unnecessary regulations, avoid the temptation to add new federal regulations to hydraulic fracturing, the technology that is driving the oil and natural gas revolution, or raise taxes on an industry that is creating hundreds of thousands of good paying jobs when many other industries are cutting back.
FINANCIAL SERVICES TRADES SHUFFLE TOP LEADERSHIP: SIFMA and the National Association of Federal Credit Unions are announcing change-ups in their leadership. SIFMA’s Tim Ryan is leaving the trade group to head JPMorgan’s regulatory division, which has seen a major overhaul in the past few months. Ken Bentsen, current head of the Washington office and a former Texas Democratic lawmaker, will take over in the interim as they search for a new head. Meanwhile, NAFCU’s Dan Berger got a big promotion from top lobbyist to head of the trade group. Berger’s move comes as Fred Becker announces his retirement.
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HOMEBREWERS FORM A SUPER PAC: A new super PAC called Super 6 PAC, which will focus on legislative issues related to homebrewing and beermaking, has filed with the FEC. According to the group’s website, “Super 6 PAC is dedicated to the belief that all American homebrewers should not be prohibited by state law from engaging in an activity that has been a part of American culture since the Pilgrims landed at Plymouth Rock.” Jennifer Witt will serve as treasurer of the committee.
McKINLEY GETS LEADERSHIP PAC: Rep. David McKinley (R-W.Va.) has formed a leadership political action committee called DBM PAC. Members of Congress can form leadership PACs aside from their campaign accounts to raise cash for travel, spread their political ideologies or make donations to other members. Paul Kilgore will serve as treasurer.
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WALKER JOINS RESTAURANT ASSOCIATION: Matt Walker, a longtime aide to former Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-Maine), is joining the National Restaurant Association as vice president of Government Affairs. Walker will lead the group’s advocacy efforts in the Senate.
MEYERS & ASSOCIATES ADDS TWO: Dave Davis, former legislative assistant to Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-Texas), has joined Meyers & Associates. David Collins, a 25-year veteran of Cotton Council International and a Southeast Asia expert has also joined the firm. Additionally, Meyers & Associates has also formalized its affiliation with Austin-based public relations firm Crosswind Communications, led by Thomas Graham. Lindsey Mask of Crosswind is based out of the firm’s Capitol Hill office.
ADAMS JUMPS TO MERCK: Victoria Adams has joined pharmaceutical company Merck as the director of political programs. Adams most recently served as director of political affairs at the Solar Energy Industries Association. She has also done stints at the International Franchise Association and National Restaurant Association.
GOODWIN LANDS AT HERALD GROUP: John “Goody” Goodwin, former chief of staff to Rep. Raúl Labrador (R-Idaho), heads to the Herald Group as vice president.
KE$HA TO HEADLINE INAUGURAL CHARITY BENEFIT: Ke$ha, known for her famous debut single “TiK ToK,” will headline Musicians On Call’s Presidential Inaugural Charity Benefit at the 9:30 Club. on Jan. 21. The benefit will be produced and sponsored by the Recording Industry Association of America.
RETAIL GROUP MAKES PERSONNEL CHANGES: Garth Gasse has joined the Retail Industry Leaders Association as director of retail operations, asset protection, and Lisa LaBruno has been promoted to senior vice president for retail operations. Before joining RILA, Gasse was with Toys R Us/Babies R Us for 14 years. LaBruno has been with RILA since 2010 and, before that, served for eight years as senior in-house attorney at The Home Depot.
NO LABELS TO HOST NYC CONFAB WITH BOOKER, HUNTSMAN: Adding to the list of the Centrist group No Labels‘s NYC meeting “problem solvers” on Jan. 14 are Newark Mayor Cory Booker and Sen. Angus King (I-Maine). Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman will be unveiled as the group’s national leaders.
ELSEWHERE IN THE INFLUENCE WORLD:
Mitt Romney was the first major-party presidential nominee in about two decades who didn’t rely on lawyers as his biggest source of funding. Instead, he relied on Wall Street, reports Jonathan D. Salant of Bloomberg News. http://bloom.bg/VO7YHP
Russ Choma of the Center for Responsive Politics ties Google’s lobbying efforts and contributions to lawmakers to the Federal Trade Commission closing its antitrust investigation into the search company. http://bit.ly/ZhOGfl
RNC Finance Committee co-chairwoman Georgette Mosbacher says she is “mad as hell” at her party and said she won’t be asking donors to write any checks “until I hear something that makes sense to me,” reports The Daily Beast’s Michelle Cottle. http://thebea.st/10aNPU3
Rep. Tim Huelskamp (R-Kan.) is using his vote against Rep. John Boehner (R-Ohio) for the speakership to fundraise, reports Jonathan Strong of Roll Call. http://bit.ly/VQuUGu
NEW POLITICAL ACTION COMMITTEE REGISTRATIONS:
Super 6 PAC of Seattle, Wash. — Treasurer: Jennifer Witt (super PAC)
New Lobbying Registrations: Zilch.
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