With Daniel Lippman
PROGRAMMING NOTE: We’ll be off for Thanksgiving this Thursday and Friday but back to our normal schedule on Monday, Nov. 29.
FIRST IN PI — EQUIPMENT MANUFACTURERS BOOST BIF ‘YES’ VOTES: The Association of Equipment Manufacturers will launch a six-figure ad buy on Wednesday giving air cover to a bipartisan group of House members who voted to send the bipartisan infrastructure bill to President Joe Biden’s desk earlier this month.
— The trade group’s campaign includes digital ads on social media and local and national news sites in the districts of four Democratic members, Reps. Cindy Axne (Iowa), Carolyn Bourdeaux (Ga.), Angie Craig (Minn.) and Josh Gottheimer (N.J.), and four Republican members who bucked party leadership to vote for the bill, Reps. Don Bacon (Neb.), Brian Fitzpatrick (Pa.), Nicole Malliotakis (N.Y.) and Fred Upton (Mich.).
— “These lawmakers put policy ahead of politics and delivered a resounding victory for the American people,” Kip Eideberg, the group’s top lobbyist, said in a statement. Eideberg denounced “the deliberate conflation of the bipartisan infrastructure bill with the Build Back Better Act,” Democrats’ reconciliation bill, which he said “is confusing voters and fueling dangerous levels of hyper-partisanship.”
— The 13 Republicans in the House who voted for the bill have been inundated with vitriol since the vote, egged on by their GOP colleagues and former President Donald Trump who have condemned them as “traitors” and RINOs, or “Republicans In Name Only.” House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy meanwhile has beat back calls from within the conference to strip the Republican “yes” votes from their committee assignments. The backlash has factored into AEM’s ad buy, which will eventually include other lawmakers, Eideberg told PI in an email.
— “We chose these eight for the first round because they have drawn anger and threats from misinformed constituents, they have been threatened with primary challenges from opportunistic and extremist would-be lawmakers, and they represent the commonsense, bipartisan wings of the two political parties,” he said, adding that future ad buys will consider those criteria.
— “The lawmakers who voted for the bipartisan infrastructure bill did the right thing for America, their constituents, and equipment manufacturers,” Eideberg said. “We will spare no effort to highlight the immeasurable benefits of this historic bill.”
Good afternoon and welcome to PI. It may be a holiday week, but we’re here through tomorrow. Let me know what’s going on out there: [email protected]. And be sure to follow me on Twitter: @caitlinoprysko.
BANKS INTRODUCES RULE TO FORCE THINK TANKS TO DISCLOSE FOREIGN FUNDING: Rep. Jim Banks (R-Ind.) introduced new legislation that would place more stringent requirements on witnesses testifying at congressional hearings to disclose foreign funding. “Congress works best when all the cards are face up on the table,” Banks, who chairs the conservative Republican Study Committee, said in a statement of the proposed revisions to the so-called Truth in Testimony rule.
— Banks cited a report last year from the Foreign Influence Transparency Initiative that found at least $174 million in foreign funding flowed to D.C. think tanks between 2014-2018. House Democrats put in place stricter disclosure requirements for witnesses at the beginning of the current Congress, but Banks pointed to an article in The New Republic that outlined how witnesses were able to skirt the rule by appearing in their personal capacity rather than on behalf of the think tank that employs them.
— Banks’ resolution aims to close that loophole, requiring witnesses to disclose “all foreign government, foreign political party, and foreign state-owned entity payments, grants, or in-kind contributions, to any nonprofit entity at which the witness is employed or working as a contractor for over $5,000 a year, regardless of whether or not the witness is testifying on their own behalf,” according to a summary of the bill.
— It would also expand the requirements to apply to fellows at think tanks and require disclosures from agents and subsidiaries of foreign governments, foreign political parties and other state-owned entities, as well as paid consultants or advisers representing individuals from countries deemed by Trump to be “foreign adversaries” (China, Russia, Iran, North Korea, Venezuela, and Cuba).
— The push is part of a broader effort over the last decade to crack down on foreign influence efforts in the U.S. Last year, then-Secretary of State Mike Pompeo asked think tanks that interact with the State Department to disclose any funding they receive from Russia, China and other foreign governments, and Republican congressional leaders strengthened truth in testimony rules in 2015, following a New York Times report in 2014 found that more than a dozen Washington think tanks had “received tens of millions of dollars from foreign governments in recent years while pushing United States government officials to adopt policies that often reflect the donors’ priorities.”
K STREET TAKES THE HILL: Oracle’s townhouse in Capitol Hill, which is attracting swarms of Congress’ Big Tech critics, is only the tip of the iceberg for Washington lobbyists, and POLITICO’s Hailey Fuchs and Emily Birnbaum take us inside the prime real estate that companies are leveraging to get face time with lawmakers as in-person events return to the capital.
— “The popular conception of a lobbying shop usually involves an office on K Street, an expense account at some popular steakhouse and a small army of operatives that hit the fundraising circuit in downtown D.C. on a nightly basis. But influence peddlers have long explored other, subtler venues to twist the arms of members of Congress. And the Capitol Hill townhouse is chief among them.” POLITICO identified more than 20 properties located around the Capitol Hill neighborhood that are owned by business groups and others lobbying Congress.
— “The groups use these homes, often registered with the city as residential property, as a workplace for D.C.-based employees, a respite for K Streeters taking a break from meetings on the Hill, and, most notably, a cheap fundraising venue for members of Congress. But above all, these luxurious, often multimillion-dollar townhouses provide companies, trade associations, religious groups and lobbying shops with a chance to rub shoulders with lawmakers outside the bounds of government property.”
— “In pre-Covid times, the steady flow of lobbyists to and from the Capitol and the townhouse scene was a fixture of life on the Hill. And they were certainly among the least humble parts of the K Street lifestyle. A 2022 assessment of the Associated General Contractors of America townhouse estimated its value at $2.7 million and the Oracle townhouse at $2.8 million. The Credit Union House is estimated at $2.6 million, and the UPS townhouse is estimated at $2.3 million. The National Indian Gaming Association townhouse is estimated at $3 million. The political arm of the American Osteopathic Association in August bought a townhouse assessed at $4 million from nuclear components company BWX Technologies.”
CHANGING THEIR TUNE: Conservatives that opposed the bipartisan infrastructure bill are striking a new tone on the $1.2 trillion package, POLITICO’s Tanya Snyder reports — at least while seeking to undercut the Biden administration’s plans to reinstate stricter permitting requirements from federal agencies.
— In public comments filed Monday on the White House Council on Environmental Quality’s proposal to roll back Trump-era changes and once again require federal agencies to consider a project’s impact on climate change, the Koch-backed Americans for Prosperity called the proposed changes to the National Environmental Policy Act “obstacles” to Biden’s own legislative agenda, “making it more difficult and expensive to build infrastructure.” (Astute readers will recall that it was barely less than a week ago that AFP announced a million-dollar plus campaign targeting vulnerable Democrats who helped pass the infrastructure bill.)
— “The House Transportation Committee’s top Republicans also wrote to CEQ Chair Brenda Mallory Monday, warning that NEPA can be ‘weaponized’ to kill ‘environmentally friendly projects’ as they ‘become more common,’” Tanya reports. The committee’s ranking member Sam Graves (R-Mo.), who opposed the infrastructure bill, was more direct in tying the legislation “to the NEPA changes, saying in a statement that while ‘the administration is handing out an unprecedented amount of money for infrastructure,’ its plans for NEPA ‘will make it much harder to build needed infrastructure.’”
— Gayle Smith is returning to her role as chief executive of the ONE Campaign, per Morning Pulse. She’s been the State Department’s global Covid-19 coordinator.
— Delta Solar named Katie Laning Niebaum as its new president. She has been an owner and partner at consulting firm CDP Strategies and was communications director for then-Sen. Blanche Lincoln (D-Ark.).
— Donald Sherman is now vice president and chief counsel at Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington. He most recently was special assistant to the president for racial and economic justice at the White House.
Take Back New York (Rep. Claudia Tenney, Joy for NY, NY Republican Federal Campaign Committee)
Medical Cannabis Research PAC (PAC)
Actum I, LLC: Clorox Services Company
Bass Berry & Sims: 340B Health
Bracewell LLP: Dream On Me, Inc.
Bracewell LLP: Sigma Corporation
Dla Piper LLP (US): Ansys, Inc.
Dla Piper LLP (US): Comspoc Corp.
Monument Advocacy: Liminex, Inc. Doing Business As Goguardian
Ogilvy Government Relations: Bridgecounsel Strategies LLC
Ogilvy Government Relations: Carvana
Ogilvy Government Relations: Fluid Sealing Association
Ogilvy Government Relations: Guarding Against Pandemics
The Color Nine Group, LLC: City Of Delray Beach, Fl
The Vogel Group: 21St Century School Fund
The Vogel Group: Arch Resources (Formerly Arch Coal, Inc.)
The Vogel Group: Av Therapeutics Inc.
The Vogel Group: Bartlett & West, Inc.
The Vogel Group: Bgz Brands
The Vogel Group: Carbon Geocapture Corp
The Vogel Group: Chart Industries, Inc.
The Vogel Group: Empirical Systems Aerospace, Inc.
The Vogel Group: Genworth Financial Inc.
The Vogel Group: Grit Energy Services, Inc.
The Vogel Group: Healthcare Supply Chain Association
The Vogel Group: Institutional Shareholder Services
The Vogel Group: Irobot Corp
The Vogel Group: National Council On School Facilities
The Vogel Group: Nonviolent Peaceforce
The Vogel Group: Portland General Electric
The Vogel Group: Renewable Biofuels
The Vogel Group: School-Based Health Alliance
The Vogel Group: Svante, Inc.
Westmoreland160, LLC: Ametrine Inc.
The Lucas Firm, LLC (F/K/A Travis Lucas): National American Miss, Inc.