With Josh Gerstein and Daniel Lippman
NOT DONE WITH CHIPS LOBBYING YET: A coalition of Asian American and Pacific Islander advocacy groups is mobilizing in a last-minute push ahead of the Senate’s final vote on its semiconductor manufacturing and science bill, looking to block an amendment the groups say could lead to heightened discrimination against the AAPI community or Chinese nationals.
— Nearly three dozen AAPI, immigration and civil rights advocacy groups, led by the Asian Law Caucus, urged Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi in a letter to reject an amendment from Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) that would boost screening requirements on recipients of federal research funding.
— The provision was included in the version of the broader economic competitiveness package passed by the Senate last year, but House lawmakers dropped it from their iteration of the bill after lobbying by universities. Portman’s language was left out of the drastically scaled back legislation the Senate began debate on last week, though the senator later said he and other Republicans were under the assumption his research security provision had made the cut and suggested he could pull his support without the language added back in.
— Portman’s original language would allow the State Department to find an immigrant inadmissible if the department finds that the individual is seeking to enter the U.S. to acquire sensitive or emerging technologies to undermine U.S. national security interests. In their appeal to Schumer and Pelosi, the groups argue that it “that would deny admission or revoke visas of Chinese nationals and others based on innuendo, bad information, and racial targeting.”
— Hammad Alam, who leads the Asian Law Caucus’ national security and civil rights program, argued in an interview that the amendment is especially concerning given the “anti-China sort of billing of this particular piece of legislation. We fear that it will be another way that the government will be able to target Chinese nationals, among others.”
— “We draw a line at any language or any sort of amendment that would harm our communities and leave them vulnerable to racial and ethnic profiling and targeting,” he said, adding that AAPI organizations were working to organize calls to House and Senate leadership on the issue “just to make sure that that the community’s concerns and voices are heard.”
— While Portman’s language was left out of the final bill senators voted to advance this morning, POLITICO’s Gavin Bade reports the Ohio Republican was “hopeful that a slimmed down version could still be inserted by unanimous consent today, which would require all senators to agree to its inclusion. Portman said he has approval from leaders in both chambers of Congress to include a more modest version” of the research security language.
— “It’s a skinnied-down version for which there is absolutely no controversy and cleared by everybody, all four corners,” he told Gavin, “so it’s gotta go in there.”
Good afternoon and welcome to PI. Send tips: [email protected]. And be sure to follow me on Twitter: @caitlinoprysko.
MUELLER VET, LAW FIRM EXIT HACKING CASE FOLLOWING CONFLICT COMPLAINT: Prominent law firm Gibson Dunn & Crutcher and partner Zainab Ahmad are withdrawing from a hard-fought lawsuit over the hacking of former RNC finance official Elliott Broidy’s emails and texts, Josh reports. The abrupt change of counsel came after Broidy’s attorneys complained that the former counterterrorism prosecutor’s role as a deputy on Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s probe of foreign influence on the Trump presidential campaign amounted to a conflict of interest.
— In a letter filed in Manhattan federal court last month, Broidy’s lawyer Daniel Benson complained that Ahmad had “confidential government information concerning Mr. Broidy that could be used to Mr. Broidy’s material disadvantage in this case.” Benson said Broidy’s attorneys raised the issue with the defense team about two years ago, but were rebuffed.
— However, last month, Benson submitted to the court a formal declaration from Mueller probe convict Rick Gates, saying that in 2018 Ahmad was among the Mueller office prosecutors who questioned him about the hacking of Broidy and about information contained in those messages. Gates’ attorney Tom Green backed up his client’s account.
— Gates also said in his declaration he told the Mueller team he suspected the hacking was the work of “agents of the State of Qatar.” The Manhattan suit against Global Risk Advisors, founder and former CIA officer Kevin Chalker and others is one of a series of lawsuits against Qatar and individuals and entities allegedly allied with the wealthy Gulf state, claiming they illegally broke into Broidy’s accounts and devices.
— Qatari officials have denied involvement in the hacking and a lawyer for Global Risk Advisors described Broidy’s allegations against the firm and Chalker as “categorically false.” Ahmad and Gibson Dunn did not respond on the court record to the claims or the allegation that her participation in the suit amounted to side-switching in violation of New York bar rules.
— But, on Monday night, the firm moved to withdraw all its lawyers from the case. New York-based Hughes Hubbard & Reed is set to take over for the defense. Ahmad did not respond to an email seeking comment, but Orin Snyder, the top Gibson Dunn lawyer on the case, asserted in a statement that “there never was a conflict in our prior representation of GRA based on Ms. Ahmad’s prior government service or any other reason.” Benson declined to comment.
TOP TOBACCO SCIENTIST JOINS BIG TOBACCO COMPANY: “Less than a month after the start of a new director for the Food and Drug Administration’s tobacco regulatory division, its chief scientific officer has resigned to accept a position at Philip Morris International,” which manufactures Marlboro cigarettes, POLITICO’s Katherine Ellen Foley reports.
— “Matthew Holman, a biochemist by training, has worked with the FDA for more than 20 years and has been the director of the Office of Science in the agency’s Center for Tobacco Products since 2017.”
— “‘While we didn’t have an opportunity to work together, I know that he led the Office through a critical time, including preparing for and overseeing review for the bolus of [premarket tobacco product] applications,’ said Brian King, the new director of the CTP, in a staff memo.”
— “‘Dr. Holman has spent a substantial portion of his career dedicated to scientific and policy issues that aim to improve public health,’ a spokesperson for PMI said in a statement to POLITICO. ‘He is committed to helping existing adult smokers access scientifically substantiated smoke-free alternatives while protecting youth. We are looking forward to him joining our team as we continue to pursue a smoke-free future.’ The company did not comment on what role Holman would be taking on, but said that it would share details at a later date.”
U.S. TRAVEL LAUNCHES SUSTAINABLE TRAVEL COALITION: The U.S. Travel Association has launched a new coalition aimed at bringing together the travel, transportation and technology industries to “inform U.S. Travel on sustainability issues, opportunities and concerns within member organizations and destinations.”
— “This is clearly an issue that spans well beyond the travel industry itself to practically all other sectors of the U.S. economy,” Tori Barnes, the trade group’s top lobbyist, said in a statement. “By bringing together stakeholders across related industries, we are aligning leaders in travel, transportation and technology on the critical issues that will affect their businesses for decades to come.”
— The Sustainable Travel Coalition, along with several organizations not in the coalition, laid out several of its main asks in a letter to lawmakers on Monday. Their requests include a series of tax breaks for producing and using sustainable aviation fuel, to install new electric vehicle charging stations and to make energy efficient upgrades to commercial buildings, as well as federal spending to protect natural attractions and other clean energy incentives.
IVIES PRESS FOR ENDOWMENTS TAX CUT:The Intercept’s Lee Fang reports that “a small army of lobbyists representing the nation’s Ivy League and the wealthiest private universities are calling on lawmakers to cut taxes on multibillion-dollar endowments.”
— “Earlier this year, Harvard University President Lawrence Bacow personally met with lawmakers, including Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., and members of the Massachusetts delegation, to lobby against the excise tax.”
— “Stanford University, the University of Pennsylvania, and Cornell University have also pushed lawmakers to roll back the 1.4 percent excise tax on private college endowment investment returns passed by Congress in 2017. The excise tax, enacted as part of President Donald Trump’s Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, applies to investment returns on endowment assets of $500,000 per full time equivalent student at private colleges. The formula impacts over 40 private universities around the country.”
— “A review of lobbying records show that private colleges have mobilized over two dozen lobbyists to pressure policymakers on repealing the tax. Harvard University, for example, has a team of staff lobbyists, along with two additional lobbyists on retainer from the law firm O’Neill, Athy & Casey, to work on the issue.”
SPOTTED at the retirement party for Toni Bush, the outgoing head of government affairs for Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp., per a tipster: Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn (D-S.C.), Rep. Doris Matsui (D-Calif.), Andrea Mitchell, Donna Brazile, Subject Matter’s Steve Elmendorf, Fox Corporation’s Danny O’Brien, Disney’s Susan Fox, Melinda Lewis of BL Partners Group, and incoming head of government affairs for News Corp Todd Thorpe.
— Sarah Sugar is joining Sirona Strategies as a director. She previously advised HHS leadership on a range of health care policies and was also detailed to the House Ways and Means Committee during her tenure.
— Ben Cavataro is joining the faculty of Villanova University‘s Charles Widger School of Law as a visiting assistant professor. He was most recently special counsel at Covington & Burling LLP.
— Bishop Garrison has been named vice president of government affairs and public policy at vision AI startup Paravision. He most recently was chief of staff of the Selective Service System in the Biden administration, and is a DOD alum.
— Blair Kiser is now senior director of government relations at Social Current. They most recently were director of government relations and advocacy at NephCure Kidney International.
— Sarah Harris is joining Stand Up America as deputy communications director. She previously was at Everytown for Gun Safety.
— Matt Hickam is joining Husch Blackwell Strategies as a principal and opening up a new office in Topeka, Kan. Hickam has been a prominent public affairs figure for years in the state.
— Cynthia Carrizales is now press secretary at the Progressive Change Campaign Committee. She most recently was regional press secretary for Climate Power, and is an Elizabeth Warren alum.
— Josh Paz is now a public policy manager for Amazon. He most recently was a community engagement vice president with JPMorgan Chase, and is Portman alum.
HINSON GRASSLEY VICTORY (Sen. Chuck Grassley, Rep. Ashley Hinson)
OZ LAXALT VICTORY COMMITTEE (Doctor Oz for Senate, Laxalt for Senate)
Keep Liars Out of Schools (PAC)
NINE PAC (PAC)
No Better Friend PAC (Super PAC)
Vote Yes For Community Housing (Super PAC)
Anchor Labs, Inc.: Anchor Labs, Inc.
Cypress Advocacy, LLC: Pretium Partners
Emanuel & Associates, Inc. (Fka Adam Emanuel): Ntech Workforce
Forbes-Tate: Supply Line International Medical, LLC
Mercury Strategies, LLC: Paradigm
New Front Strategies Group, LLC: W.L. Gore & Associates, Inc.
Prime Policy Group: Ferring Pharmaceuticals Inc.
Rich Feuer Anderson: Sentilink
Va Solutions LLC: Anti-Corruption Foundation Inc.
A2 Strategies, LLC: Phibro Animal Health Corporation
Birch, Horton, Bittner & Cherot: Palace Entertainment
East End Group, LLC: Meso Scale Diagnostics
Global Witness Inc (Formerly Global Witness Publishing): Global Witness Inc (Formerly Global Witness Publishing)
K&L Gates, LLP: Texas Lng
Leprino Foods Company: Leprino Foods Company
Parsons Behle & Latimer: Burns Industries, LLC