Kate Ackley

Ethics Office Nominee Easily Advances to Senate Floor
Tone from the top critical to fostering strong ethics culture, Rounds says

Emory Rounds III is one crucial step closer to taking over the top spot at the Office of Government Ethics, an increasingly high-profile job in the Trump era.

The Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee approved his nomination by voice vote Wednesday, paving the way for the full chamber to vote on Rounds’ nomination.

Senators: Convicted Lobbyists Need to Disclose Their Record
JACK is back, a measure aimed to increase transparency

Curtailed Recess Puts Summer Fundraising, Lobbying in Flux
Senators may seek new campaign events in D.C. if they will be here anyway

The official Senate calendar isn’t the only agenda in flux after Majority Leader Mitch McConnell announced he would cancel much of the chamber’s cherished summer recess.

The change may also disrupt plans for fundraising events outside Washington — as well as the dockets of lobbyists, who typically take their annual respite along with the congressional recess.

Trade Groups in Turmoil in the Trump Era
Industry associations change dramatically with the times

When Pamela Bailey, who heads the Grocery Manufacturers Association, announced in February that she will leave her $3 million-a-year gig, it came as no shock. After all, the lobbying group had in the past year lost some of its biggest members, including candy-maker Mars Inc. and Tyson Foods, the world’s second-largest producer of chicken, beef and pork.

The organization is undergoing a “reinvention,” in the words of its spokesman Roger Lowe, and this week tapped Geoff Freeman, who runs the American Gaming Association, as its next CEO. The group will move from its downtown Washington headquarters into a smaller space across the river in the Rosslyn section of Arlington.

Heritage Action’s Dan Holler to Join Rubio Staff
Revolving door spins from conservative group to Congress, Trump administration

Dan Holler, a founding staffer of Heritage Action for America, the conservative Heritage Foundation’s lobbying arm, will follow his former boss to the Capitol Hill office of Sen. Marco Rubio.

Holler will serve as deputy chief of staff for the Florida Republican, focusing on communications and outreach, he told Roll Call. The new gig will reunite him with his recent Heritage Action boss Michael Needham, who left in April to become Rubio’s chief of staff.

Rep. Massie Seeks K Street Campaign Cash After Blasting Lobbyist
Kentucky GOP lawmaker plans cigar and bourbon bash with downtown denizens this week.

Rep. Thomas Massie created a fuss on K Street last week in chastising an unnamed lobbyist whom he said offered to help him raise money to secure a seat on the Ways and Means Committee. But apparently, the Kentucky Republican still wants political donations from K Street — in a smoke-filled room, no less, according to an invitation obtained by Roll Call.

Massie, in a documentary series called “The Swamp,” said a medical device industry lobbyist proposed helping him raise campaign money and assisting him in getting on the tax-writing and health-focused Ways and Means panel, according to a report in Politico.

Unions Brace for Pivotal Court Decision Amid Politicking
Janus ruling could change the course of public-sector unions as midterms approach

In preparation for a Supreme Court decision that may deal a significant setback to public-sector unions, organized labor groups are launching new recruiting efforts as they mobilize for the midterm elections.

The case — brought by Illinois state worker Mark Janus against the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees — challenges existing law that allows government-employee unions to collect fees from nonmembers. The court could announce a decision as soon as Monday.

Shaub: Trump’s ‘Wall of Secrecy’ Could Extend to Ethics Report
Financial disclosure forms could offer clues about Stormy Daniels, ex-Ethics head says

Updated 8:56 p.m. | President Donald Trump filed his annual financial disclosure to a government ethics watchdog on Tuesday, but it’s not yet clear whether he reported reimbursing his attorney for payments made to Stormy Daniels or when the public will see the document. 

Walter Shaub Jr., a frequent Trump critic who ran the Office of Government Ethics until last summer, said the disclosure may well document loans to Trump’s lawyer Michael Cohen, who has said he made a $130,000 payment to Daniels, an adult film actress who alleges she had an affair with the president years ago.

Women Reaching New Levels in Political Donations
Rise parallels similar surge in female candidates for public office

An unprecedented rise in female donors to political campaigns, fueled largely by opposition to President Donald Trump, continues to grow in the run-up to the 2018 elections.

The number of women donating to federal candidates has surged by 182 percent when compared with this time in the 2016 cycle, according to new data from the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics. Much of the activity has been among Democratic donors, a trend that first began to appear after the Women’s March on Washington the day after Trump’s inauguration.

Few Retiring Lawmakers Disclose Plans to Lobby
Only 17 have filed public notices of employment negotiations since 2007

On the cusp of a potentially historic wave of congressional retirements, few public records offer clues about which lawmakers have entered negotiations for lobbying and other private-sector gigs.

“There’s not usually much interest in those,” a staffer in the House Legislative Resource Center said with a shrug.

Oliver North, From Iran-Contra to the NRA
In long career, former White House staffer also ran for Senate in Virginia

Oliver North, the retired Marine lieutenant colonel known for his role in the 1980s Iran-Contra scandal, will become president of the National Rifle Association of America within weeks, the gun rights organization said Monday.

North, a longtime member of the NRA board of directors and a former Senate candidate in Virginia, plans to immediately leave his role as a commentator for Fox News.

Mulvaney Backlash May Drive Political Money Changes
Even lobbyists distanced their industry from remarks by the White House budget chief

Advocates for tougher campaign finance regulations say comments from Mick Mulvaney seeming to describe a pay-to-play style of politics on Capitol Hill will boost their long-term effort to overhaul the rules and could benefit like-minded candidates in the midterm elections.

Mulvaney, the White House budget chief and acting director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, told a group of bankers Tuesday that when he served in Congress, his office refused meetings with lobbyists who did not provide political contributions. Mulvaney, a Republican, represented a South Carolina district from January 2011 to February 2017, when he became director of the Office of Management and Budget.

Spending Bill, Tariffs Drive Lobbying as 2018 Elections Approach
Future uncertainty also plays major role

An omnibus appropriations package, steel tariffs, regulatory work on the new tax law and general uncertainty about the nation’s direction on policy and governing fueled K Street business during the first three months of this year.

The politics of the coming November midterm elections will consume the Capitol for much of the rest of 2018, as lawmakers debate a farm bill, possible new disclosures for social media companies and federal spending beyond Sept. 30.  

Who Can Fill Paul Ryan’s Shoes in the House GOP?
He may be retiring from Congress, but that doesn’t mean he’s going away

The brain drain from departing House Republicans with policy expertise had sparked worry among party insiders even before Speaker Paul D. Ryan announced his plans to retire.

Now, the extraordinary attrition, along with a potentially brutal upcoming midterm campaign, is enough to send the GOP into panic mode.

Heritage Action Poised for Transition Amid CEO’s Exit
Michael Needham is leaving to become Sen. Marco Rubio’s chief of staff

Change is coming to Heritage Action for America, the political arm of one of the nation’s best known, and often controversial, think tanks.

Heritage Action for America has boosted its presence on Capitol Hill during CEO Michael Needham’s tenure, and his upcoming departure from the conservative outfit has fueled speculation about whether the uptick in advocacy will continue.

Wanted: Prolific Fundraiser to Boost House GOP After Ryan Exits
Speaker’s retirement announcement sparks scramble to find a donor-friendly successor

Speaker Paul D. Ryan’s retirement announcement Wednesday sparked a public scramble for a successor to match his fundraising prowess and to serve as the House GOP’s political and policy chief in the age of President Donald Trump.

Though the Wisconsin lawmaker has pledged to stay in office through the end of the term in early January 2019, some GOP insiders on and off the Hill question whether he can remain an effective fundraiser and political leader during a nearly nine-month lame-duck period.

Facebook’s Lobbying Team Faces Test With Zuckerberg on Hill
Zuckerberg intends to approach appearance in a contrite and humble manner, sources say

Facebook chief Mark Zuckerberg’s highly anticipated debut as a congressional witness this week marks an unprecedented step in the company’s decade-long effort to wield influence in the nation’s capital.    

The social media titan is leaning on an expanding roster of well-connected lobbyists and message shapers at his company, as well as a team of outside consultants, to prepare for a host of questions from senators on Tuesday and House members Wednesday. Lawmakers plan to probe everything from a scandal involving Facebook users’ data to the secretive sources of campaign ads on the platform.