Kate Ackley

Disgraced Lobbyist Abramoff Registers as Foreign Agent
Lawyer: Abramoff ‘is not on probation and is not the subject of any ongoing investigation’

The conviction of Jack Abramoff, perhaps the most infamous modern K Street character, apparently wasn’t the end of the Justice Department’s interest in the former hot-shot lobbyist.

Abramoff, who was sentenced to prison in 2008 on federal corruption and other charges, recently filed a retroactive foreign agent lobbying registration for unpaid — and unsuccessful — work aimed at helping the Republic of Congo arrange a meeting with President Donald Trump, new DOJ filings showed.

Book Explores How Lobbyists Fill a Void in Congress
“It’s not who you know, it’s what you know”

If you bemoan lobbyists or the revolving door that spins between government service and K Street, blame Congress.

The shift on Capitol Hill to centralize much of the major policymaking in leadership offices, as opposed to committees, along with a reduction in legislative staff and their salaries has helped propel the revolving door in recent years, says Timothy LaPira, a James Madison University professor.

Casino Lobby Launches Sports Betting Campaign
Group seeks repeal of law banning betting on sporting events and games

The American Gaming Association is making a wager that a new coalition will convince Congress to repeal a 1992 law that bans most states from allowing sports betting.

The association, which represents the casino industry, will launch the American Sports Betting Coalition on Monday with members that include law enforcement and state and local governments, among others.

Trump Administration Gives Ethics Waivers to Ex-Lobbyists
President pledged to limit influence of lobbyists during his campaign

A fresh batch of ethics waivers made public Wednesday offers new insight into the roles that ex-lobbyists and other one-time industry representatives have taken in the Trump administration to shape health care, immigration and other policy matters.

President Donald Trump pledged on the campaign trail that he would limit the influence of lobbyists, and he issued an executive order that would prohibit them from working on their recent client matters while serving in the executive branch. But the waivers allow them to override the official policy and to weigh in on policy measures that affect clients they had within the past two years.

Trump’s Ethics Waivers Grant Ex-Lobbyists Wide Influence
Ethics watchdogs, some lobbyists decry movement between K Street and administration

The batch of ethics waivers released by the White House offered more evidence of what everyone already knew: The Trump administration, despite pledges to “drain the swamp,” has embraced the revolving door between government and the private sector.

The waivers are more sweeping in scope than those of the Obama administration, and reveal that former lobbyists and other senior officials may freely take part in meetings and decisions that affect their former clients and onetime employers.

Supreme Court Affirms Ban on ‘Soft Money’ in Campaigns
Opponents of ban say they will take concerns to Congress

The Supreme Court on Monday upheld the so-called soft money ban on state and local parties, prompting opponents of the restriction to turn their pleas for repeal to Congress.

Although proponents of political money limits cheered the decision, they said that new Justice Neil Gorsuch’s position on the case confirmed their fears about his campaign finance views.

How the Koch Network Could Sink Tax Overhaul
Lobbying network poised for policy win

The lobbying and political network of Charles and David Koch, bogeymen to Democrats for years, is poised for a significant policy win — but it will come at the expense of fellow conservatives on Capitol Hill.

Their victory also could derail a policy goal they share with those same Republican lawmakers: a permanent comprehensive overhaul of the nation’s tax code.

Critics Call Trump Election Panel a ‘Sham’
‘We need to be vigilant and rely on the evidence and the data.’

Voting-rights advocates lambasted a new Trump administration directive to probe alleged election fraud, calling the effort a distraction that also could ultimately prevent legitimate voters from casting ballots.

President Donald Trump signed the executive order Thursday creating a commission, led by Vice President Mike Pence, to study the U.S. voter registration and election system. It comes months after Trump alleged, without evidence, that thousands of noncitizens had voted in the 2016 elections.

Ryan to Sell Tax Overhaul Benefits in Ohio
But business leaders remain wary of border adjustment tax proposal

House Speaker Paul D. Ryan is taking his sales pitch for a tax overhaul on the road with a high-profile stop Wednesday in Ohio, where lobbying groups have mobilized against one of the Wisconsin Republican’s signature proposals.

Ryan, during an event with local manufacturers in New Albany, will argue that a mega tax bill “will create good jobs and bolster American manufacturing,” according to a notice of the event. But the speaker’s ability to ultimately seal the deal depends on how President Donald Trump comes down on the most controversial elements of the blueprint and whether he, like Ryan, will rally support for the overhaul.

Heritage Foundation Touts Recent Fundraising
After DeMint’s ouster, conservative group says donors remain

Amid a turbulent week at the conservative Heritage Foundation with the ouster of former Sen. Jim DeMint as its president, the group is promoting recent fundraising receipts as a way to boost morale.

“Change is hard. It creates questions, including from our members,” Carsten Walter, Heritage’s vice president of development operations, said in an email to his colleagues obtained by CQ Roll Call. “The strong pace of donations from the first four months of the year — we finished April almost ten percent ahead of our target for operating revenue — continues this week. So far this week, we’ve brought in almost $6 million in revenue!”

Trump Order Could Lure Churches into Dark Money Politics
IRS directed to not enforce so-called Johnson Amendment

Former Sen. Jim DeMint Ousted at Heritage Foundation
Board cites ‘significant and worsening management issues’

Former Sen. Jim DeMint was ousted Tuesday as president of the conservative Heritage Foundation, which has sparred with congressional GOP leadership and saw its influence ascend during the Trump administration.

More changes appear on the horizon for the foundation, which is aligned with the hard-line and recalcitrant House Freedom Caucus.

Wells Fargo Revamps Lobbying Operation
Bank seeks to boost D.C. footprint amid recent political and PR problems

Wells Fargo is overhauling its lobbying and political operation in Washington, as the big bank seeks to rehabilitate its image and policy agenda after months of hits nationwide and on Capitol Hill. 

David Moskowitz, a lawyer and executive with Wells Fargo for 24 years, has taken the reins of the expanded shop. He will oversee federal government relations and regulatory affairs as well as the company’s political action committee, its public policy development, and all state and local lobbying.

Freedom Caucus Member’s Book Slams Money-Obsessed Politicians
In ‘Drain the Swamp,’ Ken Buck also takes aim at NRCC’s ‘pay-to-play’ culture

House Freedom Caucus member Ken Buck describes a money-hungry, lobbyist-influenced Republican leadership in his first book “Drain the Swamp” but he told CQ Roll Call that life is better for the hard-line conservative faction under Speaker Paul D. Ryan.

The Colorado Republican, now in his second term, has few kind words in his book released this week for Ryan’s predecessor, Ohio’s John A. Boehner, whom conservative lawmakers worked to oust. Boehner has since set up a practice at the K Street firm Squire Patton Boggs, and his spokesman did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

K Street Offers Five Tips for Tax Overhaul
Tip #2: Get the Freedom Caucus involved

Congressional Republicans and the White House can’t gloss over the collapse of their first signature measure — the 2010 health care law repeal and replace effort — but veteran lobbyists see cautionary tales in that mess for the next major overhaul.

A comprehensive revamp of the nation’s tax laws may avoid the health care bill’s fate, if lawmakers and administration officials take note of five lessons learned by K Street.

Pileup of Ethical Issues Gives Democrats Powerful Weapon Against Trump
Fog of suspicion continues to dog president on all sides

A small, previously obscure federal ethics office has catalogued a burst of inquiries and complaints from the public — more than 30,000 — since Donald Trump’s election as president, compared to a few hundred in all of fiscal 2015.

The huge increase in public outreach to the Office of Government Ethics reflects an administration with unprecedented corporate entanglements and an outwardly blase approach to ethics statutes and the truth, as well as a flair for scandal and drama.

GOP Lobbyists Launch New Shop as High-Profile Firm Fades
QGA Public Affairs was once among K Street's top moneymakers

The once high-profile K Street shop QGA Public Affairs is restructuring with the departure of Democratic founder Jack Quinn, and some of its marquee lobbyists are planning to open a new venture.

Republicans John Feehery, John Easton and Adam Belmar all are leaving to start EFB Advocacy, a boutique lobbying and communications shop in the Eastern Market section of Capitol Hill.

Mnuchin's ‘Batman’ Flap is No Joke, Ethics Experts Say
“It reflects a lack of concern for the ethics rules.”

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin’s disclaimer before promoting a movie he produced does not clear him of potential violations of ethics rules, experts said.

Mnuchin’s comments last week urging people to send their children to “The LEGO Batman Movie” prompted Sen. Ron Wyden, the ranking Democrat on the Finance Committee, to inquire this week on the Treasury secretary’s progress of divesting his financial assets. 

Ethics Watchdogs Make a Career of It
Norm Eisen and Richard Painter are among Trump’s most vocal critics

Norm Eisen, Barack Obama’s White House ethics czar, was such a stickler for enforcing the rules that even some colleagues privately expressed relief when he traipsed off to Prague for an ambassadorship.

Now, people can’t get enough of him.

Liberals Put Political Money in Spotlight of Gorsuch Fight
Senate Democrats urged to probe nominee’s views on campaign finance law

Democratic lawmakers and liberal interest groups are intensifying their pressure on senators to probe Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch’s views on campaign finance law during his confirmation hearings next week.

“He does not come into this with the benefit of the doubt in his favor,” said Rhode Island Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, a Judiciary Committee member. The panel is scheduled to begin the Colorado judge’s hearings at 11 a.m. Monday.