Kate Ackley

Democrats in a Dilemma Over Trump's Court Nominee
Senate Democrats will get a lot of advice about how to handle President Donald Trump’s nominee to the Supreme Court — and it appears they need it.

There’s pressure from liberal advocacy groups and the party’s energized base for Democrats to pull out all the stops in an attempt to block Judge Neil Gorsuch’s Supreme Court confirmation. Not only do those interests have concerns about his approach to abortion rights and environmental law, but they thirst for revenge for Republicans’ obstruction of former President Barack Obama’s nominee for the same seat.

Some moderate legal and political commentators, meanwhile, have urged Democrats to wait for another potential Supreme Court nominee to launch an all-out confirmation war — a possibility during the Trump administration since two justices are in their 80s. Gorsuch would replace the late conservative Justice Antonin Scalia, so his elevation from a federal appeals court in Denver wouldn’t shift the ideological balance of the high court anyway.

Lobbyists, Corporate Clients Open Wallets for Trump
K Streeters disclosed $5.3 million in donations to Trump from July through December of last year

K Street has entered the Trump era.

Lobbyists and organizations that seek to influence Washington mostly neglected the presidential campaign of Donald Trump early last year, but by the end of 2016, the sector had begun to embrace him, new lobbying disclosures show.

Trump’s Lobbying Ban May Not Curb K Street Influence
New loopholes allow recent lobbyists an easy way back into government

The new administration’s executive order limiting the future lobbying of its officials will do little to “drain the swamp,” as President Donald Trump promised on the campaign trail, ethics watchdogs say.

Political appointees must sign an ethics pledge agreeing not to “engage in lobbying activities” related to their agency for five years, according to a Trump executive order issued Saturday. It also bars departing officials from ever engaging in lobbying, legal or public relations work on behalf of a foreign entity subject to disclosure under a 1938 law known as the Foreign Agents Registration Act.

Tax Overhaul, Regulatory Rollbacks Fuel K Street Lobbyists
Lobbying expenditures expected to increase in 2017

Debates over health care, tax policy and government spending fueled the biggest spenders on K Street in 2016, as groups now ramp up their lobbying on rolling back regulations from the Obama era and on a major tax overhaul during the Trump administration.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce and its affiliated Institute for Legal Reform spent more than $100 million last year seeking to influence numerous policy debates on trade, taxes, health care, labor and environmental regulations, according to lobbying disclosures filed by Monday night with Congress. It was an uptick from the chamber’s 2015 spending of $85 million and is a reflection that the group, unlike most on K Street, includes its political and grass-roots work on federal lobbying reports.

Poll: Most Americans Expect Major Scandal in Trump Era
Majority also concerned about president’s potential conflicts of interests

Most Americans say they have set low expectations for President Donald Trump’s ethical standards, with a majority predicting at least one major scandal, and perhaps many, will rock his administration.

As ethics watchdogs have blasted the next president for his plans to continue ownership of his private business, 39 percent of adults said they believed the Trump administration will have “many major scandals” while another 24 percent said it would have “a major scandal or two,” according to a new Economist/YouGov poll conducted Jan. 14-17.

House Moves to Disclose Presidential Library Funding
Would require quarterly disclosure of donations of $200 or more

The House on Wednesday quickly passed a bill that would give the public a better view of donations going to presidential libraries and may offer a temporary window into President Barack Obama’s fundraising.

The bipartisan measure championed by Tennessee Republican Rep. John J. Duncan Jr. and considered under suspension of the rules would provide a disclosure system for an otherwise opaque process. Democratic Rep. Elijah E. Cummings of Maryland is also a sponsor.

Trump Inaugural Gives Corporations an Outlet to Press Policy Agendas
Boeing, casino interests on the roster

The inauguration of Donald Trump, with a potential tab of $75 million, may offer corporations and their executives more than just candlelight dinners with the new president and his incoming Cabinet picks. It also could afford them moments to make the case for their policy agendas.

Donors to and members of Trump’s inaugural host committee have plenty of business before the government, as they offer big money to help foot the bill for the January festivities. The inaugural committee members hail from casinos, manufacturing outfits and financial firms, among others.

K Street Eyes Outgoing Lawmakers for Jobs
Premium on figuring out Trump and who knows who

The more than 50 lawmakers who will be jobless in a few weeks may encounter an unpredictable market on K Street, should they consider taking a spin through the revolving door.

Business interests feel bullish on next year’s potentially frenzied legislative agenda, stocked with tax and health care overhauls and debate over new infrastructure projects. But most lobbying groups have a tenuous rapport with the incoming Trump administration and are evaluating their hiring through that lens.

Trump’s Business Tangles Rankle Democrats, Watchdog Groups
Critic questions whether the Oval Office will become ’another revenue center’

The potential ethics pitfalls stemming from Donald Trump’s private enterprises will test congressional Democrats and government watchdog groups, as they try to pressure the incoming president to fully separate himself from his global business deals.

It is likely to be a long fight, spanning well into Trump’s presidency.

Trump’s Legislative Liaison Key to His Fate in Congress
Jeff Sessions’ aide rumored to be in line for Hill fixer role

President-elect Donald Trump’s potential Cabinet picks have stolen the spotlight, but one lesser-known job may prove to be among the most crucial to the incoming administration’s success, or failure, on Capitol Hill.

The new head of the White House legislative affairs office will serve as the primary liaison between lawmakers and the president. If the Trump administration is to enact its policies, it will rely on the unit to keep members and congressional staff in the loop day-to-day and to ferry intelligence back to 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.

Campaign Finance Laws Poised for Rollback Under Trump
GOP expected to be aggressive in lifting regulations on parties

As a candidate, President-elect Donald Trump railed against the political money system, saying it offers big donors outsized clout. But the changes he is likely to enable would roll back campaign finance regulations, allowing contributors to give even more.

The Republican’s victory in the presidential contest has given new hope to opponents of current donation limits and other restrictions, while it has jolted fear into those who want to overhaul political money laws to put ordinary Americans on more equal footing with megadonors.

Lobbyists Turn to Lame Duck, Next Congress for Business
Some major interest groups dialed back on spending in third quarter

Many big-money lobbying clients, and the firms they retain, posted a decline in fees during the third quarter, as Congress hit the road for a long summer stretch to campaign. With lawmakers still on the trail, lobbyists say they’ve pinned their hopes on the lame-duck session and 2017.

When lawmakers return after the election, they must move to fund the government beyond Dec. 9, when the current stopgap measure lapses. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., has said he also wants to push along a bill that would expand funding for medical research. Both will be major year-end priorities for K Street interests.

Congress Unlikely to Move on Trump Ethics Plan
Lobbyists, government overhaul groups say proposals are about politics

Donald Trump’s new proposals to overhaul government ethics and lobbying regulations aim to boost the Republican presidential candidate with voters — but are unlikely to become law.

Drawing on well-worn lines of political attack that have been used for decades, Trump focused on K Street in a speech Monday night. The GOP nominee called for restrictions on lobbying by lawmakers and executive branch officials after they leave government service, and for new bans on political money from lobbyists who represent foreign governments.

Warren Urges Obama to Replace SEC Chairwoman
Agency chief shows 'brazen conduct' on political disclosure, senator says

Sen. Elizabeth Warren took her long-running feud with the chairwoman of the Securities and Exchange Commission to a new level Friday, calling on President Barack Obama to remove Mary Jo White from the helm of the agency.

The Massachusetts Democrat said White's reluctance to press for new disclosure rules, including those that would compel public companies to reveal more about their political spending, was "undermining" the administration. Warren also called on Obama to pledge that he would veto any year-end spending measure that includes a block on such new rules.

Boehner to Close Taxpayer-Funded Hill Office
Now on K Street, ex-speaker gives up controversial perk

Former House Speaker John Boehner plans to shut down his taxpayer-funded office on Capitol Hill by Oct. 31, the one-year anniversary of his departure from Congress, his spokesman said Wednesday.

The Ohio Republican, who announced Tuesday he was joining the global lobbying and law firm Squire Patton Boggs, had taken advantage of a little-known perk for former House speakers who have been entitled since 1970 to a post-congressional office for up to five years.

Boehner Joins Influential K Street Firm
Ex-speaker to rake in big bucks as global adviser

Former House Speaker John A. Boehner is cashing in on K Street almost one year after resigning from Capitol Hill.

The Ohio Republican will join Squire Patton Boggs, a global law firm that traces its roots to one of Washington's oldest and most prominent lobbying practices. The shop is also the professional home of several former Boehner congressional aides and to former Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott of Mississippi and Democratic ex-Sen. John Breaux of Louisiana.

Mary Landrieu Closes the Door on Another Run
Ex-senator will not be joining former colleagues seeking Senate comebacks

Former Sen. Mary Landrieu has ruled out another run for elected office, and definitely "not ever" again for Senate.

"I've pretty much closed that door," the Louisiana Democrat said in an interview with CQ Magazine. "Definitely not ever again for Congress."

Boehner Joins Tobacco Company Board
Ex-Speaker likes to puff on the product

Former House Speaker John A. Boehner has parlayed a habit into a paying gig: The longtime smoker is joining the board of tobacco company Reynolds American Inc.

The Ohio Republican will serve as a Class II director on the board’s governance, nominating and sustainability committee, Reynolds announced Thursday. Reynolds is the parent company of R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., the second-largest tobacco company in the United States.

K Street Money Fuels House Challengers to Victory
Primary hopefuls woo lobbyists, some listen

Rep. Tim Huelskamp alienated business lobbyists during his three House terms as he pushed for government shutdowns and an end to the Export-Import Bank. Lobbyists responded by backing the Kansas Republican’s primary opponent.

Huelskamp lost that contest in Kansas' 1st District last month to Roger Marshall, an OB-GYN, who appears to be a shoo-in for the safe GOP seat.

Lobbyists Woo Potential Freshmen Long Before Election Day
Connections can help build a political inner circle, swell campaign coffers

Jason Kander, the Democratic challenger in Missouri’s Senate race, can already count some K Street lobbyists among his political confidants.  

That’s because lobbyists don’t wait until after Election Day to begin courting next year's freshman class. Influencers are already reaching out to prospective senators and House members, hosting fundraisers and meet-and-greets at which they can provide connections and help swell candidates' campaign coffers.