Kate Ackley

Border Tax Critics Turn Attention to Supporting Overhaul
‘The way has been cleared for swift action on a middle-class tax cut’

Lobbying groups, including those in the Koch brothers’ conservative political network, spent millions of dollars and mobilized voters nationwide in an effort to kill the border adjustment tax proposal. They won.

After the Trump administration and Republican congressional leaders Thursday offered their broad outline for a tax overhaul proposal that nixed the border adjustment tax, or BAT, industry groups did not hide their glee.

House Democrats Want to Use Minibus to Target Trump Ethics
Rules Committee likely to nix attempts to force issue

House Democrats this week are trying to hitch a slate of amendments to the appropriations minibus, all targeting the business, family members and scandals of President Donald Trump.

The amendments, offered in the Rules Committee, are part of the minority party’s larger effort to tie their Republican colleagues to Trump’s possible conflicts of interest stemming from his business holdings and the government’s probe of alleged collusion by Trump campaign officials with Russia to influence the 2016 elections.

Four House Committees to Vote on Trump Controversies
To include: Comey, taxpayer money to Trump and Trump International Hotel lease

Using an obscure tactic, House Democrats will force their GOP colleagues to take controversial committee votes this week over President Donald Trump’s business ties and the government’s widening Russia probe.

The votes also will deal with the firing of former FBI Director James B. Comey, taxpayer money to the Trump Organization and the government’s lease of the Old Post Office Building to the Trump International Hotel in Washington.

Health Care, Tax Overhauls Drive Lobbying in Trump Era
“We’re feeling really confident going into the second half of the year”

During the turbulent first six months of the Trump administration, some of the biggest lobbying groups scaled back their spending as his signature initiatives collapsed. But major agenda items, including a tax overhaul, will continue to fuel K Street work.

Other wish-list items in the coming months will include a measure to raise the nation’s debt limit, funding the government for fiscal 2018, and continued negotiations about shoring up the nation’s health care system, even as Republican efforts to dismantle the 2010 health care law have cratered.

House Democrats Focus on Ethics, Political Money
Effort is aimed at highlighting president’s ethics woes

Amid the collapse of a signature piece of Republican health care legislation and continued revelations about the Trump team’s ties to Russia, House Democrats have turned their spotlight on proposals to revamp ethics, campaign finance and voting rights laws.

“We’re fighting back against the lack of accountability that we see in the Trump administration and from special interests,” said Maryland Rep. John Sarbanes, who chairs his party’s Democracy Reform Task Force.

K Street Ups Pressure for Congress to Raise Debt Limit
“We’d like this to be resolved quickly”

Wall Street and K Street haven’t hit the panic button just yet, but lobbyists for financial services and business groups are increasing their pressure on lawmakers to swiftly extend the debt limit and fund the government without drama.

Their main focus is on the debt limit, which the Trump administration has asked Congress to increase by this fall. Without an increase — or suspension — lawmakers would jeopardize the nation’s ability to pay its bills. Even just debating the debt limit can cause global stock market losses, and an actual breach of the nation’s borrowing authority carries potentially catastrophic consequences.

Analysis: Health Care Insiders Are Outside Looking In

Perhaps the health care industry has lost its lobbying mojo.

Despite a mystique that K Street controls the unseen levers of power in Washington, a contingent of well-known and flush-with-cash groups representing doctors, hospitals, patients and seniors appears so far unable to kill — or significantly alter — a bill its members despise.

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.