Bennett Roth

Many Finance Members Accepted Donations From Top Oil Companies

Hammered by Democrats who want to eliminate some of their tax breaks, oil companies have poured considerable sums into Republican campaign coffers and lobbying efforts on Capitol Hill.

Executives for ConocoPhillips, Exxon Mobil Corp., BP America Inc., Chevron Corp. and Shell Oil Co. appeared Thursday before the Senate Finance Committee. Many of the panel’s members, particularly Republicans, have received oil company dollars in the last few election cycles.

Comcast Hires FCC Commissioner

Federal Communications Commission member Meredith Attwell Baker will join the Washington office of Comcast Corp., where she will be senior vice president of government affairs for NBCUniversal, Comcast announced Wednesday.

The new job opportunity for Baker follows the FCC’s approval in January of the merger of Comcast and NBCUniversal. She joined the majority in approving the merger.

AT&T Merger Plan Touches On User Loyalty

John Taylor, a Sprint spokesman, said there are three items he never leaves home without — wallet, keys and cellphone.

Americans' attachment to their mobile phones, and by extension their service providers, may be the key to whether Sprint can muster sufficient opposition to halt AT&T's increasing dominance of the cellphone market with its proposed purchase of T-Mobile.

U.S. India PAC Presses Congress on Pakistan

An Indian-American advocacy group called on Congress on Wednesday to hold hearings to determine what Pakistani authorities knew about al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden’s whereabouts.

“The Pakistani government has been disturbingly silent since the operation that eliminated bin Laden, but it needs to answer how he could live in Pakistan for five years without the knowledge of the [Inter-Services Intelligence agency] or the Pakistan Army,” Sanjay Puri, chairman of the U.S. India Political Action Committee, said in a news release.

Push to Punish Pakistan Diminishes

Democrats and Republicans alike Wednesday warned against knee-jerk calls for an end to aid to Pakistan, reminding angry colleagues that the troubled government remains an essential partner in the war on terrorism.

Since it was announced Sunday evening that U.S. special operations forces had killed Osama bin Laden in a suburb of the Pakistani capital Islamabad, the public outcry against the country has grown. Lawmakers have already scheduled hearings into whether government officials — many of whom lived within miles of bin Laden for the past five years — knew the wanted terrorist was living there, and members of both parties have demanded an end to the more than $1 billion in aid Pakistan receives yearly.

Push to Punish Pakistan Diminishes

Democrats and Republicans alike Wednesday warned against knee-jerk calls for an end to aid to Pakistan, reminding angry colleagues that the troubled government remains an essential partner in the war on terrorism.

Since it was announced Sunday evening that U.S. special operations forces had killed Osama bin Laden in a suburb of the Pakistani capital Islamabad, the public outcry against the country has grown. Lawmakers have already scheduled hearings into whether government officials — many of whom lived within miles of bin Laden for the past five years — knew the wanted terrorist was living there, and members of both parties have demanded an end to the more than $1 billion in aid Pakistan receives yearly.

Iran, Other Nations Press Interests in U.S.

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has decidedly frosty relations with the U.S. government, but he apparently still wants the scoop on hot policy issues here.

Iran paid Mark Edmond Clark of New York $12,000 in the first half of last year for public relations work that entailed providing “semi-monthly oral reports on U.S.-Iran relations,” according to filings with the Justice Department.

Ex-Rep. Mollohan Joins W.Va. Law Firm

Former Rep. Alan Mollohan (D-W.Va.) a 14-term House Member who lost his primary re-election bid last year, has joined the law firm of Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough.

Mollohan, who will be part of the Washington and Huntington, W.Va., offices of the firm, will advise clients on innovation and technology issues, according to a release issued by the firm.

A Family Comes to Rep. Young’s Defense

A wealthy Louisiana businessman and his family used a dozen corporate entities to contribute a total of $60,000 to a defense fund to help Rep. Don Young fight his legal battles, which some critics say circumvented the $5,000 limits for individual donations.

Gary Chouest, the president of Edison Chouest Offshore, a marine transportation company, and other family members control 12 entities that each made $5,000 contributions to the Alaska Republican’s legal expense fund in the first quarter of this year.

For-Profit Colleges Field Team of Top Lobbyists

They may not have ivy-covered campuses or rowing teams, but for-profit colleges that award degrees in nontraditional studies such as herbal sciences and golf management have hired the Ivy League of lobbyists to wage a high-dollar battle against federal rules that they claim could put them out of business.

“There has been an all-hands-on-deck,” said one lobbyist hired by a for-profit school, joking that there were so many lobbyists roaming Capitol Hill on the issue that “they are stumbling over each other.”

Lobbying Spending Drops in Most Sectors

Divided government has not been so kind to K Street as lobbying expenditures plunged in most sectors in the first quarter of this year.

Lobbying revenue for the first three months of the year was down by 12 percent compared to the same period in 2010, according to a CQ MoneyLine analysis of reports filed with Congress this month. It was also almost 5 percent less than the lobbying tab for the fourth quarter of last year.

Planned Parenthood Once Had GOP Pals

Planned Parenthood wasn’t always such a partisan lightning rod.

In the 1960s and 1970s the organization that has recently become the prime target of House Republicans drew the support of prominent members of the Grand Old Party.

K Street Files: Lobby Firms Stock Staff Who Know Finance

With Wall Street reform still a hot topic on Capitol Hill, former Hill staffers with finance backgrounds are being snapped up by K Street.

Quinn Gillespie & Associates announced this week that it had hired Joe Dagher, a former legislative aide for Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) on the Banking Committee. Dagher worked on the financial regulatory law, as well as an automakers assistance package and the bank bailout of 2008.

Obama to Outline Deficit Reduction Proposal

Updated: 1:05 p.m.

With a government shutdown averted, President Barack Obama will pivot to a broader fiscal outlook this week by detailing a spending reduction plan that would address politically popular entitlement programs, a senior White House adviser said Sunday.

U.S. Chamber of Commerce Lobbying Against Shutdown

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s top official said he has been advising lawmakers against a federal government shutdown, which he said could have a negative effect on the economy if stretched beyond a few days.

“I’ve been telling people it is a bad idea to shut down the government,” chamber president Thomas Donohue told reporters Friday at a breakfast sponsored by the Christian Science Monitor. “I hope we don’t shut down government because that is just a pain in the neck.”

Koreans Stump for Trade Pact
Campaign Targets Korean-Americans

To prod lawmakers to approve the long-stalled U.S.-Korea free-trade agreement, the South Korean government is turning to its secret weapon in the United States: Korean-Americans.

The South Korean government has paid the public relations firm Edelman $10,000 per month since September to reach these voters with ads in both English and Korean endorsing the trade deal.

GOP Probe of AARP Could Ensnare Other Nonprofits

Correction Appended

The Republican attack on AARP could trigger a more widespread examination of the tax-exempt status of nonprofit groups, including those who have backed conservatives, Democrats warned Friday.

AARP Is Next on GOP Target List

Republicans have launched an assault on AARP, which joins a growing list of groups supportive of the Democrats’ agenda that are being targeted by conservatives.

House Republicans on the Ways and Means Committee on Wednesday released a report that accuses the influential senior citizens organization of having a conflict of interest because it will financially benefit from the health care overhaul that the group heavily lobbied for last year. AARP collects royalties from endorsing health insurance policies and other products.

K Street Files: Sprint Plan to Fight Merger Not Yet Clear

Not surprisingly, Sprint announced this week that it would wage a fierce lobbying battle on Capitol Hill against AT&T’s proposed $39 billion purchase of T-Mobile.

But executives with the Kansas-based telecommunications company, which stands to come out the big loser from the merger, were vague on how they intend to counter the formidable AT&T lobbying machine.

Former Rep. Bart Gordon Heads to K Street

Former Rep. Bart Gordon (D-Tenn.) is joining the K&L Gates law firm, following a parade of his fellow Blue Dog Democrats to K Street.

Gordon, who retired from Congress last year after serving 26 years, will be part of the firm’s public policy team, which also includes former Rep. Jim Walsh (R-N.Y.) and former Sen. Slade Gorton (R-Wash.).