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K Street Files: Google’s Stance Causes Identity Crises

After a brief spin through the reverse-revolving door back to Capitol Hill, Kirt Johnson has returned to K Street. Just in time for plenty of upcoming tax policy fights, Johnson has joined the Retail Industry Leaders Association as vice president for tax policy.

“Obviously, the big one for everybody is the discussion on tax reform,” said Johnson, who previously ran his own tax lobbying boutique KCJ Consulting and also was with the federal tax policy group at PricewaterhouseCoopers. “Nothing’s likely to actually happen this year, but the discussions and the way people position themselves might help set up what happens next year. It’s important to understand the perspective of our members on tax reform and convey that to the policymakers.”

The recent chief of staff to Rep. Sean Duffy (R-Wis.), who was once on MTV’s “Real World,” will also lobby on RILA’s No. 1 priority: a bill to compel online retailers to charge customers for state sales tax.

“The brick-and-mortar guys are paying the sales tax, and the Internet guys aren’t,” Johnson said. “That’s an inequity in the market.”

As for his recent stint on the Hill, Johnson, 53, said: “It’s a lot younger. But that’s kind of fun, too. Being on the Hill is kind of like being on campus.”

Eliza Newlin Carney contributed to this report. Submit K Street Files tips here.

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