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Broadcasters, newspapers foyer to vary small business mortgage guidelines

With David Beavers and Daniel Lippman

BROADCASTERS, NEWSPAPERS PUSH FOR CHANGE TO SMALL BUSINESS LOAN RULES: The National Association of Broadcasters and the News Media Alliance are lobbying Congress to change the rules governing the small business loan programs to allow more TV stations, radio stations, newspapers and other media properties to apply. The trade groups want to revamp the Small Business Administration’s rules to let publishing and broadcasting companies with more than 500 employees — the typical cutoff for what’s considered a small business,although some industries have higher caps — apply for the loans, as long as each station or publication within a larger group doesn’t have more than a certain number of employees.

— The proposal would give publishers and broadcasters a carve-out similar to those granted to restaurants and hotels in the relief bill President Donald Trump signed last month, which allowed companies such as Ruth’s Hospitality Group and Shake Shack to apply for loans — which generated pushback when the loans were made public. “Local news publisher and broadcaster eligibility for the newly-established Paycheck Protection Program relief must be determined at a local level (based on the local newspaper publisher or station) using a similar framework applied to restaurants and hotels,” the trade groups wrote in a two-pager obtained by PI.

— The push has attracted some support in Congress. “Up to several thousand newspapers and hundreds of local radio and television stations across the country were cut out of existing programs by the U.S. Small Business Administration’s affiliation rule, which restricts assistance to companies owned or controlled by larger entities,” Sens. Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.), John Neely Kennedy (R-La.), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) and John Boozman (R-Ark.) wrote in a letter to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer earlier this month. “Even though these news outlets may be owned by larger groups, they operate independently.”

— Some news outlets have already received Small Business Administration loans, including The Seattle Times, The Tampa Bay Times and Axios, but other regional and local papers hit hard by the loss of ad revenue, such as The Star Tribune of Minneapolis, haven’t qualified.

— In an interview, David Chavern, the News Media Alliance’s president and chief executive, said he didn’t anticipate the trade group’s publicly traded member companies would apply for the loans. (New rules announced by the administration on Thursday make it harder for public companies to apply, anyway.) Instead, the change would allow chains of small TV stations, for instance, to apply for aid they couldn’t get otherwise. Still, he acknowledged that the blowback against restaurant chains getting loans even as some smaller businesses struggled made the lobbying harder. “We were making a lot of progress on getting the rules adjusted and then the news about Ruth’s Chris came out,” he said.

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SENIOR LIVING INDUSTRY LOBBIES FOR AID: The senior living industry is lobbying for a cut of the $75 billion added to the Department of Health and Human Services’ Public Health and Social Services Emergency Fund by the relief bill President Donald Trump signed into law on Friday. The additional money comes after Congress allocated $100 billion to the fund last month, which has been distributed to hospitals, nursing homes and other health care providers — but not assisted living facilities.

— In an interview, James Balda, the president and chief executive of Argentum, a industry trade group, said his group was trying to convince the administration to give the industry up to $20 billion to help pay for additional staff, personal protective equipment and coronavirus testing, among other needs. “We’re continuing to work to try to make sure we’re in the next round of funding,” he said. The trade group is also pressing the administration to send protective equipment directly to assisted living facilities in the same way it’s doing for nursing homes.

INVARIANT ADDS A REPUBLICAN LOBBYIST: There’s no hiring freeze on K Street — at least not at every firm. Invariant has added Tim Martin as a lobbyist. He was previously a lawyer at WilmerHale, where he lobbied for clients including Kia, and before that worked as an aide to Reps. Rodney Davis (R-Ill.) and Scott Tipton (R-Colo.). “In this uncertain time, Tim’s know-how and political savvy will help guide our clients,” Heather Podesta, Invariant’s chief executive, said in a statement.

TRADE GROUPS PUSH FOR SMALL BUSINESS LOANS: “Senators from both parties are calling for chambers of commerce and business trade associations to have access to small business rescue loans, a request that’s likely to meet resistance because of lobbying and political activities associated with the largest groups,” POLITICO’s Zachary Warmbrodt reports. “The push on behalf of the trade groups comes as industries left out of $670 billion in aid fight for eligibility in the Paycheck Protection Program, which is resuming lending Monday after having run out of money on April 16.”

— “In a letter to congressional leaders, 18 lawmakers led by Sens. Bill Cassidy (R-La.) and Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) said they endorsed the idea of letting groups organized under the tax code as nonprofit 501(c)(6)s apply for so-called Paycheck Protection Program loans. … Many of the organizations that could benefit from the request are powerful Washington trade associations that lobby policymakers on behalf of business interests. The senators in their letter instead highlighted local groups, including regional chambers of commerce, nursing professional organizations, state restaurant associations and tourism leagues.” The idea is to make the loans available to trade groups in the next coronavirus relief bill.

MEET THE NEW INSPECTOR GENERAL OVERSEEING CORONAVIRUS RELIEF: “A council of inspectors general that went dark after President Donald Trump removed the top coronavirus relief watchdog earlier this month resurfaced Monday, naming a top staffer to oversee the government’s pandemic response and launching a website that will catalog their efforts,” POLITICO’s Kyle Cheney reports. “The Pandemic Response Accountability Committee, a panel of two dozen federal inspectors general charged with coordinating work to investigate the coronavirus relief effort, named Robert Westbrooks, a veteran inspector general as the committee’s executive director on Monday.”

— “Westbrooks, a certified public accountant, attorney and inspector general of a massive federal retirement benefit program, has held senior watchdog positions at the Small Business Administration, the Department of Transportation, the Postal Service and the National Archives.”

BALLARD GOES INTERNATIONAL: Ballard Partners, the lobbying firm run by Brian Ballard, a top fundraiser for President Donald Trump, is opening at office in Tel Aviv. It’s the first foreign outpost for the firm, which is based in Tallahassee, Fla., and opened a Washington office in 2017 after Trump’s victory. Former Rep. Robert Wexler (D-Fla.) and Oscar Chemerinski will head up the office. While Ballard has lobbied for several foreign governments in the Middle East, including those of Qatar and Turkey, the firm hasn’t registered to lobby for any Israeli interests.

WHO’S SEEKING SMALL BUSINESS LOANS: The New York Times’ Jessica Silver-Greenberg, David Enrich, Jesse Drucker and Stacy Cowley “identified roughly a dozen publicly traded companies that had recently boasted about their access to ample capital — and then applied for and received millions of dollars in the federal loans. Legacy Housing, a Texas company that manufactures premade homes, announced on April 1 that it had access to a new $25 million credit line. Curtis D. Hodgson, Legacy’s executive chairman, told investors that he expected any damage from the coronavirus to be short-lived. ‘Our order book is still strong, and we are well-positioned once the situation begins to normalize,’ he said.”

— “Less than two weeks later, on April 10, the company announced that a local lender, Peoples Bank, had approved it for $6.5 million under the S.B.A. loan program. In an interview on Sunday, Mr. Hodgson said that an inquiry from The Times led the company to decide to give back the money it borrowed, though he defended seeking the loan in the first place. ‘Legacy is a highly leveraged company without cash on hand,’ he said. ‘Here was a way to get a cash infusion.’”

IF YOU MISSED IT ON FRIDAY: “A bipartisan group of lawmakers is pressing the Trump administration to let payday lenders gain access to small business rescue money, going to bat for companies that have been accused of engaging in predatory behavior toward lower-income people,” POLITICO’s Zachary Warmbrodt reports. “The move comes as officials try to quell public criticism by stopping hedge funds and publicly traded companies from benefiting from the program, which is designed to avert massive job losses and resumes on Monday after running out of funds because of high demand.”

— “In a letter signed by 24 House Republicans and four Democrats, lawmakers asked the Treasury Department and Small Business Administration to open up Paycheck Protection Program loan applications to “small-size nonbanks,” including installment lenders and so-called community development financial institutions, which focus their lending on underserved populations. Payday lenders weren’t explicitly mentioned, but a spokesperson for Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer (R-Mo.), one of the lawmakers who led the letter, confirmed the intent was to include them in the request.”

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— Adfero has hired Brittany Serrano-Yepes as a content strategist, Kate Handy as a project manager and Marcela Luna as an assistant account executive. Serrano-Yepes previously worked for Juul Labs, Handy previously worked for MRM and Luna previously worked for 300Brand.

— DDC has hired Taylor Matter as a senior associate vice president for client relations and Andrew Nehring as a vice president for client relations. Matter previously worked at Purple Strategies and Nehring previously had his own firm, Fourth Street Advocacy.

Biden Victory Fund (Biden for President, Democratic National Committee)
Win Big (Sen. Amy Klobuchar, Follow the North Star Fund)

Family Friendly Action PAC (Super PAC)
Keep America First PAC (Hybrid PAC)
Liberty Works PAC (PAC)
The Committee on States PAC (Super PAC)

Ambassadors Group: Ambassadors Group
Ammar Dahake: Nirvana Automation Pvt Ltd
Capitol Counsel LLC: Masimo Corporation
CGCN Group, LLC (formerly known as Clark Geduldig Cranford & Nielsen, LLC): American Airlines, Inc.
Courson Nickel LLC: Nortac, LLC
Ervin Hill Strategy: General Motors Company
Ervin Hill Strategy: Greffex Inc.
Fidelis Government Relations: Sexton’s Creek Consulting on behalf of American Titanium Works
Foley Hoag LLP: Physicians for American Healthcare Access
Forbes-Tate: GRAIL, Inc.
Horizon Government Affairs: EHR Data Husch
Blackwell Strategies: TransitAmerica Services
Ivy Green Consulting: Nimbis Services, Inc.
Monument Advocacy: March of Dimes
Munk Policy & Law: Atlas Air Worldwide Holdings, Inc.
Prism Group: Living Assistance Services
Shumaker Advisors, LLC: Ohio Association of Convention & Visitors Bureaus (OACVB)
Shumaker Advisors, LLC: ProMedica Health System, Inc.
Strategic Government Affairs: Allies for Cherry Point’s Tomorrow
Strategic Government Affairs: City of Asheboro, North Carolina
Strategic Government Affairs: City of Havelock, North Carolina
The Conafay Group, LLC: Atea Pharmaceuticals, Inc.
The Conafay Group, LLC: Centivax
The Conafay Group, LLC: Lungpacer Medical USA, Inc
The Conafay Group, LLC: Nabriva Therapeutics US, Inc.
The Conafay Group, LLC: Roivant Sciences, Inc.
The Conafay Group, LLC: Wheel Biology, Inc.
The Rotunda Group LLC: Appalachian Regional Healthcare, Inc.
Todd Strategy, LLC: Alexion Pharmaceuticals, Inc.
Todd Strategy, LLC: Biogen, Inc.
Todd Strategy, LLC: GRAIL, Inc.
Todd Strategy, LLC: Merck & Co., Inc.
Todd Strategy, LLC: Novartis, Inc.

Fahmy Hudome International, Inc: KGL Investment Company KSCC
Mr. Robert Carlstrom Jr.: Association of Mature American Citizens

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