With David Beavers and Daniel Lippman
SMALL CASINOS, RURAL HOSPITALS NOW ELIGIBLE FOR SMALL BUSINESS LOANS: The American Gaming Association won a lobbying victory today when the Small Business Administration announced it would undo rules barring small casinos and other businesses that generate most of their revenue from gambling from applying for coronavirus relief loans. Charity Johns, the chief executive of Laredo Hospitality, an Illinois chain of “gaming cafes” that offers slots and video poker, said in an interview earlier this month that the agency’s rules preventing her from applying for a loan had prevented her from bringing back about 600 furloughed and laid-off employees. “I don’t know why our business is [excluded], quite frankly,” she said. “We are still a small business.”
— The American Gaming Association had appealed to President Donald Trump for help and prevailed upon more than a dozen members of Congress to lobby the administration on its behalf. “Mr. Meadows and Mr. Kudlow have my cell phone number should you require additional direct input,” Rep. Mark Amodei (R-Nev.) wrote in a letter to Trump, referring to Mark Meadows, Trump’s chief of staff, and Larry Kudlow, the chairman of the National Economic Council. “Please act immediately.”
— The Trump administration will also “allow most government-owned hospitals to seek new small business loans, throwing a lifeline to financially vulnerable rural providers that were originally shut out of the rescue program,” POLITICO’s Rachel Roubein reports. “The Small Business Administration clarified Friday that public hospitals are eligible for the loans, after lawmakers urged the agency overseeing the stimulus program to make an exception for rural health providers.”
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Behind every roll of toilet paper, box of cereal and bottle of hand soap, there are 2.1 million people working tirelessly to manufacture the products American families depend on to stay home and stay safe. To the men and women who make it possible, thank you. Watch their stories.
TRUMP TO NOMINATE SPIVEY TO BE HOMELAND SECURITY OFFICIAL: President Donald Trump plans to nominate Elizabeth Spivey, a founding partner of B+S Strategies, as the Department of Homeland Security’s assistant secretary for legislative affairs, according to the White House. Spivey deregistered on Wednesday as a lobbyist representing Airlines for America and BNSF Railway Company, according to disclosure filings. She’s also a former director of outreach and coalitions for the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee and a onetime aide to former Sen. Trent Lott (R-Miss.), who is now a lobbyist himself.
CANNABIS BUSINESS WOES LEAD TO LOBBYING CONTRACTION: There’s been a rush of hiring on K Street in recent weeks — but some clients are also scrapping their lobbying contracts as their revenues plummet. In the cannabis industry, “Eaze and 4Front Ventures both dropped their Washington lobbyists in recent weeks due to financial constraints,” POLITICO’s Paul Demko reports. “Laurent Crenshaw, Eaze’s director of government affairs, was let go in February. The delivery company also dropped its lobbying contract with Holland & Knight, which had been coordinating efforts to mobilize non-cannabis businesses in support of the SAFE Banking Act.”
— “‘The liquidity challenges that Eaze is dealing with forced a re-focus away from government affairs activity outside of California,’ Crenshaw said. 4Front reduced its staff by 40 percent over the last four months, according to a recent press release. That included letting go Mike Liszewski, the company’s head of regulatory affairs. “It was in no way a reflection of Mike’s performance or our priorities,” said Kris Krane, 4Front’s president. ‘It’s really a reflection of the financial realities of the industry right now.’”
WHAT’S IN THE BILL: “As part of the economic rescue package that became law last month, the federal government is giving away $174 billion in temporary tax breaks overwhelmingly to rich individuals and large companies, according to interviews and government estimates,” The New York Times’ Jesse Drucker reports. “Some of the breaks apply to taxes have long been in the cross hairs of corporate lobbyists. They undo limitations that were imposed to rein in the giveaways embedded in a $1.5 trillion tax-cut package enacted in 2017. None specifically target businesses or individuals harmed by the coronavirus.”
— Take, for example, a tax break that “temporarily rolls back the 2017 restriction on how much debt some companies can deduct from their taxes. That restriction was the subject of lobbying for the last two years by big companies, including Coca-Cola and Hewlett Packard Enterprise, according to federal lobbying records. The National Association of Manufacturers, whose board includes executives from Exxon Mobil, Raytheon, and Caterpillar, has pushed lawmakers for similar changes.”
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WHO’S SEEKING SMALL BUSINESS LOANS: “Among the applicants for loans from the Small Business Administration’s stimulus package is the foundation arm of FreedomWorks, a conservative operation that advocates small government and made its name opposing bailouts,” The New York Times’ Ken Vogel and Lisa Lerer report. “‘I would love someone to give us free cash,’ said Adam Brandon, the president of FreedomWorks, which is working to build support for President Trump’s effort to reopen the economy. At the other end of the ideological spectrum, liberal groups like the Congressional Progressive Caucus Center and Media Matters for America have also applied for some of the small-business loans, which can be fully forgiven if the recipients use them to keep workers on their payrolls.”
CORRECTION: Due to an erroneous filing by Duke Energy, the company was included on PI’s list of the top 20 lobbying spenders during the first quarter in Tuesday’s edition. Here’s an updated list:
As we fight against an unseen enemy, the consumer packaged goods industry is there, manufacturing the items we depend on. Behind every roll of toilet paper, bar of soap and cup of coffee, there are 2.1 million people working to make the products that make it possible for American families to stay home and stay safe. Each day, as these front-line employees arrive at manufacturing facilities across the country, we are one day closer to flattening the curve — one day closer to the future we all need. To the men and women who walk through the doors every day, thank you. Watch their stories.
— The Financial Data Exchange, a new trade group that counts Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase and the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association among its members, has hired Tom Carpenter as director of public affairs and marketing. He was previously a lobbyist at Republic Consulting.
Durbin McGrath Victory Fund (Sen. Dick Durbin, Amy McGrath for Senate, Inc.)
Big Sky Voters PAC (Super PAC)
Democratic Progress (Super PAC)
Save American Democracy (Super PAC)
Alston & Bird LLP: Brookdale Senior Living, Inc.
Ballard Spahr LLP: Jager Pro, Incorporated
Capitol Integration: Axis Communications
Congressional Partners: Banyan Community Health Center
DLA Piper LLP (US): B. Braun Medical Inc.
DLA Piper LLP (US): Chipotle Mexican Grill, Inc.
Federal Hall Policy Advisors, LLC: United States Chamber of Commerce/Center for Capital Markets Competitiveness
Forest Hill Consulting: The Assistance Fund
Goldstein Policy Solutions: The Secured Finance Network (SFNet)
GovBiz Advantage, Inc.: Radia, LLC
Jones Walker, LLP: Si02 Materials Science
Mapetsi Policy Group: Laguna Development Corporation
McGuireWoods Consulting (A Subsidiary of McGuireWoods LLP): International Health, Racquet and Sports Association (IHRSA)
Ms. Christina Metzler: Outset Medical
Platinum Advisors DC, LLC: Riot Games, Inc.
Potomac South, LLC: Ag-Pro Companies
Ridge Policy Group: DiaVac Biotech Company
Ridge Policy Group: Midway Dental Supply LLC
Ridge Policy Group: RV Retailer, LLC
Stewart Strategies and Solutions, LLC: National Installment Lenders Association
The McKeon Group, Inc.: Ligado Networks
The Normandy Group, LLC: Gruma Corporation
The Roosevelt Group: Google Cloud
Van Scoyoc Associates: The American Network of Community Options and Resources (ANCOR)
Winning Strategies Washington: City of Williamsburg, VA
Winning Strategies Washington: Rising Pharma Holdings, Inc.
Winning Strategies Washington: Villa Restaurant Group
Keller Partners & Company: Jane Todd Crawford Hospital
North Star Strategies, LLC: Jackson BioEnergy
Quadripoint Strategies LLC: Ambio
Taylor English Decisions, LLC: Suffolk Administrative Services, LLC
Venable LLP: AMCAL Sacramento LLC
Winning Strategies Washington: The New Era Cap Company