ProPublica: Emails Show the Meatpacking Industry Drafted an Executive Order to Keep Plants Open. “Hundreds of emails offer a rare look at the meat industry’s influence and access to the highest levels of government. The draft was submitted a week before Trump’s executive order, which bore striking similarities.”
AP: Trump-connected lobbyists reap windfall in COVID-19 boom. “Forty lobbyists with ties to President Donald Trump helped clients secure more than $10 billion in federal coronavirus aid, among them five former administration officials whose work potentially violates Trump’s own ethics policy, according to a report.”
ProPublica: Contractors for Trump’s Controversial $3 Billion Food Aid Program Have Hired a Longtime Lobbyist to Tout Their Work. “Companies receiving taxpayer dollars as part of President Donald Trump’s signature food aid program hired a longtime lobbyist to push back on criticism that the government is relying on unqualified contractors, such as an event planner.”
Washington Post: Well-connected Trump alumni benefit from coronavirus lobbying rush. “As lobbyists blitz Washington for a piece of the massive federal response to the global pandemic, a group of former Trump administration officials and campaign alumni are in the center of the action, helping private interests tap into coveted financial and regulatory relief programs. Businesses hit hard by the virus and health-care manufacturers seeking approval for their products have rushed to hire Trump alumni, who are leveraging their connections in a variety of ways — helping get their clients designated as ‘essential’ services and securing meetings at the White House and federal agencies on their behalf, federal filings show.”
My Stateline: Illinois launches new website to keep closer eye on lobbyists. “A new state website is shedding more light into what happens in Springfield. The new database will allow anyone to find information regarding how much time lobbyists spend with lawmakers. The site will also show many lobbyists are elected officials at the local level.”
Gazette: Despite new transparency law, state’s online lobbying database incapable of basic search functions; state refuses to provide data. “The Colorado Secretary of State is required by law to provide public access to online lobbyist disclosures. Even though the online system allows the public to search for lobbyists and lobbying activity reports using the name of the client, the search results omit some filings. It’s impossible to find even the Secretary of State’s lobbyist or their lobbying activity reports using the agency’s system that way — without already knowing the name of the lobbyist.”
Politico: National Archives joins investigation into Interior chief’s missing calendars. “The National Archives and Records Administration gave the Interior Department until late April to address Democrats’ allegations that newly confirmed Secretary David Bernhardt may have been destroying his official calendars, according to a letter POLITICO obtained Friday.”
Ars Technica: How Google influences the conversation in Washington. “A few days after last year’s midterm election, a Google policy manager and lobbyist sent an email to a congressional staffer with a link to a blog post on the right-wing news site Red State, written under the name The Real DC. In the post, the author accuses Google’s competitor Yelp of prodding President Trump to tweet a ‘professionally designed’ video about Google’s alleged bias, which The Real DC calls ‘fake news’ because it ‘bears many similarities’ to content produced by Yelp.”
The Register: Google: Hmm, this government regulation stuff looks important. Let’s stick some more lobbyists on that. “Facing down an increased interest in tech regulation, Google is said to be rejigging its global lobbying efforts and upping its focus on privacy and competition. The search and ad giant might not have garnered quite the column inches that Facebook and its oblivious boss Mark Zuckerberg has – but it is still in lawmakers’ crosshairs.”
POGO: Pentagon Revolving Door Database. “The revolving door of Pentagon officials and senior military leaders seeking lucrative post-retirement jobs often leads to confusing what is in the best financial interests of defense contractors with what is in the best interest of our citizens or national security. This database tracks senior Pentagon officials and military officers who have gone to work for Pentagon contractors, lobbying firms, and consultants trying to win Department of Defense contracts.” Not sure when this launched. It’s new-to-me.
New York Times: Senior Google Lobbyist Is Stepping Down From Her Role. “Susan Molinari, who leads Google’s federal lobbying and policy effort and is a former Republican congresswoman from New York, is stepping down from her role at the company. The change, during a turbulent time for Google, is the latest indication of a shake-up at the company’s large Washington operation.” I’m covering this here because it’s important; Google spends tons of money on lobbying — more than $18 million in 2017! — which according to the Washington Post is more than any other company.
PR Newswire: Consumer Watchdog: Google’s First-Quarter Lobbying Expenditures top $5 million; AT&T, Comcast Each Surpass $4 Million (PRESS RELEASE). “Google’s lobbying expenditures in the first quarter of this year topped $5 million, as the Internet giant sought to influence federal policymakers on issues including online privacy, competition, online advertising and online sex-trafficking, Consumer Watchdog said today. Google increased its 2018 first-quarter federal lobbying a whopping 42.6 percent, spending $5.02 million compared to $3.52 million spent in the comparable 2017 period. Among 18 major technology and communications companies tracked by Consumer Watchdog, Google spent the most on lobbying, according to mandatory disclosure reports filed Friday with the Clerk of the U.S. House of Representatives.”