K&L Gates hires Wyden’s Byrd rule whisperer
With Daniel Lippman
FIRST IN PI — SENATE TAX WRITERS’ RECONCILIATION GURU RETURNING TO K&L GATES: A veteran aide responsible for shepherding this summer’s Democratic tax and climate bill through the Senate’s arcane procedural hurdles is returning to K Street, where lobbyists are working to shape the rules for implementing the law.
— Mike Evans, who has spent the past nine years as Democrats’ chief counsel and deputy staff director for the tax-writing Senate Finance Committee and before that held the chief counsel role for the Finance and Environment and Public Works committees under former Sen. Max Baucus, will rejoin K&L Gates as a partner.
— Evans said in an interview that he expects to leverage his knowledge of the chamber’s procedural quirks — Senate Finance Chair Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) boasted in a floor speech last month that “nobody in this country” has as good a grasp of those rules, intel on which has been in high demand on K Street, as Evans.
— Evans also plans to work on many of the same issues in the private sector as he did on the Hill including tax, health care, and environmental policy, including implementation of the myriad clean energy tax provisions included in the package.
— “It’s a great opportunity to make big advances with respect to climate change, and for companies to be part of that,” he said. But first comes developing regulations to enact the law, then “understanding them and putting together projects that can benefit from the tax credits and, consequently, provide the emissions reductions” that Democrats envisioned, Evans said.
— He’s barred by ethics rules from lobbying his former colleagues on the Finance Committee for a year, but Evans is free to lobby the Biden administration right away. Still, his intimate knowledge of the new law will be a major boon to clients looking to take advantage of its tax credits — or potentially blunt the impact of provisions they opposed, of which there are many among the business community.
— One ripe target by industry is sure to be the bill’s drug pricing measures, which were pared back by the Senate parliamentarian but nonetheless amounted to a crushing defeat for the pharmaceuticals industry. In his floor speech, Wyden contended that Evans “led the fight” and was “right at the center” of those provisions. “The largest clean energy bill in U.S. history,” he added later, “does not happen — it simply does not happen without the gentleman sitting next to me, Mike Evans.”
CONSUMER BRANDS TAPS CHAVERN AS NEXT CHIEF EXECUTIVE: The Consumer Brands Association has named David Chavern as its next president and CEO. Chavern currently holds the same titles at the News Media Alliance, which represents more than 2,000 news organizations, including POLITICO owner Axel Springer, and previously spent a decade as an executive at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.
— He’ll be the first new leader to take the reins of CBA, which represents the packaged goods industry, since the group’s transition from the Grocery Manufacturers Association in 2020. Geoff Freeman, who oversaw the rebranding and recruited back some of the group’s old members, left CBA earlier this year to lead the U.S. Travel Association.
— “I have watched the incredible turnaround of Consumer Brands over the last three years and am honored to carry the association into its next phase and elevate the CPG industry that I am proud to now call myself a part of,” Chavern said in a statement. He’ll remain in his current role until the end of the year, where his trade group says it will continue its push for legislation to let news organizations collectively negotiate with online platforms that display their work.
DEMS RIP CRYPTO REVOLVING DOOR: “Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) are ringing alarms over the number of former federal officials who have taken top jobs with crypto industry startups,” POLITICO’s Sam Sutton reports.
— “Five months after a series of blow-ups at digital asset lenders sparked a crypto market contagion, the progressive Democrats warned bank and market regulators in a letter that the revolving door of crypto hires is ‘corrupting the policymaking process and undermining the public’s trust in our financial regulators.’”
— “Americans should be confident that regulators are working on behalf of the public, rather than auditioning for a high-paid lobbying job upon leaving government service,” Warren, Ocasio-Cortez, Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) and Reps. Jesús “Chuy” García (D-Ill.) and Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) wrote in a letter sent to leaders at the SEC, CFTC, Treasury, Federal Reserve, FDIC, Office of the Comptroller of the Currency and CFPB. “The rapidly spinning revolving door out of government and into the crypto sector, however, undermines both imperatives.”
— The letter asks the agencies to “produce information about how they protect against undue influence from former employees who have since moved on to the private sector. It also asks for the agencies to provide details on conflict of interest and ethics policies.”
CORPORATE AMERICA LOBBIES ON SAME-SEX MARRIAGE BILL: “About a dozen corporations are directly lobbying Capitol Hill for the first time in support of same-sex marriage rights,” POLITICO’s Hailey Fuchs reports.
— “Ten of those companies — including Toyota, Dell, General Mills and tobacco giant Altria — lobbied for the Respect for Marriage Act, legislation that would write same-sex and interracial marriage protections into law. The latest filings, which cover the third quarter of 2022, show corporate America is putting some financial heft behind its increasingly public affiliation with socially liberal causes like marriage rights. They come as conservative leaders have amplified their attacks on corporations that are wading into politics.”
— “But the politics of marriage equality don’t divide so cleanly along partisan lines. Dow Chemical, for example, has tasked the GOP firm Fierce Government Relations with lobbying the Senate on the bill. Others who have lobbied on the measure include UPS, Procter & Gamble, HP, and TechNet, a trade association whose members include tech giants such as Amazon, Google, and Apple.”
— “Justin Nelson, president of the National LGBT Chamber of Commerce, said his organization has been pushing companies to utilize their K Street teams to support the Respect for Marriage Act, saying the legislation’s ultimate passage will require ‘a sustained lobbying campaign.’”
— “Last month, the Human Rights Campaign organized a coalition of more than 220 companies that called on the Senate to pass the legislation. Ten of those companies also filed paperwork this month showing their lobbyists worked on the issue.”
WESTEXEC ADDS FORMER BIDEN AIDE:Emily Horne, who left the White House earlier this year after serving as an aide to President Joe Biden and spokesperson for the National Security Council, has joined WestExec as a senior adviser. That makes Horne the latest staffer to pass between the Biden administration and the consulting firm, which was co-founded by Secretary of State Antony Blinken and has supplied the administration with dozens of staffers and top officials. In August, the firm hired Linda Lourie of the White House’s Office of Science and Technology Policy.
— Horne runs Allegro Public Affairs, a foreign policy consultancy she formed earlier this year. Before joining the White House she served on Biden’s transition team, and is a Brookings Institution, Twitter and State Department alum. In a statement, WestExec co-founder and managing partner Sergio Aguirre said Horne “is already providing key insights to our client base on a host of complex issues, including by helping craft a strong, tailored narrative for clients to help achieve business wins.”
— Jeff Farrah is joining the Autonomous Vehicle Industry Association as its first executive director.
— Holly Grosholz is now director of government affairs at the American Clinical Laboratory Association. She was most recently director of government relations at the Medical Imaging & Technology Alliance.
— Tony Fratto is joining Goldman Sachs as a partner and global head of corporate communications. He most recently was a partner at Penta Group (formerly Hamilton Place Strategies, of which he was a founder), and is a Bush Treasury Department and White House alum.
— Sonja Nesbit will join Arnold & Porter’s legislative and public policy practice as senior policy adviser. She was most recently managing director at FTI Consulting and is a Ways and Means and HHS alum.
— Marc Rucker has joined the Council for Responsible Nutrition as vice president for finance and administration. He was most recently vice president for finance and operations for the American College of Nurse-Midwives.
— Sean McCormack has been named vice president of communications at Chevron. He currently is managing director at TrailRunner International and is a Bush State Department and White House alum.
— José Miguel Vivanco has joined Dentons Global Advisors as a partner. He most recently served as the Americas director of Human Rights Watch.
— Rachel Baranowski is now program manager of Kharon’s global engagement program. She previously was a program officer for the Women’s Democracy Network at IRI.
— Chris McGrath has joined ESG consulting firm Uplift Agency as vice president to head up communications, impact and advocacy work. He joins from Velocity Global and is an alum of Harry Reid, Bob Menendez, and the United Nations.
— Ready for Ron has named Dylan Dean as its national student director and Ret. Navy Capt. Bob Carey as head of Veterans Ready for Ron.
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