lobbying

Longtime U.S. Chamber of Commerce chief Tom Donohue easing out of job

Thomas Donohue, president and CEO of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, is stepping aside as president but will remain as CEO until 2022. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Longtime U.S. Chamber of Commerce chief Thomas Donohue, a storied player on K Street for decades, is stepping back from his role atop the organization, shedding his title as president but pledging to remain with the group as CEO until June 2022.

Suzanne P. Clark, currently the chamber’s senior executive vice president, will assume the role of president, the group said Wednesday, noting it will “undertake a global search” for the next CEO.

HR 1 provides freshman House Democrats a McConnell 101 lesson
First-term lawmakers want to see Senate action on ethics overhaul

Rep. Max Rose, D-N.Y., was among the freshman House Democrats urging Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to allow consideration of HR 1. "He won't even take a meeting with us," Rose says of McConnell. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

While it is not quite an unstoppable force meeting an immovable object, the metaphor is close enough: Freshman House Democrats who roared into the majority in January with ambitious legislative plans are increasingly facing the reality of a Senate majority leader who has little interest in what they want.

The latest reality check came on Wednesday when a substantial portion of first-year House Democrats — 62 members — urged Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to act on HR 1, a sweeping House-passed bill that seeks to fortify ethics rules for public officials, overhaul campaign finance and expand access to voting.

Hoyer and House appropriators back potential pay raise for Congress
Salaries for rank-and-file lawmakers have been frozen at $174,000 since 2010

House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer, D-Md., says he supports a provision that could boost lawmaker salaries. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

House Democrats are making moves to lift the pay freeze that lawmakers have been living under since 2010. But the top Senate appropriator is not on board. 

House appropriators released their Financial Services fiscal 2020 spending bill earlier this week, striking a provision that blocked members or Congress from receiving an increase in pay that Republicans included in previous  Legislative Branch spending bills. The salary for rank-and-file House and Senate lawmakers is $174,000, but those with official leadership titles and responsibilities make more.

How to dine like a boss on a tight budget in D.C.
Hill reception circuit offers a lifeline for cash-strapped interns

People grab food provided at the Organic Trade Association’s Organic Week Reception on Capitol Hill on Tuesday. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call)

Receptions are the lifeblood of the broke Capitol Hill intern’s diet. Besides being a great place for meeting people (ABN: always be networking) they provide a bounty of free food and drinks, and usually the spreads are halfway decent. I once went a whole week without paying a dime for dinner. And honestly, with enough dedication, I could have stretched that to a month.

Besides not wearing your intern badge on your lapel, the earliest lesson you learn working on the Hill is that almost every industry has an association in D.C. to represent it. Whether it’s cement, hydrogen energy or guns, if somebody has an interest before Congress, you can bet it has a lobby organized to influence lawmakers.

Before Trump meeting, Hungary hired a powerhouse K Street firm
Greenberg Traurig signed on to represent the Embassy of Hungary for $100,000 for six months of work

U.S. President Donald Trump shakes hands with Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban during a meeting in the Oval Office on May 13, 2019. The authoritarian prime minister’s government recently hired lobbying and law firm Greenberg Traurig to represent the Embassy of Hungry. (Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

The government of Hungary hired a powerhouse K Street firm just before the country’s controversial and authoritarian prime minister, Viktor Orbán, had a meeting last week with President Donald Trump in the White House.

Lobbying and law firm Greenberg Traurig signed on to represent the Embassy of Hungary for $100,000 for six months of work, new Justice Department documents show. The disclosures included a contract for work dated April 26, just on the cusp of the meeting that took place May 13.

IRS should investigate the National Rifle Association for self-dealing, congressman says
Schneider: the NRA may have abused its status as a nonprofit

Wayne LaPierre, CEO of the National Rifle Association, faces new scrutiny for his close relationship with public relations company Ackerman McQueen. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The Internal Revenue Service should consider revoking the National Rifle Association’s status as a nonprofit organization in light a recent report that the group has enriched its executives at the expense of its 5 million members, a Democratic congressman said Thursday.

Rep. Brad Schneider addressed a letter to the commissioner of the IRS asking the agency to interrogate whether the NRA has misappropriated member dues into the pockets of a small group of executives in a series of sweetheart deals.

Koch brothers, no fans of Trump, boost lobbying spending
Firm was eighth-highest spender on lobbying during first quarter

David Koch, center, listens to speakers during the Defending the American Dream Summit in Washington in 2011. Koch Cos. Public Sector boosted its lobbying expenditures during the first quarter of 2019. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images file photo)

The famously conservative Koch brothers, Charles and David, were among those libertarian-minded conservatives who sat out the 2016 presidential election out of distaste for Donald Trump.

They’ve since bristled at his policies on trade and immigration, as they prefer freer trade and looser borders.

Fintech lobby spending targets cryptocurrency taxation
Firms lobbying on fintech spent more than $42 million in first quarter

More than half of the 80 firms that reported lobbying on fintech in the first quarter of 2019 listed blockchain and cryptocurrencies among their biggest concerns. (Dan Kitwood/Getty Images file photo)

Lobbying disclosures for the first quarter of 2019 show a wide swath of industries and advocacy groups focusing on financial technology issues, including the Association of National Advertisers, Intuit, Mastercard, Alibaba, FreedomWorks, IBM, the Entertainment Software Association and U.S. Public Interest Research Group.

More than half of the 80 firms that reported lobbying on fintech in the first quarter listed blockchain and cryptocurrencies, including tax elements of the latter, among their biggest concerns. Combined, more than 80 firms lobbying on fintech reported spending more than $42 million in the first quarter of 2019.

‘No corporate PAC’ pledges aren’t always so pure
Contributions sometimes go through other lawmakers or party committees

Rep. Tom Malinowski, D-N.J., Malinowski, says he is proud he doesn’t take direct contributions from corporate PACs. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Corporate PAC money is yucky, but if it comes via contributions from other lawmakers or party committees, the taste seems to suddenly improve.

That’s the message from many incumbents in the club of 50-something Democratic lawmakers who refuse corporate political action committee dollars but still accept donations from colleagues and party committees that take the derided funds.

Trump administration swayed by conservative think tank on abortion, LGBT decisions, group says
Ties between administration and The Heritage Foundation correlate with several health policy decisions, liberal watchdog group says

HHS Office of Civil Rights Director Roger Severino speaks at a news conference at the Department of Health and Human Services on January 18, 2018 in Washington, DC. Severino, a former director of The Heritage Foundation’s DeVos Center for Religion and Civil Society, joined HHS as the director of OCR in late March 2017. Close ties between the administration foundation correlate with several Trump administration health policy decisions, a liberal think tank says. (Aaron P. Bernstein/Getty Images)

Close ties between the administration and a prominent conservative think tank correlate with several Trump administration health policy decisions, according to new information from a liberal government watchdog group shared exclusively with CQ Roll Call.

The 35-page Equity Forward report says that The Heritage Foundation’s influence plays a large role in decisions related to abortion, fetal tissue research, contraception and protections for same-sex couples.