A CLOSER LOOK AT THE LINE BETWEEN FUNDRAISING AND GOVERNANCE
--Sunlight: "On Nov. 24, 2009, Sara Conrad, the fundraising consultant for Rep. Joseph Crowley, D-N.Y., sent an email to Michael Stein, head of government relations for financial services giant Morgan Stanley, inviting him to attend a Dec. 10 fundraising reception for Crowley’s campaign. The email was a follow-up to a prior conversation he had with Crowley’s chief of staff, Kate Winkler, about the Ways and Means Committee member's upcoming campaign events. ... Around the same time, Conrad, who worked for Crowley's campaign and not his congressional office, sent several other emails, including similar notes to lobbyists for Time Warner, the Mortgage Bankers Association; like Stein, both were registered to lobby on the Dodd-Frank Financial Reform Bill (H.R. 4173), the biggest overhaul of the nation's investment and banking rules since the Glass-Steagall Act was passed in 1933. Winkler, who worked in Crowley's congressional office and draws a salary from taxpayers, sent an invite directly to a lobbyist for Zurich insurance. ... A little more than two weeks later, a day before the House would pass Dodd-Frank, the Time Warner and Zurich lobbyists, a lobbyist from Morgan Stanley and a Mortgage Bankers Association lobbyist were on the attendance list for the Dec. 10 fundraiser and campaign finance disclosures from the Federal Election Commission show that the PACs for all four firms each contributed $1000 to Crowley's campaign. ... The Ethics Committee wrote that the timing of floor action related to the bill was uncertain and concluded that fundraisers coinciding with the amending of and voting on H.R. 4173 was “happenstance.” ... Not everyone agreed--even those attending fundraisers weeks before the bill was formally introduced. At an Oct. 21 John Campbell fundraising event, just before a committee markup on the overhaul bill, 16 of 17 attendees were registered to lobby on the bill. This timing was enough to raise the eyebrows of one lobbyist, Scott McLucas of KPMG, who wrote in an internal email: “[i]s it wrong for me to reply and say that’s not such a good night given we have this crucial piece of legislation being marked up the next day?” McLucas was on the attendance list for the event, and his PAC contributed $2,500 to Campbell.
APPLE HIRES MAJOR GOP LOBBYING TEAM
--Apple, the innovative consumer products company that brought us the iPhone, the iPad, the iPhone 4 (sales pitch: This changes everything. Again) and a host of laptops and desktops, has hired Fierce, Isakowitz & Blalock to represent them on Capitol Hill. The lobbying registration form lists "innovation" as the specific issue the firm, which represents clients ranging from the American Pork Export Council to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, according to their website (http://fierce-isakowitz.com/Clients.html), will be lobbying on. Apple may break new ground, but their lobbying firm is decidedly old school: The seven individuals listed as lobbyists for Apple on the registration form all went through the revolving door. There's Mark Isakowitz, a former aide to the late Rep. Pall Gillmor, R-Ohio; Kirk Blalock and Kirsten Chadwick who worked in George W. Bush's administration; Mike Chappell, a former aide to Sen. Roger Wicker, R-Tenn., Kate Hull, who was staff director of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Subcommittee on Aging for the then-Republican majority; Aleix Jarviz, an aide to Sen. Lindsay Graham, R-S.C.; and Billy Piper, an aide to Republican Senate leader Mitch McConnell.
THE EARMARK BAN END AROUND BEGINS
--The Hill: "Defense budget experts say the campaign to banish earmarks from Congress is unlikely to succeed because lawmakers will find other ways to direct money to military projects in their districts. ... Military projects are too important in too many states and districts for an earmarks ban to halt targeted spending by lawmakers, former Senate congressional defense aides and analysts said. Plus, a ban on earmarks would do little to lower the deficit, leading some to predict lawmakers might even scrap the idea of banning them."
FUNDRAISING PARTIES TODAY
--Rep. Phil Roe, of Tennessee, heads up to New York City today to raise money at Littanzi Ristorante.
--Rep. Xavier Becerra is hosting a fundraiser at Johnny's Half Shell.
--Rep. John Shimkus is holding a fundraiser at the Capital Grille.
--Rep. Doris Matsui is hosting a fundraiser at Sonoma on Capitol Hill.
--Rep. Chris Lee is hosting a fundraiser at Art & Soul.
--Rep. Tom Petri hosts a fundraiser at Tuscana West.
--Rep. Brett Guthrie hosts a fundraiser at Carmine's with special guest Sen. Rand Paul.