Influence profile: Interior nominee Sally Jewell


Interior Secretary-designate Sally Jewell has donated $57,000 to political groups and candidates since 1996 — including $2,300 to President Barack Obama, who on Wednesday nominated her to join his Cabinet. 

But the man who will be her boss if the Senate confirms Jewell is not her chief beneficiary: Data downloaded from Sunlight's Influence Explorer shows that Jewell has given more to two home-state Democrats: $5,300 to Gov. Jay Inslee and $4,800 to Sen. Patty Murray.

Jewell, the chief executive of outdoor retailer REI, also gave to politically active trade groups, including the Retail Industry Leaders Assocation (where she is on the Board of Directors) has taken on labor unions, key allies for Obama.

The Outdoor Industry Association received the most, $11,000.  The group's lobbying interests include tariff suspension on footwear, Internet tax legislation and interestingly enough, Internet counterfeiting legislation including SOPA and PIPA, two bills that drew widespread support from the entertainment industry but intense opposition from tech providers such as Google and Facebook.

On its website, the group says it lobbied on the SOPA and PIPA legislation because of its interest in keeping counterfeit merchandise from being marketed via the Internet — the subject of a letter to the Senate Judiciary Committee that the Outdoor Industry Association signed. But the trade group has “not taken a position in favor of or opposed to SOPA. According to Senate records, the Outdoor Industry Association has supported Youth Corp. on Public Lands, opposed the Wilderness and Roadless Area Release Act of 2011. Open Congress reports that the latter bill was supported by snowmobile, logging and cattle groups.

Jewell's donations to the Retail Industry Leaders Assn (RILA) totaled $6,000.  The group had spent $5 million lobbying Congress between the beginning of 2011 and the second quarter of last year, and takes some controversial positions. A publication of the RILA states, “The pro-union agenda pursued by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) and the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) hurts retail business, employees and customers. Anti-business regulations are a drag on economic growth and job creation. RILA opposes these ill-conceived decisions and supports Congressional efforts to protect employer rights.”