With Daniel Lippman
CRITICAL MINERS LOBBY UP AHEAD OF BOON FROM RECONCILIATION BILL: A Missouri mining company that produces critical minerals used in electric vehicle batteries has hired former Rep. Filemon Vela of Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld to help the company secure federal funding likely to flow more easily now that President Joe Biden has signed Democrats’ climate spending package.
— Missouri Cobalt is in the process of building a new hydrometallurgical facility near its Fredericktown, Mo., mine that it says will help produce large-scale quantities of cobalt and nickel for batteries. It retained Vela at the beginning of July to lobby on “funding regarding development and processing of critical minerals essential to electric vehicle battery manufacturing,” according to a newly filed disclosure.
— At the time, Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) had not yet nixed climate issues from the reconciliation bill he was negotiating with Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer. But U.S. producers of critical minerals like cobalt, nickel and lithium won big in the eventual legislation, even as EV makers themselves groaned.
— The bill stipulates that to qualify for EV tax credits, the car in question must meet certain domestic manufacturing requirements — including that at least 40 percent of the critical minerals sourced for batteries must come from North America or a nation that is party to a U.S. free trade agreement. Combined with similar supply chain requirements for battery components, zero electric vehicles on the market in the U.S. meet those conditions.
— To jumpstart that supply chain within the U.S., the bill includes a number of incentives meant to help spur critical minerals processing, like a tax break allowing mining companies “to write off 10 percent of the cost of their operations if they produce any amount of” critical minerals, E&E News’ Jael Holzman reported. It also contains $500 million in funding to help subsidize the expansion of the critical minerals industry under the Defense Production Act.
— The issue has been driving a number of stakeholders to K Street. Panasonic North America, whose parent company in July announced a joint venture with Toyota to buy lithium from a mine in Nevada to produce EV batteries, retained Monument Advocacy last month to lobby on domestic EV battery manufacturing and development policies.
— Nevada-based battery recycling company Redwood Materials last month retained 38 North Solutions to lobby on energy and tax policy, and earlier this summer the metals and mining company Arizona Minerals, Inc. retained a former Mike Enzi aide and a former Manchin aide at Kountoupes Denham Carr & Reid to advocate on mining and critical minerals issues.
MORE NEW BUSINESS: The private equity giant Carlyle Group has retained Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck. Tim Keating, who joined Brownstein last year after abruptly leaving his role as Boeing’s top lobbyist, was brought on in July for general government relations services, just before the industry’s showdown with Senate Democrats over their bid to tighten the so-called carried interest loophole.
— As PI noted last week, Carlyle Group spends a fraction of what its fellow private equity firms drop on lobbying, but retains around a half-dozen outside lobbying firms: Sternhell Group, The Madison Group, Polaris Government Relations, Miller & Chevalier and Akin Gump.
DEVOS FAM PONIES UP TO UNSEAT WHITMER: “The wealthy DeVos family is pouring millions of dollars into its long established political network to help Republican candidate Tudor Dixon overtake Michigan Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer in what could be one of the most expensive races in the 2022 midterm elections,” CNBC’s Brian Schwartz reports.
— “State records show that since the beginning of May, DeVos family members contributed more than $4 million to outside groups that have either supported Dixon or blasted Whitmer. That massive total includes $1 million by DeVos family members toward Michigan Families United, a pro-Dixon super PAC that spent more than $2.5 million on broadcast and cable ads in the primary, according to data from AdImpact.” The Michigan Freedom Fund and Michigan Freedom Network, which both have ties to the former Education secretary’s family, ran Facebook ads attacking Whitmer.
— “The infusion of cash backing Dixon’s candidacy by the wealthy DeVos family came after Dick DeVos announced in May that the family was going to support the Republican businesswoman for governor. Dixon was later endorsed by former President Donald Trump after Betsy DeVos sent a handwritten note imploring him to back her family’s preferred candidate. For Dixon, the timing of the DeVos endorsement was critical, as her campaign went into primary day with just over $537,000 on hand, a paltry sum compared with Whitmer’s more than $14 million war chest.”
ON THE AIR: A trio of Democratic groups are coming together to help the party sell its landmark climate bill and stave off a midterm shellacking, per POLITICO’s Elena Schneider. Climate Power, the League of Conservation Voters and Future Forward USA Action are “dropping $10 million on a national TV ad campaign to define the legislation in the minds of voters.”
— “It’s the largest paid ad effort to bolster the legislation so far, as an array of Democratic groups and candidates kick off a 90-day sprint to promote the package and defy a brutal electoral environment for the party.”
— “It’s a task the party has been particularly bad at in the past — most notably in 2010 after the passage of Obamacare — and there’s no guarantee this time will be different. ‘There was no campaign to win the win’ after passage of the Affordable Care Act, said Lori Lodes, executive director of Climate Power, ‘whereas the other side spent $450 million to define it as a socialist takeover.’ That cycle, Democrats lost 63 House seats and six Senate seats.”
— “There’s more ad spending on the horizon, both from candidates and outside groups, a half-dozen Democratic strategists said. Building Back Together, a group led by former Biden campaign officials to support the president’s policies, will be rolling out a more than $1 million ad buy, particularly targeting voters of color, according to a spokesperson for the group.”
MEANWHILE IN CALIFORNIA: National and state business interests are mobilizing to block California legislation that would create a council overseeing industry workplace standards in fast food restaurants, in what our colleagues in Sacramento say is shaping up to be “one of the marquee battles of the remaining legislative session.”
— The advisory council created by the bill would create wage and workplace standards within the fast food industry, and extend liability to corporations like McDonald’s for violations at individual franchise stores. The bill is a major priority for the labor movement, while critics like the International Franchise Association argue it will raise food costs and burden business owners. The bill is “the biggest state issue we have ever dealt with and could have ripple effects across the nation for franchising,” IFA spokesperson Katherine Knight Patterson told PI. (California House Democrats would seem to agree on the latter point.)
— On Wednesday, the trade group organized a fly-in to bring dozens of franchisees to meet with California senators as the FAST Recovery Act heads to the floor. And today, IFA and the California Restaurant Association rolled out a seven-figure TV, radio and digital ad buy calling the bill a “food tax,” California Playbook reported.
IF YOU MISSED IT WEDNESDAY: “A once-floundering lawsuit against the National Rifle Association of America that seeks the return of potentially hundreds of millions in donations is back on track after the plaintiffs found new lawyers just before a crucial deadline,” Bloomberg’s Roy Strom reports.
— “Chicago-based Loevy & Loevy and Southeast law firm Stites & Harbison are now representing the group of disillusioned donors seeking to certify a class-action against one of the most powerful interest groups in US history.”
— “The donors, led by Nashville gun-rights activist David Dell’Aquila, argue the NRA fraudulently solicited donations to protect the Second Amendment but instead used the money to fund its executives’ lavish lifestyles. Their allegations mirror ones leveled in a separate lawsuit by New York Attorney General Letitia James. But their case was derailed and sat dormant for months after the lead lawyer, Knoxville-based Elliott Schuchardt, was suspended from practicing in federal court in Tennessee, as chronicled in a Bloomberg Law story last week.”
— Susan Aspey is now vice president of media and government relations at American Public Education, Inc. She most recently was vice president of corporate affairs at Ellucian and is a George W. Bush HHS, Education Department and DHS alum.
— John Cooney is now vice president for global advocacy and public policy at SEMI. He was most recently the government affairs director for SkyWater Technology.
— Melissa Tolentino has joined Hitachi’s government affairs team as their communications specialist. She most recently did digital outreach for the State Department’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs and is a Japan-America Society of Washington D.C. alum.
— Former Sen. Bill Frist was elected chair of the Nature Conservancy’s global board of directors for a three-year term beginning in October.
— Brianna Dimas is now the director of strategic communications for the American Immigration Council. She previously was vice president of programs and communications at the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. Alexandra Miller has also joined the group as the new executive director of the Immigration Justice Campaign. She was previously at the Florence Immigrant and Refugee Rights Project, where she spearheaded their Border Action Team.
— Ashleigh Wilson is now federal government affairs manager and counsel at Nucor. She most recently was legislative director and counsel to House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn (D-S.C.).
— Mohamed Awan is now a partner in Crowell & Moring’s litigation and mass tort, product and consumer litigation groups. He most recently was a partner in Honigman Miller Schwartz and Cohn’s litigation practice.
— Allin Hedge is now chief of staff for international government affairs at Intel. He most recently was chief of staff and senior adviser of the office of the assistant secretary for global markets at the Commerce Department.
52 in 22 Joint Victory Fund (Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand, Patty Murray, Mandela Barnes for Wisconsin, Fetterman For PA)
Beasley Warnock Victory Fund (Sen. Raphael Warnock, Cheri Beasley for North Carolina, North Carolina Democratic Party – Federal, Georgia Federal Elections Committee)
Boebert – Hines Victory JFC (Rep. Lauren Boebert, Bo Hines For Congress, BOPAC, We The People Leadership PAC)
Team Fung (Friends of Allan Fung, Funding Unique New Generations Yeah, Rhode Island Republican State Central Committee, NRCC)
Courageous Leadership Now PAC (Hybrid PAC)
Douglas County Republican Party (PAC)
Hawaii Conservatives (Super PAC)
LymePAC (Super PAC)
More Action Than Talk PAC (Leadership PAC: Matthew Jacobs)
Proud Americans PAC (Super PAC)
Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld: Missouri Cobalt LLC
Capitol Consultants LLC: Sceye Inc.
Davidoff Hutcher & Citron, LLP: Neuman’s Kitchen, Inc.
Enhabit Home Health & Hospice: Enhabit Home Health & Hospice
Imperium Global Advisors: Butterfly Network
Katherine Tremont: Razom, Inc.
Strategies 360: Iff
Water Strategies, LLC: Reinke Manufacturing Company, Inc.
Williams And Jensen, Pllc: Hamilton Shirts, Ltd.