With Daniel Lippman and Megan R. Wilson
INSIDE THE LOBBYING CAMPAIGN TO SEND GARCETTI TO NEW DELHI: Wednesday’s bipartisan vote to confirm former Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti as ambassador to India capped off a more than 600-day saga that spanned multiple sessions of Congress and drew on one other unusual source of outside support: the D.C. lobbyists hired by Garcetti’s parents to keep his nomination alive.
— Sukey and Gil Garcetti enlisted global law and lobbying firm McGuireWoods last April to help salvage their son’s nomination, which had faltered amid accusations that the mayor’s top aide, Rick Jacobs, had sexually assaulted women on his staff. Garcetti has maintained that he knew nothing about Jacobs’ alleged behavior.
— Disclosures show the Garcettis spent $90,000 on their lobbying campaign through the end of 2022 to bring on Breelyn Pete, Eric Garcetti’s own former deputy mayor and longtime adviser who’s now at McGuireWoods. Ryan Bernstein, a former chief of staff to Sen. John Hoeven (R-N.D.), meanwhile, was brought on for his institutional experience and to help sway Senate Republicans, Pete and Bernstein said in an interview.
— “I worked for the mayor for 5½ years, and I know his character and his integrity, you know, not only as a leader, but as a man,” Pete told PI. “It was very important for me to get the mayor in front of senators so that they could hear his truth from him, see his character, learn about his qualifications and his love and familiarity with India, from him.”
— Garcetti was also still running the second-biggest city in the country at the time, and “I think his parents really looked to me and Ryan to come on board to kind of help shepherd the process,” she added.
— From the beginning, Pete and Bernstein said their aim was to win Republican votes for confirmation — it appeared obvious that there would be some Democratic defections. They worked closely with the White House and State Department to keep the nomination afloat, though they told PI that they never worked personally with President Joe Biden.
— Their strategy involved getting Garcetti in front of “basically anybody” to discuss the nomination, Bernstein said — whether that meant senators themselves or their chiefs of staff, senior advisers or anyone else that might have been advising members on the nomination.
— On the Hill, they focused on having Garcetti speak for himself, but “our biggest argument was the urgency of this moment,” said Pete. His backers came to include Tennessee GOP Sen. Bill Hagerty — a former ambassador himself — who helped stress the importance of having a top diplomat in one of the world’s biggest countries, especially within the geopolitical context of countering Russia and China, Bernstein said.
— The team also came to meetings on the Hill armed with intel on “what’s important to the senators in the U.S.-India relationship,” Bernstein said. “I think that the senators really appreciated the ability to convey what’s important to them, to their states,” such as agriculture or energy issues.
— Garcetti’s paid advocates continued to engage lawmakers despite feeling confident since last year that the mayor lined up enough votes to be confirmed. “Because it took so long, we wanted to keep the conversation going, so it didn’t fall off the radar,” Bernstein said.
— They remained so in spite of several absences for the final vote this week, but that didn’t prevent a last-minute scramble to shore up votes on the day of. According to Pete, Garcetti spent his morning on the phone with senators, fielding calls from holdouts like Bob Casey (D-Pa.) and Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), who ended up voting to confirm.
TGIF and welcome to PI. Send your juiciest lobbying gossip: [email protected]. And be sure to follow me on Twitter: @caitlinoprysko.
NOT YOUR AVERAGE WORKING VACATION: “The collapse of Silicon Valley Bank and Signature Bank and the ensuing news that US regulators were jacking up lenders’ fees for deposit insurance quickly transformed the Hilton Hawaiian Village this week into ground zero for a lobbying blitz by community lenders,” Bloomberg’s Lydia Beyoud, Steven Dennis and Katanga Johnson write.
— “Senior bankers attending the industry confab were fuming in paradise as they made calls to their political contacts in Washington to argue they shouldn’t have to pick up part of the tab for the errors of two much larger firms that didn’t share their neighborhood focus.”
— “The bankers, instructed to don resort wear for a retreat that concluded Wednesday with a luau, argued it was unfair that they would have to pay more money for the management missteps of Silicon Valley Bank, which was the 16th largest lender in the US, said one of the people. They didn’t want to pay another penny, the person added. Many wanted clarity on how the extra fees would even work.”
GRWM TO TRY AND SAVE TIKTOK: “Dozens of TikTok creators will descend on Washington for three days next week” as the video platform mounts an eleventh-hour lobbying blitz to stave off the forced sale of the company, a person familiar with the plans tells POLITICO’s Hailey Fuchs.
— “The creators will hold a press conference on Wednesday on Capitol Hill, the person added. Another person familiar with the plans noted that TikTok was paying for the cost of sending influencers to D.C. It was not clear which influencers would be making the trip.”
— “Lawmakers in Washington debating TikTok should hear firsthand from people whose lives would be directly affected by their decisions,” said Jamal Brown, a former Biden campaign spokesperson who now works for the video platform. “We look forward to welcoming our creators to our nation’s capital, helping them make their voices heard, and continuing to drive meaningful impact in their lives and for their communities.”
BIDEN VOWS ‘ACCOUNTABILITY’ FOR BANK EXECS: “The White House wants Congress to give regulators more power to punish bank executives like those responsible for the Silicon Valley Bank collapse,” our Eleanor Mueller writes.
— “I’m firmly committed to accountability for those responsible for this mess,” Biden said in a statement, lamenting that “the law limits the administration’s authority to hold executives responsible.”
— “When banks fail due to mismanagement and excessive risk taking, it should be easier for regulators to claw back compensation from executives, to impose civil penalties, and to ban executives from working in the banking industry again,” the president continued. “Congress must act to impose tougher penalties for senior bank executives whose mismanagement contributed to their institutions failing.”
— It’s the latest effort by the White House to shore up its political standing following last weekend’s collapse of Silicon Valley Bank and Signature Bank and the administration’s decision to guarantee deposits of every size, not just those under $250,000, in a bid to prevent a wider financial panic.
— The request helps Biden push back against complaints that it had bailed out the banks’ wealthy progressive customers — at the expense of smaller banks — and comes the same day as the president and DNC said they would return tens of thousands in campaign contributions from SVB executives and the bank’s PAC.
A TIME FOR CHOOSING: “The Biden administration is preparing to impose some of the first new rules in a generation to restrict or ban an array of toxic chemicals that are widely used in manufacturing, presenting the White House with tough choices between its economic agenda and public health,” per The New York Times’ Eric Lipton.
— “Many of the substances in question are important to industries that President Biden has backed through other policies intended to bolster global competitiveness and national security, such as semiconductors and electric vehicles.”
— The proposals have sparked a lobbying fight, with business “framing the decisions about new regulations … as putting at risk the administration’s drive to nurture the American economy of the future. Environmental and public health groups are stressing the need to focus on protecting workers and communities from substances known to carry health risks, such as cancer, liver and kidney damage and infertility.”
GENE SEQUENCING COMPANY EXPANDS D.C. PRESENCE: Illumina, the leading maker of gene-sequencing machines, is bringing on Nick Magallanes of Iovance Biotherapeutics to lead its D.C. office, Megan reports. He’ll lead the company’s domestic lobbying operation and its work in Canada and Latin America.
— Illumina spokesperson David McAlpine confirmed the hire, telling Megan that the company has “a strategic plan to grow our Washington footprint as we increase our work around the clinical application of genomics.” Magallanes will serve under Illumina’s lone in-house lobbyist, Brian Toohey, who he previously worked with at PhRMA.
— It’s a significant step for the rapidly expanding company, which has been fending off U.S. and international regulators concerned about its acquisition of biotech company Grail and now finds itself in a proxy battle with activist investor Carl Icahn, who urged Illumina to divest it. Illumina spent about $6 million on lobbying the federal government last year, nearly double the $3.3 million it spent on advocacy in 2021.
— Samantha Budde has been promoted to senior communications and PR manager at Jenner & Block.
— Jonathan Levin is now press secretary and digital director for Rep. Sheila Cherfilus-McCormick (D-Fla.). He previously was a senior comms associate at Marathon Strategies.
— Nicole Flotteron is now director of external communications at Shopify. She previously was a partner at Actum LLC.
Maine Illinois Victory Fund (Sen. Angus King, Prairie Political Action Committee)
1907 PAC (Super PAC)
MOVEABLE MIDDLE PAC (Super PAC)
Nebraska Parents PAC (PAC)
RESOLUTE REPUBLIC (Hybrid PAC)
Alston & Bird LLP: Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Inc.
Ballard Partners: Simon Morris
Bluestone Strategies, LLC: Evolve Foundation International
Clean Cloud And Weather Action Corporation: Clean Cloud And Weather Action Corporation
Fierce Government Relations: American Homes 4 Rent, Lp
Fierce Government Relations: Ihrsa – The Global Health And Fitness Association
Fti Government Affairs: Bascom Hunter Technologies
Fti Government Affairs: Spaceflight Inc.
Fti Government Affairs: Westmoreland Mining LLC
K&L Gates, LLP: Engine No. 1 Lp
Manatt, Phelps, And Phillips: Calvary Hospital
Manatt, Phelps, And Phillips: Mohawk Valley Health System
Natural Resource Results LLC: American Rivers, Inc.
Natural Resource Results LLC: Pano Ai, Inc.
Nexxus Consulting, LLC: Children’s Museum Tucson
Smith Dawson & Andrews: Cornerstone Government Affairs Obo Maravai Lifesciences
West Front Strategies LLC: The Chicago School Of Professional Psychology
Forbes-Tate: Prometheus Fuels
K&L Gates, LLP: Animal Wellness Action
K&L Gates, LLP: Global Alliance For Cannabis Commerce
K&L Gates, LLP: The World Dog Alliance Limited
Tai Ginsberg & Associates, LLC: Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney Pc Obo California Intercity Rail Corridors – Circle
Tai Ginsberg & Associates, LLC: Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney Pc On Behalf Of San Joaquin Joint Powers Authority
Tai Ginsberg & Associates, LLC: Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney Pc On Behalf Of San Joaquin Regional Rail Commission
Vitello Consulting: Elderberg Foundation