February 27, 2021

Business Roundtable backs a price on carbon

With Daniel Lippman

BUSINESS ROUNDTABLE ENDORSES A ‘PRICE ON CARBON’: The Business Roundtable, one of Washington’s top trade groups, announced this morning that it will back efforts to fight climate change that include a “price on carbon.” The trade group didn’t endorse any particular legislation, but the announcement is the latest signal that much of corporate America might prefer a seat at the table the next time Washington takes up a climate bill to trying to kill it outright. (The House passed a cap-and-trade bill in 2009 that failed to make it through the Senate.)

Business Roundtable urged policymakers to “ensure that U.S. companies are not at a disadvantage from carbon pricing policies that may be implemented abroad” as part of any effort to reduce emissions. It also urged Washington to commit to “at least a doubling of federal funding” for research and development of technologies to reduce greenhouse gases.

— The trade group is a major lobbying spender in Washington, shelling out nearly $7.9 million on lobbying in the first half of the year, according to disclosure filings. “Among the Roundtable’s dozens of members are the heads of companies that are major carbon dioxide emitters, including Nick Akins of utility giant American Electric Power, Lynn Good of Duke Energy, Chevron CEO and Chairman Mike Wirth, ConocoPhillips chief Ryan Lance, and ExxonMobil boss Darren Woods,” POLITICO’s Zack Colman, who first reported the move on Tuesday night, noted. “The head of Wall Street giants Bank of America, Citigroup, JPMorgan Chase, Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs are also members.”

Good afternoon, and welcome to PI. Tips: [email protected]. Twitter: @theodoricmeyer.

LAW AND LOBBYING FIRMS REVERSE PAY CUTS: Squire Patton Boggs was perhaps the highest-profile Washington law-and-lobbying firm to cut its employees’ pay this spring in response to the pandemic, as the market for legal work suffered even as many lobbyists were busier than ever. Now the firm is reversing at least some of the cuts. Associates and those who make less than $75,000 a year will see their pay return to pre-pandemic levels; non-partners who make $75,000 or more will see half their pay cuts restored. The firm will also consider additional discretionary bonuses for those who performed at extraordinary levels during the period of compensation reduction,” the firm said in a statement.

— Other law and lobbying firms that implemented pay cuts have also started rolling them back. Given “the Firm’s performance to date and looking ahead as best we can through a hazy crystal ball, we have decided that we will relax the Covid-related salary reductions starting in September,” K&L Gates wrote in a note to staffers last month. And Venable announced earlier this month “that the firm will restore salaries fully for some and bring higher earners to a level that is 10% below their pre-reduction base,” Brendan McCormick, a spokesperson for the firm, wrote in an email to PI.

FLYING IN (VIRTUALLY): Trade groups continue to fly in — virtually, of course — to catch lawmakers before they leave town again in a few weeks. Sens. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) and Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) addressed members of the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States on Tuesday, and distillers are set to meet with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell; Sens. Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.) and Martha McSally (R-Ariz.); and Reps. John Yarmuth (D-Ky.) and Mike Kelly (R-Pa.) today. They’re pushing to make a tax break for craft distillers included in the 2017 tax bill permanent before it expires.

— The National Pork Producers Council is also meeting with lawmakers. One of its top priorities: securing funding to keep foreign animal diseases such as African swine fever out of the country. “U.S. pork producers are already suffering considerable losses due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, and cannot afford another catastrophic blow should African swine fever (ASF) or other foreign animal diseases enter our country,” Howard Roth, the trade group’s president, said in a statement. They’ll hear from Reps. Collin Peterson (D-Minn.), Ron Kind (D-Wis.), David Rouzer (R-N.C.) and Burke Healey of the Agriculture Department, according to the trade group. And the Alzheimer’s Association, March of Dimes, the Michael J. Fox Foundation and Stand Up to Cancer will meet with lawmakers on Thursday as part of their annual Rally for Medical Research.

MERCURY HELPED ORGANIZE KANYE WEST’S CAMPAIGN: One of the consulting firms that helped get Kanye West’s presidential campaign off the ground: Mercury. The New York TimesDanny Hakim and Maggie Haberman report that “the firm was dismissed last month and was reluctant to discuss the matter. ‘Our role was limited to helping the campaign get started up, primarily by helping to recruit a ballot access team and launch that effort,’ said Michael McKeon, a partner at Mercury. ‘For a short time, we served as a liaison between the campaign and the team until they established independent relationships. That happened weeks ago, ending our involvement.’”

— “Mr. McKeon would not say why Mercury was not included in the companies that received disbursements in the West campaign’s recent filing to the Federal Election Commission, which showed that Mr. West had lent the campaign nearly $7 million.”

— The Independent Community Bankers of America has hired Bailey Yeager as director of marketing strategy and execution. She was previously director of member advocacy for the Society for Human Resource Management.

Don Itzkoff has started his own lobbying firm, Transport Strategies, per POLITICO’s Morning Transportation. Itzkoff was previously an in-house lobbyist for the train manufacturing company Wabtec, which he’ll continue to represent in his new role.

Jackson Morrill started today as president and chief executive of the American Wood Council. He was previously president of the Composite Panel Association. He succeeds Robert Glowinski, who’s retiring.

Trone Victory Fund (Rep. David Trone, Montgomery County Democratic Central Committee)

BlackMenVoting.com (Super PAC)
Ghana Diaspora Political Action Committee (PAC)
Great Plains PAC (Leadership PAC: Tracey Mann)
Women for a More Christian America (Super PAC)

Ferox Strategies: Enhanced Compliance Solutions, Inc.
Hanka Advisor LLC: City of Sterling Heights
Ricchetti Incorporated: Applied Materials, Inc.
Ricchetti Incorporated: GSK
Ricchetti Incorporated: Horizon Pharma, Inc.

Becker Poliakoff PA: Titan Solutions Group LLC
Patriots Group: Patriots Group
The Petrizzo Group, Inc.: Juvare

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