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Former House Ag chair lobbying on cattle market bills- POLITICO

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With help from Daniel Lippman

PETERSON REGISTERS TO LOBBY: As lawmakers prepared over the past month to advance a series of bills to address consolidation and improve transparency in U.S. meat markets, they may have encountered a familiar face in opposition. Former House Agriculture Chair Collin Peterson has registered to lobby for the first time since leaving Congress, according to lobbying disclosures filed late last week.

— According to the disclosures Peterson, who lost reelection in 2020 after more than 30 years in the House, was retained on May 23 by the ​Texas Cattle Feeders Association and the Kansas Livestock Association to lobby on issues relating to federal cattle markets and regulations. Peterson’s former chief of staff, Allison Stock, and his son Elliott Peterson are also lobbying on the account.

— The Senate Agriculture Committee on Wednesday approved two bills aimed at battling consolidation in the cattle industry, one of which has divided the industry and initially sparked infighting among Republicans on the panel as it was being drafted earlier this year.

— The Cattle Price Discovery and Transparency Act “would split the country into five to seven sectors and mandate a minimum level of cattle purchases through approved pricing mechanisms, mainly in the cash trade market, as well as create a nationwide cattle contract library. It seeks to ensure transparency in cattle pricing and cut down on contract sales that proponents say squeeze farmers,” Morning Ag reports. The other bill would create a new office in the USDA to investigate complaints of anticompetitive behavior in the livestock industry.

— The industry has mobilized against the Cattle Price Discovery and Transparency Act’s purchase mandates. Last week, staff from the Kansas Livestock Association traveled to Washington, where the group said it “made clear” to Kansas lawmakers “that cattle producers should be free to determine how best to market their cattle. Members of Congress were asked to oppose proposals that would mandate fed cattle marketing methods.”

— Days earlier, Peterson penned an op-ed for the trade publication Agri-Pulse making a similar argument against the purchase mandates. As well-intentioned as the legislation is, he wrote, “a fix to mandate how cattle must be bought and sold not only won’t solve the issue but would instead make things worse.” He said the proposal amounted to Congress “picking winners and losers based on regional marketing preferences,” and he pushed instead for expanding beef processing capacity.

— Ethics rules barred Peterson from lobbying his former colleagues on the Hill for a year after leaving office. And though it’s the first time Peterson has formally registered to lobby, the former Ag chair has settled into the influence world since leaving office. Last spring, Peterson struck up a strategic consulting partnership with the agriculture lobbying firm Combest, Sell & Associates. He and several other red state Democrats were vocal critics of calls to eliminate a tax loophole targeting the so-called step-up basis, or the ability of the rich to pass assets on to heirs tax-free.

— They argued doing so would crush family farmers, and even before the reconciliation package fell apart this winter the provision was left out of House tax writers’ opening bid. The trade publication Pro Farmer named Peterson a co-ag person of the year and credited him with getting “the ball rolling” on discussions to head off what the publication called “by far the biggest policy threat to ag.”

Good afternoon and welcome to PI. What’s going on out there that is not related to the (incorrect!) decision announced today by a certain teenaged descendant of a certain football dynasty who shall not be named? Let me know: [email protected]. And be sure to follow me on Twitter: @caitlinoprysko.

GUN RIGHTS CASE PROMPTS SPLIT AT LAW FIRM: “Two of the lawyers responsible for a major victory for gun rights forces at the Supreme Court on Thursday are parting with their prominent law firm after it announced it would no longer handle Second Amendment litigation,” our Josh Gerstein reports.

— “Former Solicitor General Paul Clement and Erin Murphy, a regular Supreme Court litigator, said they were launching their own firm after Chicago-based Kirkland & Ellis decided to step back from gun-related litigation.”

— “‘We were given a stark choice: either withdraw from ongoing representations or withdraw from the firm,” Clement said in a statement. ‘Anyone who knows us and our views regarding professional responsibility and client loyalty knows there was only one course open to us: We could not abandon ongoing representations just because a client’s position is unpopular in some circles.’ Through a firm spokesperson, Kirkland confirmed its decision but did not explain its rationale for dropping gun cases.”

THE CALL IS COMING FROM INSIDE THE HOUSE: “Tech groups and their allies are spending huge amounts on TV and digital ads in an all-out war against Sen. Amy Klobuchar’s tech antitrust bill. The flood of money isn’t surprising, but the Washington players helping them spend it are. Silicon Valley is relying on many of the same firms that helped elect lawmakers to influence those same politicians,” Protocol’s Ben Brody writes.

— “This collision of capitalism and the Capitol raises questions about whose interests the consultants are serving when the goals of their political clients diverge from those of lucrative corporate accounts.”

— “According to a Protocol review of public spending disclosures, the Computer & Communications Industry Association, a Big Tech trade group that has reportedly spent more than $23 million trying to sink Klobuchar’s bill and similar efforts, has worked with Democratic ad-makers to place many of those TV spots,” while other Democratic firms like SKDK have worked for Amazon and worked on other tech-fronted initiatives.

— Brody notes, though, that “with Democrats in power, it’s natural to scrutinize the firms that cater to them. But the relationships with Big Tech are ubiquitous on the right, too. Targeted Victory, the GOP answer to the Democrats’ early-2010s digital advantages, helped place op-eds on behalf of Meta that portrayed its rival TikTok in a negative light, according to a Washington Post report earlier this year. And NetChoice, the Big Tech lobbying association that works primarily to court conservatives and push back on tech-skeptical Republicans, has worked with the Trump-allied communications firm Nahigian Strategies.”

— “For now, though, the companies’ relationships with Republicans don’t help them with the party in control of Congress and the White House. … Democrats are expected to suffer losses in Congress in the midterm elections, however, and the GOP is beginning to outline its own anti-tech agenda. Soon enough, the Democratic firms may have to make do with less corporate work and more campaigns.”

PROGRESSIVE STRATEGISTS REVOLT OVER CARUSO WORK: “One of the country’s leading progressive digital firms has been embroiled for months in internal staff turmoil over the work it’s done on behalf of Los Angeles mayoral contender Rick Caruso,” POLITICO’s Hailey Fuchs reports, just the latest instance in which progressive staffers have clashed with their bosses over their organization’s broader mission.

— “At least two employees at the firm, Aisle 518 Strategies, have left, in part because of its association with the billionaire real estate developer who has bankrolled Republicans and backed anti-abortion politicians before deciding to run as a Democrat in the mayoral primary this year.”

— “Those former employees, who spoke to POLITICO on the condition of anonymity, said only a handful of those currently on the firm’s roughly 20-person staff are willing to work on the Caruso campaign account. ‘We’re all working for this kind of a company because we believe in those ideals, and for the CEO to take on a client that very much clearly goes against that goal is kind of like a slap in the face to all of the work that we do and to all of our other clients,’ said one of the employees who left.”

— “Despite the staff uproar, which began early this year, Aisle 518 Strategies has not dropped Caruso, with leadership noting to the staffers who complained that they have a roster of unimpeachable progressive clients as well. CEO Tim Tagaris, who built Sen. Bernie Sanders’ (I-Vt.) pioneering fundraising operations in 2016 before launching the firm, declined to comment specifically on the concerns raised by staff, including those who left.”

BARRACK LOSES BID TO DISMISS CASE: “A billionaire fundraiser for former U.S. President Donald Trump on Wednesday lost a bid to dismiss criminal charges he lobbied the U.S. government on behalf of the United Arab Emirates without disclosing his affiliation,” Reuters reports.

— “Thomas Barrack, the former head of investment management firm Colony Capital and chair of Trump’s inaugural committee, had pleaded not guilty to charges of illegal lobbying and lying to U.S. law enforcement, and faces a September trial. His lawyers had asked U.S. District Judge Brian Cogan in Brooklyn to dismiss the indictment, arguing prosecutors did not allege that Barrack owed a duty to or had a formal agreement with the UAE.”

— “But in a 55-page decision, Cogan said the relationship between Barrack and the UAE ‘need not rise to the level of a formalized employer-employee relationship’ to justify the charge. Last month, prosecutors unveiled new charges accusing Barrack of having sought investment from the UAE at the same time he was lobbying for the Gulf country.”

SPOTTED at the Women Who ROKK launch event hosted by ROKK Solutions at the Anheuser-Busch office, per a PI tipster: Melissa Ameluxen, David Caruolo and Teresa Skala of Anheuser-Busch; Megan Dekraker and Nick Paradiso of National Heritage Academies; Appu Esthose Suresh of Pixstory; Megan Whittemore of Corning Incorporated; Cori Kramer of Center Forward; Amy Andryszak of the Interstate Natural Gas Association of America and the INGAA Foundation; Lisa Singh of the Australia India Institute;  Jeff Ziarko of Economic Policy Strategies; Mike Layman of the International Franchise Association; Karly Matthews of the American Conservation Coalition; Julia Gustafson of the Council for Responsible Nutrition; Sydney Gallego of the National Association of Realtors; Grace Rodden of Gilead Sciences; Taylor Booth of Novartis; Courtney Temple of Meta; Maria Giannopoulos of Google; Susan Haney and Annie Starke of The Beer Institute; Anu Rangappa of Monumental Sports & Entertainment; Erica Pyatt of LinkedIn; Ann Marie Hauser of The Hudson Institute; Margaret Peterlin of George Mason University‘s National Security Institute; Jo Maney of BGR; and Ron Bonjean, Rodell Mollineau and Kristen Hawn of ROKK Solutions.

Julie Nickson is leaving her role as chief of staff to Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.) after more than two decades. She’s joining the American Cancer Society-Cancer Action Network.

Stuart Dwyer is joining the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation as vice president for strategic engagement. He most recently was acting chief of mission for the U.S. Embassy in Copenhagen.

Kelly Hitchcock has joined Invariant, working with financial services and tax clients. She most recently was at the Investment Company Institute, and is a Hill GOP alum.

Justin Backal Balik is joining Evergreen Action as state policy director. He previously oversaw state and local policy for the electric school bus initiative at World Resources Institute.

Anton Vuljaj has been promoted to be managing director for comms and marketing at Koch Industries.

Nora Rigby has joined Akerman’s consumer financial services, data and technology practice group as a partner. She most recently served as chief of staff and senior counsel at the CFPB.

TechNet has named Margaret Durkin executive director for Pennsylvania and the Mid-Atlantic region. She previously was a government relations specialist at the Bravo Group.

Illinois Nevada Victory Fund (Sens. Tammy Duckworth, Catherine Cortez Masto)
JOHNSON – VAN ORDEN (Sen. Ron Johnson, Van Orden for Congress)
KILEY CA VICTORY FUND (Kevin Kiley for Congress, Kiley Election Victory PAC, NRCC, California Republican Party)

Call to Service PAC (Leadership PAC: Zach Nunn)
Freedom Principle MO Missouri First PAC (PAC)
Together for Progress (Super PAC)

None.

Kevin Kayes LLC: Nextnav LLC
Liebman & Associates, Inc.: Chasm Advanced Materials, Inc.
Stonington Global: Timo Kipp





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