Former Sinema aide will lobby for travel groups seeking pandemic relief

With Daniel Lippman

NEW BUSINESS: A trio of travel industry groups have signed a team of lobbyists at Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck, including a former aide to Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.), to lobby for Covid relief ahead of Congress’ end-of-year sprint. The issue is sure to take on new urgency with the reinstatement of international travel restrictions in a race to stem the spread of the Omicron variant of the virus.

— Brownstein’s Kate Gonzales, William McGrath, Brian Wild and David Reid will lobby for the Student & Youth Travel Association, which represents the student travel industry; the International Inbound Travel Association, which promotes international inbound travel to the U.S.; and the American Society of Travel Advisors, which represents travel agents, according to disclosure filings. Gonzales worked for Sinema — a crucial swing vote for Senate Democrats this year — for half a decade before leaving the Hill this spring.

— ASTA is one of several industries pushing to resurrect the Covid-era employee-retention tax credit, which was cut off three months earlier than planned as a part of the bipartisan infrastructure bill. In an alert on the trade association’s website this month, the organization called the expiration of the tax credit “of greatest concern,” and urged advocates to reach out to senators about including one more quarter of the program in Democrats’ $1.7 trillion reconciliation package. “With the House version of this bill largely complete, our focus is on the Senate – which has the power to fix this issue in the next few weeks,” the group said.

— The Student & Youth Travel Association and International Inbound Travel Association are pushing for other forms of relief for their industries — namely legislation that would make travel businesses eligible for a grant program established to help live entertainment venues like concert halls, theaters and museums weather the pandemic.

COINBASE ADDS ANOTHER: The cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase added its seventh outside lobbying firm of 2021 last month, according to newly filed lobbying disclosures, hiring Marcus Mason and Ayshia Connors of The Madison Group to lobby on issues relating to crypto, fintech and digital assets.

— Since the beginning of the year, Coinbase has hired WilmerHale, Rich Feuer Anderson, Steptoe & Johnson, Mayer Brown and Tiger Hill Partners. Coinbase also retains Franklin Square Group, and its in-house lobbyists conducted reportable activities for the first time since 2016 as regulators ramped up scrutiny of the fast-growing financial sector.

Good afternoon and welcome to PI. What’s popping out there? Let me know: [email protected]. And be sure to follow me on Twitter: @caitlinoprysko.

CLOGGING THE PIPELINE: President Joe Biden’s decision to waive sanctions on the Nord Stream 2 pipeline’s parent company, allowing the Russian-built pipeline to move forward, “not only kicked off the Republican-led blockade of President Biden’s foreign-policy nominees — now it’s imperiling passage of the annual defense policy bill,” POLITICO’s Andrew Desiderio and Connor O’Brien report.

— Lawmakers are digging in their heels in an attempt to force the administration to implement sanctions on the Russia-to-Germany natural gas line, an effort that comes despite the fact that a corporate entity overseeing the pipeline spent heavily to lobby lawmakers on the issue. The sanctions waiver was a coup for Nord Stream 2 AG, which this year has paid more than $2.5 million in total to dispatch one Democratic lobbyist — Vincent Roberti of Roberti Global — and one Republican lobbyist — Walker Roberts of BGR Government Affairs — to lobby Congress on the issue, according to lobbying disclosures.

— In all, Nord Stream 2 AG, which is run by a top ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin, has spent more than $11.6 million on Washington lobbying since 2017 in an effort to block sanctions on the project — much of which has gone to Roberti Global and BGR. The project is moving forward over the objections of Ukraine and at the behest of Germany, which is also pressing lawmakers not to slap more sanctions on the pipeline.

HOW HYDROGEN SCORED WINS IN INFRASTRUCTURE PACKAGES: “The hydrogen fuel industry has scored some key policy victories in recent months as it works to make itself part of the clean energy conversation being prioritized by President Biden and congressional Democrats,” E&E News’ Timothy Cama reports.

— The wins include prioritizing research and development at the Department of Energy, production and transportation boost in the bipartisan infrastructure bill, and a potential new tax credit in Democrats’ reconciliation bill. They’ve “come after a lobbying blitz from new coalitions that have been promoting hydrogen as a clean fuel, despite criticisms from some climate change activists and Democrats who label the effort as an attempt by the fossil fuel industry to expand its reach, to the detriment of the climate and public health.”

— “One of the new lobbying efforts to promote hydrogen is the Clean Hydrogen Future Coalition, launched in March” and backed by companies including Chevron, BP, Williams Cos. Inc., Southern Co., Nikola Corp. and the American Gas Association. Shannon Angielski, the group’s president and a principal at the lobbying firm Van Ness Feldman, said the coalition, is “‘agnostic’ about how hydrogen is produced, but also strives to make hydrogen cleaner, including cleaning up the electricity grid and encouraging carbon capture in the production process.”

— “Another new player in hydrogen lobbying is the Zero Carbon Hydrogen Coalition. The lobbying firm Thorn Run Partners registered to lobby for the group, which it describes as an ‘informal’ coalition, in April, and has spent $120,000 on advocacy.” Another group, the Green Hydrogen Coalition, launched in 2019, and focuses on hydrogen that’s produced without greenhouse gas emissions.

HEAD OF META’S CRYPTO PROJECT LEAVING COMPANY: David Marcus, the leader of Meta’s financial technology unit, Novi, will leave his role after seven years with the company,” Protocol’s Nat Rubio-Licht reports. “Stephane Kasriel, a longtime associate of Marcus and former CEO of Upwork who joined Meta in August 2020 as VP of Product for Novi, will take over the position” when Marcus leaves at the end of the year. She previously worked for Marcus at the mobile payments startup Zong.

— Marcus formed a team at what was then Facebook back in 2018 “to explore blockchain technologies,” which “later expanded to embrace all of Facebook’s payment systems in a unit called Facebook Financial. In October, Marcus helped debut Novi, Meta’s cryptocurrency wallet, which also became the new name for Facebook Financial.” Novi’s launch did not include the Facebook-developed stablecoin Diem, which drew scrutiny from regulators in the U.S. and abroad in its initial iteration known as Libra. Diem is now overseen by an independent association.

Nick Bush is joining Calfee, Halter & Griswold LLP as a principal in its federal government relations and policy practice group. He was most recently chief of staff to former Rep. Steve Stivers (R-Ohio).

Ben Branch is joining the International Franchise Association as vice president of government relations. He was most recently a principal at Commonwealth Strategies, and is a Juul, Rep. Gregory Meeks (D-N.Y.) and Albert Wynn alum.

— Retired Army Major Gen. Paul Pardew and Col. Bradley Boyd are joining The Roosevelt Group as senior advisers. Pardew most recently was commander of Army contracting command. Boyd is currently a visiting fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University and is a DoD and Sen. Angus King (I-Maine) alum.

Keir Lamont has joined the Future of Privacy Forum as senior counsel for U.S. legislation. He was most recently a policy counsel at the Computer & Communications Industry Association.

Angelo Villagomez is joining the Center for American Progress’ Energy and Environment Department as a senior fellow, where he will focus on Indigenous-led conservation efforts and ocean conservation. Villagomez comes from The Pew Charitable Trusts.

Adam Elias is now senior vice president of federal government affairs at Bank of America. He previously was director and head of government affairs at Barclays.

Jonathan Lamy is now senior vice president of public affairs and policy at Live Nation. He was previously executive vice president of communications at RIAA.

Sarah-Lloyd Stevenson is now a senior manager and telehealth policy lead on Amazon’s public policy Americas team. She previously was a director at Faegre Drinker Consulting, and is a White House, HHS and a Sen. Roger Wicker (R-Miss.) alum.

Tejasi Thatte has joined NBCUniversal’s federal government affairs team. She was previously chief of staff to Rep. Tony Cárdenas (D-Calif.) and a lobbyist for NCTA — The Internet & Television Association.

Aspasia Paroutsas is joining Qualcomm as vice president for federal regulatory affairs. She was previously chief of staff in the FCC Office of Engineering and Technology and a spectrum adviser at Amazon Kuiper.

Jared Golden Victory Fund (Rep. Jared Golden, Maine Democratic Party)

Missouri Voices PAC (Super PAC)
The Ninth Amendment Super PAC (PAC)
Police Assistance Foundation PAC (Super PAC)
Tennessee Eagle PAC (Leadership PAC: Sen. Bill Hagerty)
The Veterans Foundation (Super PAC)

Ajw, Inc.: Air Products And Chemicals, Inc.
Bgr Government Affairs: Snap Inc.
Bluewater Strategies: Kinectrics Aes Inc.
Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck, LLP: American Society Of Travel Advisors
Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck, LLP: International Inbound Travel Association
Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck, LLP: Monogram Health
Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck, LLP: Student & Youth Travel Association
Ice Miller Strategies LLC: Celo Foundation
Liebman & Associates, Inc.: Energetico, Inc.
Michael Torrey Associates, LLC: Pivot Bio
Schertz Strategies, LLC: The Texas A&M University System
Smith Dawson & Andrews: 6K, Inc.
Smith Dawson & Andrews: Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (Septa)
The Madison Group: Coinbase, Inc.
Thorn Run Partners: Amylyx
Thorn Run Partners: Black Women’S Health Imperative
Tom Bradley Health Policy LLC: Capitol Counsel LLC On Behalf Of California Dental Association
Watkins & Eager Pllc: City Of Clinton

Forbes-Tate: National Hockey League

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