Gotham hires former congressman – POLITICO
With David Beavers and Garrett Ross
GOTHAM HIRES FORMER CONGRESSMAN: Gotham Government Relations and Communications, the New York lobbying firm that once counted President Donald Trump as a client, is bringing on former Rep. Gary Ackerman (D-N.Y.) as a partner. The hire gives Gotham, which opened a Washington office after Trump’s victory, someone with deep experience in Washington. Ackerman retired in 2013 after nearly three decades in Congress, where he was known for the white carnation boutonniere he wore every day and the houseboat, dubbed “Unsinkable II,” he lived on while in Washington.
Story Continued Below
— Ackerman isn’t the first former Democratic congressman to sign on with a firm that has ties to Trump; Ballard Partners, which lobbied Trump in Florida and also opened a Washington office after the election, last year hired former Rep. Robert Wexler (D-Fla.). But Ackerman doesn’t plan to do work that would require him to register to lobby, according to Brad Gerstman, a Gotham partner. Ackerman “is a household name in the world of policy making and advocacy,” Gerstman said in a statement. “He brings to the table a wealth of knowledge in international and domestic affairs.”
— Gotham also hired Shai Franklin, a consultant who previously worked for Grieboski Jolly Caraway. (One of the partners in that firm, Stuart Jolly, served as national field director for Trump’s campaign and lobbied for SPG, another firm with Trump administration connections, after the election.) He’ll be working with Gotham’s current clients and helping to bring new foreign business to the firm. David Schwartz, another Gotham partner, said in a statement that the firm’s “associates will learn about lobbying at the highest levels of international government” from Franklin.
PRIZE UPDATE: We told you Thursday that we would award a prize to whoever could tell us which members hit up Tuesday’s parties hosted by the National Association of Broadcasters and Mylan. The answer: Reps. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) and Karen Handel (R-Ga.). (We realize the question was a little silly.) Stewart Verdery of Monument Policy Group was the first to guess the right answer. As a prize, we allowed him one trivia question to ask PI readers. Here it is: “Fred Goldman, the father of O.J. Simpson victim Ron Goldman, lobbied Congress in the late 1990s to pass what law?” Special shout-out in Monday’s PI to the first person who gets it right.
ACCENTURE HIRES ROBERT HOFFMAN FOR GOVERNMENT RELATIONS IN NORTH AMERICA: Robert Hoffman will lead Accenture’s government relations in North America starting next week. In an interview with PI, Hoffman said that in his new role he plans to make sure the “operation fully aligns with Accenture’s business objectives “and will look at “public policies that are either on the table or that need to developed that can help companies unleash innovation and advance technology to improve corporate effectiveness.” Hoffman said that while his main areas of focus have yet to be determined, he noted that among the issues he will likely focus on are cybersecurity policies, including those around information sharing and security standards. “Cybersecurity is obviously a very important issue that is critical not just to our economic security but to our national security,” he said. Hoffman comes to Accenture from Invariant, where he was head of the firm’s technology practice. He said that his work at Invariant involved advising multiple clients, while moving to Accenture “provides an opportunity to focus on a core set of policy objectives that will advance that company’s cometitiviesess ad innovation and potential as well as their customers.”
— Heather Podesta, founder of Invariant, praised Hoffman in a statement. “Robert was part of a tech advocacy team that has become Invariant’s largest and fastest growing client practice, with innovative companies from the hardware, software, and services industries,” she said. “Our clients will continue to be well served by our strong bipartisan team of skilled professionals who have a track record of results.” Prior to working at Invariant, Hoffman also worked at Motorola Solutions, the Information Technology Industry Council, Cognizant Technology Solutions and Oracle.
TRADE ASSOCIATIONS GEAR UP FOR MORE LOBBYING ON TARIFFS: Many business trade groups are gearing up to lobby against the Trump administration’s tariffs on aluminum and steel imports. In case you missed it (which you probably didn’t), President Donald Trump announced Thursday that his administration would finalize next week a 25 percent tariff on steel imports and a 10 percent tariff on aluminum. In an interview with PI, Kimberly Korbel, executive director of the American Wire Producers Association, said that the group put out an action alert to its members urging them to contact their representatives and ask that they reach out to anyone at the White House with whom they may have influence. In addition, Korbel said the group is urging members to tell its employees to send letters to the White House opposing the tariffs. Last month, the trade group, along with the American Gear Manufacturers Association, the Can Manufacturers Institute, the Fabricators and Manufacturers Association, International, the Forging Industry Association, the Industrial Fasteners Institute and others, sent a letterto Trump urging him not to impose the tariffs. They’re not alone. The National Retail Federation’s CEO and president, Matthew Shay, said in a statement that the tariffs were a “tax on American families.” The Beer Institute’s president and CEO, Jim McGreevy, also blasted the move and urged the Department of Commerce “to exclude imported aluminum and cansheet used to make beer cans from these tariffs so as not to unnecessarily increase costs on American businesses and put jobs at risk “
— Lobbying efforts against the tariffs are still taking shape, but we’re hearing that trade groups will continue to meet with House and Senate leadership, as well as top lawmakers on the Senate Finance Committee and House Ways and Means Committee. Omar Nashashibi, a partner at the Franklin Partnership, told PI that “at this point, the shock is really kicking in with a lot of members, [and] a lot of trade associations around town.” He said that the “next step” is for the “steel user and aluminum user side …to really start education, not just members of Congress” but also the administration.
— But not everyone is upset. The tariffs were a big win for U.S. steel and aluminum manufacturers. Thomas Gibson, president and CEO of the American Iron and Steel Institute, thanked Trump in a statement. Labor groups, including the United Steelworkers and the AFL-CIO, also hailed the decision.