Remember the tariffs? – POLITICO
With David Beavers and Garrett Ross
REMEMBER THE TARIFFS? Trade groups have more questions about the forthcoming tariffs for Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross. In a letter sent today, Jim McGreevy of the Beer Institute, Susan Neely of the American Beverage Association, Bob Pease of the Brewers Association and Robert Budway of the Can Manufacturers Association requested that their industries be excluded from the Trump administration’s forthcoming 10 percent tariff on aluminum imports. The trade group leaders asked Ross to clarify “who is the best party to file for exclusion- industries, or industry representatives, such as trade associations” and the timeline for exclusions, among other questions. In addition, the trade groups voiced concern that the tariff could cause spikes in the Midwest Premium Price for aluminum and asked the Commerce Department for clarification on how it plans to ensure that “stockpiled aluminum isn’t subject to the new tariffs.”
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— Farmers are also not pleased with the tariffs. POLITICO’s Adam Behsudi reported this morning that Farmers for Free Trade, an advocacy group formed by several agriculture industry groups, sponsored a half-million-dollar ad-buy to protest the tariffs. “The advertisement, which starts Wednesday and runs through the month, will air during Fox and Friends, Lou Dobbs and Morning Joe — some of Trump’s favorite shows for distilling the day’s news, said one source familiar with the planning of the campaign,” Behsudi writes. “U.S. farmers hope to make the case that foreign retaliation to Trump’s tariffs on steel and aluminum and other pending trade restrictions will have a potentially devastating impact on their exports, if China and other trading powers decide to ratchet up tariffs on soybeans, wheat and other farm goods.” Full story.
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AHEAD OF THE FILINGS: CASSIDY SIGNS EIGHT: Cassidy & Associates has eight new clients. The firm will lobby for Airpac Enterprises on U.S. Special Operations Command small arms issues; for the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium on “appropriations related to interior, environment and related agencies;” for New York Cruise Lines and for Port Imperial Ferry Corporation on the “national park visitor experience;” for SA Photonics to “secure appropriations for photonics based research; for Teck Resources on “legislation impacting the mining industry;” for Texas Central Partners LLC on “department of army permits” and issues related to rail and transportation; and for Resource Environmental Issues on work related to the Army Corps of Engineers.
— In other registration news, Insight Public Affairs signed Airbnb to work on tourism and sharing economy issues, and Ghazal & Associates signed Intuit to “monitor issues in Congress related to tax, financial services and technology development.”
IN MEMORIAM: Chuck Campion, co-founder of the public affairs firm Dewey Square Group and a Democratic campaign veteran, passed away last week at the age of 62, according to his partners. Originally from West Roxbury, Mass., Campion got his professional start in politics while working for Michael Dukakis, when he was governor of Massachusetts. After working for Dukakis, Campion worked for the Carter administration, under which he was special assistant to Vice President Walter Mondale. He proceeded to work on Mondale’s 1984 presidential campaign and as political director for Dukakis’ 1988 presidential campaign. He subsequently worked on Al Gore’s 2000 campaign and John Kerry’s 2004 campaigns in Michigan and Hillary Clinton’s 2008 primary campaign in New Hampshire. He was also an informal advisor to Clinton’s 2016 campaign.
— It was through Democratic politics that Campion met Charlie Baker and Michael Whouley, with whom he co-founded Dewey Square Group in 1993. In an interview with PI, Whouley recalled that when they began the firm, Campion said, “We may not make a lot of money, but we’re going to have a lot of fun.” Whouley described Campion as a strategist who “inspired people to do their best.” “Even if you’d only met him for a minute, people felt he was genuinely interested in what you had to say,” he said. “That was really his secret in motivating people to work hard and work well.” Baker recalled that among Campion’s specialties was working on complicated development projects in Massachusetts. Baker and Whouley praised Campion for his role providing advice to Democratic politicians, ranging from Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) to Rep. Joe Kennedy (D-Mass.) “When we started this business, political operatives weren’t celebrities and on purpose Chuck kept a low profile,” Baker said. “It was all about lifting people up and mentoring people.”
— Campion’s funeral will be held Wednesday at St. Cecilia Church in Boston. Former Secretary of State John Kerry will deliver the eulogy and Markey will do a reading. Jim Johnson will deliver remarks on behalf of Mondale.
ON QUALCOMM: The Trump administration’s decision to block a bid from Asian chip manufacturer Broadcom to take over its U.S. rival Qualcomm was a big win for Qualcomm lobbyists and could inform future lobbying strategies in the telecommunications world. Ken Spain, partner at CGCN Group, told PI that the decision comes at a time when Congress is looking to make changes to the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States’ process. (CFIUS reviewed the Broadcom bid.) “For global companies headquartered in the U.S., navigating the politics around this will require sophisticated and nuanced public affairs and lobbying efforts that not only appeal to traditional Republican constituencies of free market conservatives and national security hawks, but also the emerging anti-China populist wing of the party that has dominated the debate on free trade,” he said. Stewart Verdery, founder of Monument Policy Group, told PI that “while this transaction had a few unique aspects that might not be replicated, the CFIUS action is a forceful reminder that this administration is likely to err on the side of national security concerns and not defer to corporate promises of good behavior.” For more background on the decision, read POLITICO’s Steven Overly‘s full story.
THE CLEARING HOUSE AND FINANCIAL SERVICES ROUNDTABLE MERGE: “Two major bank trade groups — The Clearing House and the Financial Services Roundtable — announced … that they will merge under a new name,” POLITICO’s Victoria Guida reports. “The new group will be led by The Clearing House President Greg Baer, a former bank official who has helped raise the profile of his trade association as an influential thought-leadership outfit. TCH and FSR represent many of the same large regional and global systemically important banks, but the former mostly produces detailed research designed to influence regulators. The merger will mean a greater presence on Capitol Hill, as well as the absorption of FSR’s political action committee, according to a person familiar with the matter.” Full story.
FORMER HATCH STAFFER STARTS HIS OWN FIRM: Alex Dahl, who was previously a shareholder at Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck, has started his own firm, Strategic Policy Counsel. His new firm will focus on legal reform, health care and anti-trust issues. In his new role, Dahl will continue his work with Lawyers for Civil Justice. In an email to PI, Dahl said his “approach to legal and liability issues includes not only the relationships expected of an experienced lobbyist, but also the substantive knowledge gained as a Senate Judiciary Committee staffer, civil litigator and criminal prosecutor.” Prior to joining Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck, Dahl was an assistant U.S. attorney in the U.S. attorney’s office for the District of Columbia and worked for Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) on the Senate Judiciary Committee, where he was deputy staff director and senior counsel.
BUSINESS GROUPS PUSH FOR TAX EXTENDERS IN OMNIBUS: “More than 60 business associations are urging congressional leaders and tax writers to extend numerous short-term tax incentives at least through 2018, citing the omnibus spending package as a possible vehicle,” POLITICO’s Toby Eckert reports. “The groups — including energy, construction, transportation and agricultural interests — said in a letter to the lawmakers that uncertainty about the provisions is ‘hindering the creation of jobs and economic growth in the private sector.’ Congress revived the roughly three dozen tax breaks as part of its recent budget agreement, but only retroactively for 2017. ‘Extending these provisions through 2018 helps avoid these negative outcomes, and does so in a way that does not preclude Congress from reviewing the efficacy of expiring tax provisions during the 2nd Session of the 115th Congress,’ said the letter, dated Monday.” Full story.