Old Trump friend signs first client

05/19/2017 02:37 PM EDT

Updated 05/19/2017 05:25 PM EDT

With David Beavers and Aubree Eliza Weaver

OLD TRUMP FRIEND SIGNS FIRST LOBBYING CLIENT: Albert J. Pirro Jr., a Westchester lawyer and an old friend of President Donald Trump’s, has signed his first federal lobbying client. He’ll lobby for the Greater New York Hospital Association on “Federal regulations regarding reimbursement of uncompensated medical care pursuant to Medicare,” according to a disclosure filing. (The filing was first spotted by LegiStorm.) Pirro — whose ex-wife, Fox News’ Judge Jeanine Pirro, interviewed Trump days ago — has a checkered past. He spent nearly a year in prison after being convicted of conspiracy and tax evasion in 2000. His firm, the Pirro Group, said he was out of the office and unavailable to comment.

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MEGUIRE WHITNEY ADDS TROTT AIDE: The lobbying firm Meguire Whitney has added Anna Lake Leieritz as a principal. She was previously legislative director for Rep. Dave Trott (R-Mich.) and will work on “infrastructure and resources issues, including hydropower, endangered species, and water,” according to Elizabeth Whitney, the firm’s managing principal.

LIEBERMAN’S LOBBYING PAST: Former Sen. Joe Lieberman of Connecticut is the front-runner to become the next FBI director. He’s also a former lobbyist for a Libyan businessman, as The Wall Street Journal’s Byron Tau (a PI alum) pointed out on Thursday. From the Nov. 27, 2013, edition of PI: “Lieberman will be working for Basit Igtet on a government relations contract. Igtet is a Libyan businessman and activist who is exploring a run for office in his native country. Lieberman’s firm Kasowitz Benson Torres & Friedman [the firm is now known as Kasowitz Benson Torres LLP] has signed a contract with Igtet that includes ‘government relations services, communication of information to the principal and as well as [communication of] information about the principal to interested persons in the public sector,’ according to public documents posted online this week.”

— Igtet, PI noted at the time, “rose to political prominence in 2010 with his efforts to foster a rebellion against then-Libyan President Muammar Gaddafi. He eventually served as a special envoy to the Libyan National Transitional Council.” Because everything ties back to Donald Trump in one way or another: Igtet’s wife, Sara Bronfman, an heiress to the Seagram’s liquor fortune, reportedly sued the Trump Organization in 2015 for allegedly being forced to pay for damage caused by a broken pipe.

Good afternoon, and welcome to PI. I’ll be on vacation next week, but you’ll be in the capable hands of Mary Lee. Please send tips to mlee@politico.com, or to PI’s editor, Emily Stephenson, at estephenson@politico.com. You can also follow them on Twitter: @maryjylee and @ewstephe.

HOW DETROIT IS BEATING ITS BLIGHT: Land banks are the Swiss Army knives of urban reclamation efforts, wielding an array of powers to make abandoned, tax-foreclosed properties useful again. In the latest installment of POLITICO Magazine’s “What Works” series, we visit the city of Detroit, which went from a robust city of 1.8 million in 1950 to barely a third of that size today. Learn how Mayor Mike Duggan’s administration created the largest land bank in the U.S., taking control of 98,000 properties to help his city rebound from bankruptcy and an unprecedented level of decline. Read more.

REPUBLICANS OUTSPENDING DEMOCRATS 4-TO-1 ON HEALTH CARE ADS: “For the first time in years, Democrats feel like they have the upper hand in the political battles over health care. But one aspect of the fight is the same as ever: Republicans still have a massive spending advantage on health care-related advertising,” POLITICO’s Scott Bland reports. “The Republican push has been led by American Action Network, the big-money GOP nonprofit aligned with House Speaker Paul Ryan. A new round of radio ads launched this week brought the group’s total spending on health care advocacy this year to $13.1 million, it announced Monday. That includes over $8 million on TV and radio advertising targeted toward House districts around the country, according to the group.”

— “By contrast, Save My Care and Patriot Majority USA — the two progressive nonprofit groups running health care issue ads in House districts — have spent less than $2 million on House TV and radio advertising targeting House Republicans, according to a Democratic source tracking media spending,” disheartening some Democratic strategists. Full story.

SENATORS SEEK LIFETIME LOBBYING BAN FOR FORMER MEMBERS: Sens. Cory Gardner (R-Colo.), Michael Bennet (D-Colo.) and Al Franken (D-Minn.) introduced legislation on Thursday that would ban former members of Congress for lobbying for life, ReutersRichard Cowan reports. “‘By banning members of Congress from lobbying when they leave Capitol Hill, we can begin to restore confidence in our national politics,’ Gardner said in a statement. Similar legislation has failed in the past.” Full story.

— Senators are currently banned from lobbying their former colleagues in either chamber for two years after retiring; representatives are banned from doing so for one year. But former members regularly join lobbying firms after leaving and refrain from lobbying Congress until the ban is up. (Former members are allowed to lobby the executive branch immediately.) Four former members who left office in January have headed to K Street so far: Sen. David Vitter (R-La.), who joined Mercury; Rep. Ander Crenshaw (R-Fla.), who’s at King & Spalding; Rep. Charles Boustany (R-La.), who joined Capitol Counsel; and Rep. Jeff Miller (R-Fla.), who landed at McDermott Will & Emery.

** A message from the National Confectioners Association – #AlwaysATreat: Leading global chocolate and candy companies are coming together to provide more information, options, and support as consumers enjoy their favorite treats. It’s the first step on our journey to help people manage their sugar intake and ensure that they feel empowered to make informed choices. Learn more at AlwaysATreat.com. **

BLACK CAUCUS WARNS K STREET ON LACK OF DIVERSITY: “The Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) is pressuring powerful K Street groups in Washington to diversify their workforces,” The Hill’s Megan Wilson reports. “In a letter to industry leaders sent Tuesday, the CBC wrote companies are not doing an adequate job of hiring minorities. They say there should be more African-Americans serving as high-level executives, lobbyists and members of corporate boards. … ‘It is clear corporate America has a long way to go on this front and you will be asked by members of the CBC for data on improvements in this area if you come to do business with our offices,’ [the letter] reads.” Full story.

THE KUSHNER TOUCH: As he tried to convince a Saudi delegation to buy an American-made radar system during a meeting earlier this month, “[Jared] Kushner picked up the phone and called Marillyn A. Hewson — the chief executive of Lockheed Martin, which makes the radar system — and asked her whether she could cut the price,” The New York TimesMark Landler, Eric Schmitt and Matt Apuzzo report. “As his guests watched slack-jawed, Ms. Hewson told him she would look into it, officials said. Mr. Kushner’s personal intervention in the arms sale is further evidence of the Trump White House’s readiness to dispense with custom in favor of informal, hands-on deal making.” Full story.

CONSERVATIVE GROUPS REJECT ‘BUY AMERICAN’ PROVISIONS: “A coalition of free market groups, including Americans for Tax Reform, is urging lawmakers to ensure that any infrastructure plan requires competitive bids for materials used in projects, contravening President Donald Trump‘s pledge to ‘Buy American,’” POLITICO’s Lauren Gardner reports. “By allowing for an open and competitive bidding process, project managers and engineers will be better able to evaluate different options and select materials for infrastructure projects that enhance performance, durability, and reduce costs to taxpayers,” Americans for Tax Reform, Americans for Prosperity and FreedomWorks wrote in an open letter to Congress on Thursday. Full story.


Jennie Derge-Massey has joined Amazon’s Washington office as a senior manager of public policy, working on labor and employment issues. She previously worked for Accenture.

Devin O’Malley started at the Justice Department’s public affairs office on Monday, according to an email announcing the move. He previously worked for i360.

SPOTTED: On the roof of Cassidy & Associates’ offices last night for the closing reception of Infrastructure Week: Reps. Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.), Don Young (R-Alaska) and Garret Graves (R-La.); Kai Anderson, Russ Thomasson, Charles Brittingham, Kaleb Froehlich and Jesse Barba of Cassidy & Associates; Alex Depompolo of Transportation for America; Chris Buki of Rep. Bill Shuster’s office; Ernie Jolly and Jordan Morris of Rep. Gregory Meeks’ office; Yvesner Zamar of Rep. John Conyers’ office; Sam Negatu of Rep. Matt Cartwright’s office; Sarah Pearce of Sen. Rob Portman’s office; Alex Schenck of Sen. Dan Sullivan’s office; and Bruce Newman of Rep. Don Young’s office.

— On another rooftop, this one belonging to Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough, which hosted a reception on Wednesday night: Sens. Jack Reed (D-R.I.), Tim Scott (R-S.C.) and Chris Murphy (D-Conn.); Reps. Richard Neal (D-Mass.), Jim Clyburn (D-S.C.), Joe Wilson (R-S.C.), Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.), Tom Rice (R-S.C.), Bill Keating (D-Mass.), Joe Kennedy (D-Mass.), Bill Pascrell (D-N.J.) and Mike Doyle (D-Pa.); Jack Cline of the University of Kansas; Aaron Lowe of the Auto Care Association; Jim Gordon of TransCanada; and Vincent Storimans of the Dutch Embassy.

— At the Hyatt Regency on Wednesday night, where the Women in Government Relations celebrated their 42nd anniversary: Reps. Martha McSally (R-Ariz.), Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii), Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Texas) and Brenda Lawrence (D-Mich.); Katie Schubert of CRD Associates, who serves as the president of Women in Government Relations; Kate Shenk of the Biotechnology Industry Organization; Suzanne Swink of BP; Mallika Vastare of the Furman Group; Kailee Tkacz of the Corn Refiners Association; Charla McManus of Winning Strategies Washington; and Jacki Ball of the National PTA.


— Twenty executives from the Large Public Power Council are flying in for meetings with lawmakers and administration officials including Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt on Monday and Tuesday, talking tax reform, infrastructure and cybersecurity.

— Former Rep. Tony Coelho (D-Calif.), a former DCCC chairman, House majority whip and longtime epilepsy research advocate, will celebrate his 75th birthday at Cohen & Gresser on June 5.


Blue Collar Victory Fund (Reps. Carlos Curbelo, Jeff Denham, John Katko, Steve Knight)
Golden Isle Committee 2017 (Reps. Bill Flores, Richard Hudson)


GForce (Leadership PAC: Greg Gianforte)
Voice Of Washington (Super PAC)





** A message from the National Confectioners Association – #AlwaysATreat: We’ve always created transparent, fun, and great-tasting treats. By 2022, Mars, Wrigley, Nestlé USA, Ferrero, Lindt, Ghirardelli, Russell Stover, and Ferrara Candy Company will work together to make half of their individually wrapped products available in sizes that contain 200 calories or less per pack. And, 90 percent of the best-selling treats made by these companies will have calorie information printed right on the front of the pack. During the same time period, the newly established AlwaysATreat.com will evolve into a digital resource full of easy-to-use information for consumers to better understand the unique role that chocolate and candy can play in a happy, balanced lifestyle. Learn more at AlwaysATreat.com. **

CORRECTION: A previous version of this POLITICO Influence misspelled Meguire Whitney.

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