Lobbying & Politics

Kent Walker, Google general counsel

Google's Top Lawyer Says Digital-Evidence Law Needs 'Fundamental Realignment'

By C. Ryan Barber |

Since the dawn of the digital age, tech companies have grappled with the protection of privacy rights amid demands from foreign and domestic authorities seeking evidence for investigations. Those competing pressures have meant a tricky balancing act—but Google's top lawyer has some ideas for making it easier.

Representative Blaine Luetkemeyer (R-MO), speaking at the Financial Services Roundtable in Washington, D.C., on the subject of “Financial Regulation: What to Expect Next from the Trump Administration and Congress,” on June 21, 2017.

Trump and Cordray Are 'Two Bulls Circling Each Other,' GOP Lawmaker Says

By C. Ryan Barber |

Financial Services Roundtable hosted a regulatory reform panel Wednesday in Washington, where Covington & Burling partner John Dugan, Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer of the House Financial Services Committee, and others offered observations about what's happening, and what's next.

R. Alexander Acosta testifies before the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor & Pensions during his confirmation hearing to become the next Secretary of Labor at the U.S. Department of Labor. March 22, 2017.

Acosta Makes Apprenticeship Pitch to Manufacturing Trade Association

By Erin Mulvaney |

U.S. Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta on Wednesday promoted apprenticeship programs as key to closing the skills gap in a speech to a friendly audience of the National Association of Manufacturers, the powerful trade group that participated in many lawsuits against the U.S. Labor Department during the Obama administration.

CFPB Director Richard Cordray speaking at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s 11th Annual Capital Markets Summit: Financing American Business, in Washington, D.C. March 30, 2017.

Financial Lobby Groups Reject CFPB's Criticism of Deferred-Interest as 'Risky'

By C. Ryan Barber |

Top lobbying groups for the financial industry are pushing back against the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau as the regulator ratchets up pressure on credit products that can lure in customers with zero-interest terms but later surprise them with high charges.

Makan Delrahim.

DOJ Antitrust Nominee's Ethics Pledge Outlines Recusal Roadmap

By C. Ryan Barber |

The confirmation hearing of Makan Delrahim to lead the Justice Department's Antitrust Division—which was postponed from April 26—could be set as early as next week. The former Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck lawyer's ethics agreement, publicly disclosed this week, outlines a recusal roadmap.

Tech Giants, Carmakers Rev Up Lobbying on Autonomous Vehicles

By C. Ryan Barber |

Once a science-fiction fantasy, self-driving vehicles are the new frontier for the automobile industry—and tech giants, century-old automakers and upstart electric car manufacturers are all speeding toward it. That's meant shelling out big bucks to lobby shops to engage with regulators and policy officials. Here's a snapshot of some of the recent spending by top players in the industry.

How a Prepaid Card Company Emerged as a 'Major Opponent' to CFPB

By C. Ryan Barber |

Netspend and its parent company Total System Services have spent hundreds of thousands of dollars lobbying on prepaid card rules and other regulatory matters. The two companies are not backing down. Netspend is pushing the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau to delay its new rule, and on Capitol Hill, Total System Services is jumping into an effort, sponsored by Republican lawmakers, to tear up the new regulation.

Makan Delrahim listens to testimony during the confirmation hearing of judge Neil Gorsuch to replace the late Antonin Scalia at the U.S. Supreme Court.  March 20, 2017.

What to Know About Makan Delrahim, Trump's Antitrust Division Pick

By C. Ryan Barber |

Makan Delrahim, a former top lobbyist for tech and health care companies who now serves as a deputy White House counsel, is the Trump administration's pick to lead the U.S. Justice Department's Antitrust Division, a key post that would put him, and his front-office staff, in the spotlight of in-house legal departments looking to win approval for mergers and acquisitions.

U.S. Capitol.

Why Lit Funders Didn't Lobby to Stop Class Action Bill

By Ben Hancock |

The bill approved Thursday by the House of Representatives would mandate disclosure of third-party financing in class actions. The industry was nowhere to be seen.

Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich, now a Senior Advisor at Dentons, speaking during a panel discussion titled “Drain the Swamp? Regulatory Reform Under President Trump,” held at the Washington, D.C. offices of Covington & Burling, on Wednesday, December 14, 2016.

Gingrich's View: Trump Will Smash the Washington Bureaucracy

By C. Ryan Barber |

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, now a Dentons senior adviser, won't be serving in President-elect Donald Trump's cabinet, but he's following the nominations closely. He sees a pair of retired four-star generals filling out top posts at the U.S. Defense and Homeland Security departments, an Alabama senator becoming U.S. attorney general and a neurosurgeon heading up the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. What Gingrich doesn't see is a lot of lawyers—and he doesn't see the incoming administration getting along with career employees.

Orlando police officers direct family members away from a fatal shooting at Pulse Orlando nightclub in Orlando, Fla., Sunday, June 12, 2016.

Post-Sandy Hook Gun Laws to Reach Justices Days After Orlando Shooting

By Marcia Coyle |

With the worst mass shooting in American history in the background, the U.S. Supreme Court on June 16 will take its first look at a challenge to Connecticut's ban on military-style firearms. But as past actions show, the justices may have little interest in revisiting Second Amendment disputes, including the regulation of the AR-15-style weapon reportedly used in the Orlando shootings that killed at least 50 people at a night club.

Spencer Abraham.

Spencer Abraham at Blank Rome Boosts Firm's Post-Dickstein Shapiro Washington Network

By Katelyn Polantz |

Blank Rome's investment in Dickstein Shapiro attorneys this year helped Spencer Abraham, a former U.S. senator and Energy secretary, understand the firm's approach to Washington. Abraham and his long-time colleague Joseph McMonigle will be principals at Blank Rome Government Relations.

Squire Patton Boggs offices in Washington, D.C.

The Am Law 100: Squire Patton Boggs Looks Beyond Washington For Revenue Growth

By Katelyn Polantz |

While profitability dropped, Squire Patton Boggs didn’t let up on revenue and personnel growth in 2015. Gross revenue hit a high of $929 million, a 6.7 percent increase from the year before.

The Rotunda at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C.

For Lobbyists, a Busy Congress Means a Boom Year, But Squire Patton Sees Revenue Drop

By Katelyn Polantz |

The lobbying numbers are in, and the fears of Squire Patton Boggs are confirmed. Although every other law firm lobbying group among the largest in Washington saw their revenues rise in 2015, the legacy firm of the late Thomas Hale Boggs Jr. did not. Its year-end total dropped 20 percent. Squire Patton Boggs—whose Washington lobbying department has faced dozens of departures since 2013—is now the third-largest lobbying organization in Washington, behind Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld and Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck.

Senator Kay Hagan (D-North Carolina)

Kay Hagan, Former N.C. Senator, Joins Akin Gump

By Katelyn Polantz |

Former Sen. Kay Hagan, a Democrat from North Carolina who lost her re-election bid in 2014 then remained unaffiliated with private-practice Washington, has joined Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld as a senior policy consultant, the firm announced Monday.

People wait outside the U.S. Supreme Court the week a decision in the same-sex marriage case Obergefell v Hodges is expected. June 22, 2015. Photo by Diego M. Radzinschi/THE NATIONAL LAW JOURNAL.

Morning Wrap: Supreme Court Highlights | The Year in D.C. Big Law

By Mike Scarcella |

Reflections on 2015: U.S. Supreme Court, Big Law, Judicial Misconduct, Congress. Also: Judge Harry Pregerson of the Ninth Circuit looks back at his career. And Justice Stephen Breyer, in a rare Sunday TV appearance, talks shop. This is a roundup from NLJ and other publications.

<b>UPS AND DOWNS:</b> The embattled Dickstein Shapiro started the year with a renewed spirit but suffered blows along the way—including the departure in July of one of the firm’s biggest earners.

Lobbying, Litigators and Laterals: The Year in Legal Business

By Katelyn Polantz |

With sustained and modest fiscal stability across the legal industry last year, 2015 created a clean palette for many of D.C.'s largest law firms. Some redesigned their Washington-focused practices like lobbying and white-collar law, many added or lost groups of lawyers, and a few considered or closed on mergers. We look at the 10 top trends and business decisions that created buzz in Washington Big Law this year, from Dentons to Dennis Hastert.

Thomas Milch.

Arnold & Porter Attempts to Reinvent Public Policy Group With New Hires

By Katelyn Polantz |

Arnold & Porter's most recent news looked a little out of the ordinary: The firm hired a group of 11 public policy specialists from Squire Patton Boggs. The firm decided months ago it needed more legislative weight, especially to complement its large health care regulatory practice. "We have decided that we needed to invest further in public policy in the health care space but also beyond the health care space," Thomas Milch, Arnold & Porter's chairman, told The National Law Journal this week. "The opportunity [to hire the Squire Patton Boggs group] presented itself unexpectedly a little bit, but not the subject matter. We had actually given it some thought," Milch said.

Squire Patton Boggs offices in Washington, D.C.

Two More Top Lobbyists to Leave Squire Patton Boggs

By Katelyn Polantz |

Lobbyist Kevin O'Neill, one of the highest-ranking legacy Patton Boggs partners at Squire Patton Boggs, will leave the firm along with two more of the firm's highest-profile lobbyists. The departures, like dozens over the past three years, highlight how few of the old Patton Boggs has stuck with the global firm as it attempts to rebuild its lobbying capabilities. Arnold & Porter snagged the trio of lobbyists.

<b>SHAKE:</b> Dentons’ Newt Gingrich, the former House speaker, greets Sen. John Thune.

The Influence 50: NLJ's Annual Lobbying Ranking

By Katelyn Polantz |

The NLJ's annual Influence 50 ranking attempts to capture the third dimension of lobbying: the part of the practice that's never publicly reported. Four law firms said they took in $100 million or more for public-policy work—Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld; K&L Gates; Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr; and Atlanta-based firm King & Spalding, which reported the most public-policy business in 2014.

U.S. Capitol

In Pursuit of Washington's 'Perfect Four' for Lobbying

By Katelyn Polantz |

Few of Washington's large lobbying groups achieve perfect harmony in the demographics of their Honorables. The perfect harmony is the ultimate of Washington: between House and Senate, between Republicans and Democrats. The 26 firms with public policy groups worth $15 million or more last year employed 51 former members of Congress, according to The National Law Journal's annual Influence 50 survey.

Kevin McCarthy.

Speaker Transition Doesn't Put K Street Off-Kilter

By Katelyn Polantz |

It's steady as she goes around K Street despite the surprise resignation of House Speaker John Boehner from Congress. Several lobbyists and law firm leaders Friday afternoon indicated they're already thinking through a transition of power to Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy. Others said they felt unaffected by leadership turmoil.

How Large Are the Public-Policy Practices Within Law Firms?

By Katelyn Polantz |

One of the most surprising results of this year's National Law Journal Influence 50 lobbying survey was the number of law firms that counted almost $100 million or more in revenue from work intended to influence federal policy.

Mary Landrieu.

Ex-Sen. Mary Landrieu Takes Energy Background to Van Ness Feldman

By Mike Sacks |

Former Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-Louisiana, joins Washington-based law and lobby shop Van Ness Feldman as a senior policy adviser, the firm announced Tuesday. Landrieu will focus on energy, environmental matters and natural resources.

Venable Becomes Latest Firm to Start State AG Practice

By Katelyn Polantz |

Another law firm with a large lobbying arm has decided to build muscle advocating in state governments. Venable said Tuesday it had hired Kevin Turner, the Alabama attorney general’s top legal adviser, for a new state attorney general practice. Several firms this year have expanded lobbying and litigation departments to specialize in state AG work.

Tom Daschle.

Daschle to Register With DOJ as Lobbyist for Foreign Client

By Katelyn Polantz |

Former Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle, who started a public policy practice at Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell & Berkowitz last year, said he will register with the federal government as a lobbyist for the first time in his career.

Mayer Brown offices in Washington.

Fees Denied To Firm in Lobby Suit

By Zoe Tillman |

Lobbyists who sued the Obama administration over its ban on lobbyists serving on federal agency advisory committees are not entitled to legal fees, a federal judge in Washington ruled this week.

Demonstration of the DJI Inspire 1 drone in flight recording video during the Small UAV Coalition Tech Fair, held at the National Press Club on Tuesday, January 20, 2015.

Amazon and Google Drone Lobbying Group Seeks FAA Rules

By Andrew Ramonas |

As the U.S. government drafts rules for the use of commercial drones, Amazon.com Inc., Google Inc. and other backers of the unmanned aircraft are working to ensure they are on the radar of federal lawmakers and regulators.

Jim Moran.

Former Rep. Jim Moran Plans to Bring Appropriations Lobbying to McDermott

By Katelyn Polantz |

Former Rep. Jim Moran of Virginia is joining McDermott Will & Emery, according to two people familiar with the hire. Moran’s announcement, likely to come in February, is another of the early movements of former members joining lobbying firms.

Lobbyist to Pay $30K to Resolve Reporting Violations

By Andrew Ramonas |

A federal lobbyist in Alexandria, Va., will pay $30,000 to resolve claims that he failed to submit more than two dozen lobbying reports to Congress on time, according to a settlement agreement filed on Friday in Washington federal district court.

Robert McDonnell.  July 9, 2013.

Judge Orders Former Va. Governor Jailed During Appeal

By Zoe Tillman |

A federal judge in Virginia has rejected Bob McDonnell's bid to remain free while he appeals his conviction. McDonnell, the former Virginia governor, was sentenced to two years in prison on corruption charges.

Peter Shields.

Wiley Rein Says It Will Close on Lobbying Acquisition This Year

By Katelyn Polantz |

Wiley Rein said Friday afternoon it planned to acquire all of McBee Strategic Consulting, a lobby shop recently deserted by its founder for a job leading a New Jersey-based energy company. The acquisition isn’t yet a done deal. A number of McBee employees continue to interview for jobs with other lobby shops.

U.S. Department of Justice.

Watchdog’s Foreign Lobbying Audit Finds ‘Lax Enforcement’

By Andrew Ramonas |

U.S. lobbyists representing foreign governments don't have much reason to fear the U.S. Department of Justice if they skirt a federal law requiring them to report certain details about their advocacy, according to a report a watchdog group released Tuesday.

Corporate Lobbyists Target Taxes, ACA

By Katelyn Polantz, Jenna Greene and Andrew Ramonas |

Even before voters went to the polls, the chances the elections would produce a Republican-controlled Congress inspired optimism among Washington's top lobbyists, who saw opportunities to negotiate tax, health care and budget policy issues.

Ethics Complaint Against Dickstein Shapiro Alleges Illegal Lobbying

By Katelyn Polantz |

Partners at Dickstein Shapiro didn’t register to lobby Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi despite meeting with, calling and emailing her and her staff, according to an ethics complaint filed in the state on Friday.

<b>ED MARKEY:</b> The Massachusetts senator took more than $71,000 from Akin Gump and nearly $74,000 from DLA Piper.

Power Players Benefit by Law Firm Contributions

By Katelyn Polantz |

Law firms, lobbyists prefer safe bets when making political contributions.

James Clyburn.

Two U.S. Reps. Defeat Subpoenas in Shirley Sherrod Defamation Case

By Zoe Tillman |

Reps. Sanford Bishop, D-Ga., and James Clyburn, D-S.C., won’t have to testify in Shirley Sherrod’s defamation case against the late conservative blogger Andrew Breitbart, a federal district judge in Washington ruled on Saturday.

John Roberts, Jr., 2000.

Roberts Considered Representing Clinton in Jones Supreme Court Case

By Tony Mauro |

John Roberts Jr., then in private practice, did not rule out representing President Bill Clinton before the U.S. Supreme Court in 1997 in the legal battle surrounding Paula Jones’ allegations of sexual harassment. Roberts’ cameo role was not known until the latest release of papers from Clinton’s presidency.

E. Barrett Prettyman Court House.

No Cameras for NSA Surveillance Case, D.C. Circuit Says

By Zoe Tillman |

No watching for the watched. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit on Monday denied a request to broadcast Nov. 4 oral arguments in a case challenging the scope of the National Security Agency’s surveillance program.

Jill and Scott Kelley photographed outside the U.S. Capitol.

Privacy Claim in Petraeus Scandal Lawsuit to Proceed

By Zoe Tillman |

A couple caught up in the sex scandal surrounding former CIA director David Petraeus can proceed with a privacy violation claim against the government, a federal judge in Washington ruled Monday.

The Hill Hot List

The Hill Hot List

Meet 10 lawyers on Capitol Hill who have played key roles in crafting prominent legislation and advocating positions on issues of national significance.

Tech Industry Tries Again on Surveillance Reform

By Andrew Ramonas |

With Congress back to work in Washington this week, the technology industry is pushing senators to pass legislation that would rein in National Security Agency surveillance and make its work more transparent.

<b>CONFLICTING RULINGS:</b> U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson, left, upheld the rule, but was reversed on appeal. Circuit Judge David Tatel cited the lobbyists'

Lobbyists Regain Seat At the Table

By Andrew Ramonas |

The Obama administration is poised to rescind at least a portion of a White House rule that bars lobbyists from serving on agency committees and boards, likely ending a court fight over the First Amendment.

Alan Hoffman.

Herbalife Hires Lobbyist With Deep Roots in Washington

By Andrew Ramonas |

Herbalife Ltd. has snagged PepsiCo Inc.'s top lobbyist, Alan Hoffman, to lead its government relations work as the nutritional supplements and personal care products company faces U.S. government scrutiny over its business structure and practices.

James Brady, left, and President Bill Clinton in 1993

Gun-Control Advocate James Brady Dies at 73

By Zoe Tillman |

Former White House Press Secretary James Brady Jr., who became an influential voice on Capitol Hill on gun-control issues after he was shot during the attempted assassination of President Ronald Reagan, has died at age 73.

Cadillac Exec Put in GM Lobbying Driver's Seat

By Andrew Ramonas |

General Motors Co. executive Robert Ferguson on Thursday returned to his old job as the chief lobbyist for the embattled automaker as it tries to ease anger in Washington, D.C., over its ignition-switch defect and ongoing recall crisis.

U.S. Rep. Kevin McCarthy, formerly the No. 3 Republican in the House, has ties to California’s energy and technology sectors. He was named Republican majority leader on June 19.

Lobbyists Closely Following House GOP Leadership Shakeup

By Andrew Ramonas |

Washington lawyers and lobbyists at K&L Gates, Squire Patton Boggs and other firms with ties to Rep. Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., are optimistic they will have his ear as he settles into his new role as House majority leader.

Patton Fugitives Finally Cleared to Join Jones Day

By Katelyn Polantz |

Another round of lateral moves away from Squire Patton Boggs became formal on Thursday, as health care partners who had signed with Jones Day received notice from Squire they’d be released this week and members of legacy firm Patton Boggs’ Alaska office announced they had moved to Holland & Knight.

Cantor's Defeat Ripples Through Lobbying Industry

By Todd Ruger and Andrew Ramonas |

The surprising primary defeat of House Majority Leader Eric Cantor on Tuesday will reverberate through Washington's lobbying industry, touching business advocates and lobbying shops with close ties to his office.

Senators Renew Push to Ban Ex-Members of Congress From Lobbying

By Andrew Ramonas |

Democratic Sens. Michael Bennet of Colorado and Jon Tester of Montana are trying again to limit the career options of members of Congress who leave office: no more lobbying.

General Motors CEO Mary Barra testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington before the House Energy and Commerce subcommittee on Oversight and Investigation.

GM Turns to Holland & Knight for Post-Recall Lobbying Push

By Andrew Ramonas |

General Motors Co. is revving up its charm offensive in Washington amid congressional scrutiny of the automaker's handling of an ignition-switch defect, turning to a leading law firm lobbying shop for help.

Jack Abramoff.

Jack Abramoff Fights Seizure of Tax Refunds

By Zoe Tillman |

Convicted ex-lobbyist Jack Abramoff is challenging the federal government’s seizure of nearly $450,000 in federal tax refunds.

W. Neil Eggleston

Eggleston Picked For WH Counsel

By Todd Ruger |

For the first time since taking office, President Obama has looked outside his close circle of advisers to fill the top legal post at the White House.

W. Neil Eggleston

Eggleston Picked For WH Counsel

By Todd Ruger |

For the first time since taking office, President Obama has looked outside his close circle of advisers to fill the top legal post at the White House.

Patton Boggs, Washington, D.C.

Dentons Makes 'Serious Overture' to Patton Boggs, but is the Firm Listening?

By Katelyn Polantz |

Dentons said this week it has approached Patton Boggs for a possible merger at a time when the shrinking Washington firm and Squire Sanders say their merger talks continue. Why is there a disconnect between what one firm will say and what another won’t?

Cocoa beans

Nestlé USA Lobby Effort to Focus on Child Labor

By Andrew Ramonas |

As holiday shoppers eye chocolate bunnies and other sweets this week, a former top lobbyist for Nestlé USA Inc. is focusing her attention on an agreement the candy company signed to reduce child labor in the cocoa industry.

Hogan Lovells' Warren Maruyama

Privacy and Trade Group Focused on Cross-Border Data Flow

By Andrew Ramonas |

As scrutiny increases regarding the movement and security of data across borders, a business group Hogan Lovells created last year to promote privacy and free trade has deployed former senior lawyers from the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative and International Business Machines Corp. to lobby for it in Washington, D.C.

Tobacco Lobby Targets Trans-Pacific, Trans-Atlantic Pacts

By Andrew Ramonas |

As the United States continues negotiations on the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), tobacco giant Philip Morris International Management SA has turned to former Rep. Bill Paxon, R-N.Y., and other Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld lobbyists for help.

Ed Pagano of Akin Gump.

White House Adviser Joins Akin Gump

By Todd Ruger |

Former White House advisor Ed Pagano has joined Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld, where he said he will lobby Congress on issues such as immigration and patent reform.

E-cigarette Industry Fires Up Lobbying Effort

By Andrew Ramonas |

With federal officials eying regulations for electronic cigarettes, a major trade group for the e-cigarette industry has registered its first lobbyists in Washington, D.C.

U.S. Capitol.

Comcast Adds Two Antitrust Lobbyists Ahead of Merger Hearing

By Todd Ruger |

Comcast Corp. has added two top former Capitol Hill antitrust counsels to its lobbying group ahead of a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing next month on the company's plan to merge with Time Warner Cable.

U.S. Capitol.

Comcast Adds Two Antitrust Lobbyists Ahead of Merger Hearing

By Todd Ruger |

Comcast Corp. has added two top former Capitol Hill antitrust counsels to its lobbying group ahead of a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing next month on the company's plan to merge with Time Warner Cable.

U.S. Capitol.

Lobbying Firm Faces Fine up to $5.2 Million

By Andrew Ramonas |

An Alexandria, Va., firm and its owner face a fine of up to $5.2 million for allegedly failing to submit more than two dozen lobbying reports to Congress on time, according to a civil complaint the U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of Columbia filed.

Linked In

LinkedIn Adds In-House Lobbyist to Its Network

By Andrew Ramonas |

Pablo Chavez, a top Google Inc. official in Washington, D.C., is clicking over to LinkedIn Corp. Jan. 28 to serve as the social networking website's first in-house lobbyist in the nation's capital.

D.C. Circuit Revives Lobbyists' Fight Over Obama Ban

By Jenna Greene |

A federal appeals court opened the door for registered lobbyists to serve on agency boards and commissions, contravening President Barack Obama's 2010 order banning lobbyists from such positions.

Looking for a Lobbyist: Here are 250 New Candidates

By Andrew Ramonas |

Companies looking for a former member of Congress or an ex-congressional staffer to lobby on Capitol Hill have a new list of hundreds of potential candidates to review.