Journalism bill continues to splinter interests

Journalism bill continues to splinter interests

TURNITIN IS OUT: Turnitin, the company behind a plagiarism detection service, is leaving the Software & Information Industry Association, alleging the group is being heavily influenced by large platforms, according to a letter obtained by POLITICO.

— In the letter dated July 10, Michael Fricklas, a top official at Turnitin’s parent company Advance, said it was ending its relationship with SIIA over the association’s opposition to the Journalism Competition and Preservation Act. The bill, which has received bipartisan support in Congress, would allow news publishers to jointly negotiate with platforms like Meta and Google for the use of their content.

— Fricklas alleged that the trade association’s president told him that SIIA opposed the bill because of “pressure from certain large platform companies — companies that have a direct financial interest in opposing” it, according to the letter. SIIA’s membership includes Meta and Google, both of which have opposed the bill.

— In the letter, Fricklas said he was unaware of discussions with the broader membership on the issue and argued that a significant segment of the membership would not support the use of their content for AI for free. Advance and Turnitin were exiting the association effective immediately, he wrote.

— “The platforms are spreading money around Washington because they know that advocacy in their own name isn’t as powerful as making it seem like many voices around Washington — including those that purport to represent the interests of content creators and copyright owners — agree with them,” Fricklas, who is chief legal officer and corporate secretary at Advance, wrote in the letter. “We do not need to be spending our money to amplify these wealthy, powerful, and monopolistic voices against the public interest as well as our own.”

— Advance also has a stake in the fight. Its subsidiaries include Condé Nast and American City Business Journals.

— In a statement, SIIA President Chris Mohr said the association represents more than 470 members. Although Turnitin was “a valued member” of the trade association, “Advance, a large private conglomerate whose holdings include Conde Nast, Reddit, and several newspapers on the other side of the JCPA, was never a member of SIIA.”

— “If Advance had been an SIIA member, we would have had a conflict and could not have taken a position on the JCPA,” Mohr wrote. “As a member organization we cannot allow non-member companies to dictate our positions.”

— A spokesperson for Advance said the company had no further comment. A spokesperson for Meta declined to comment.

Happy Wednesday, and welcome to PI! My name is Hailey Fuchs, and I’m taking the helm of the newsletter this week while Caitlin is away. Please send me all your lobbying tips to [email protected]. Follow me on the platform formerly known as Twitter @Hailey_Fuchs.

CARTER JOINS FORD: Capitol Hill veteran Jessica Carter has joined Ford as its new head of U.S. federal government affairs. With more than 25 years on the Hill, Carter was previously chief of staff for five members of Congress: Rep. Dan Newhouse (R-Wash.) and then-Reps. Francis Rooney (R-Fla.), Stephen Fincher (R-Tenn.), Steve Pearce (R-N.M.), and Richard Pombo (R-Calif.).

— Carter’s interest in Ford precedes her time with the automaker. She has fond memories of a trip to Mexico in a friend’s Bronco. After she got married, Carter told her husband that one of these days she would get herself a fixer-upper Bronco. For their fifth anniversary, he got her one delivered from California. Fifteen years later, they still have the orange car.

— “It’s an American company with a strong history,” Carter said. But in addition to the responsibilities of the job, she knew because of her love for her ’70s car, “I was like, I have to have this job.”

OPEN RECORDS PROPOSAL: “A ballot initiative likely to come before California voters next year would overhaul the state’s open records law, forcing unprecedented scrutiny into lobbying activities at the Capitol and ensuring sexual harassment allegations against lawmakers are public,” my colleagues Christopher Cadelago and Melanie Mason report.

— “The initiative, authored by a bare-knuckled and litigious consumer group, would amount to a vast rewrite of a law signed by then-Gov. Ronald Reagan in 1968 and for the first time make many private papers of lawmakers publicly accessible, according to a text of the proposal obtained by POLITICO.”

— ”The proposal, which is expected to be filed Wednesday, would affect nearly every aspect of California’s sprawling government and create a new minimum standard for how long records must be retained and archived.”

SHEIN DOUBLE DOWNS ON LOBBYING: “Amid scrutiny about possible forced labor in its supply chains, the fast-fashion retailer Shein more than doubled its lobbying spending last quarter. The company, known for advertising trendy, inexpensive clothing on social media apps like TikTok, spent $600,000 on federal lobbying during the second quarter of 2023, up from $230,000 during the first three months of the year,” Emily Kennard writes for OpenSecrets.

— “The jump in spending comes as congressional lawmakers have begun to probe the now Singapore-based company over its supply chains, which flow through China, where Shein was originally based. In February, lawmakers questioned Shein about whether it sourced cotton from the Xinjiang region, where the United Nations said it found evidence of coerced labor and other human rights abuses in an August 2022 report.”

— “Lawmakers also called on the company to increase transparency in its supply chains. A June interim report from the House Select Committee on the Chinese Communist Party claims Shein exploits import law loopholes to skirt tariffs and to avoid customs inspections, including for compliance with the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act of 2021, which banned imports coming from the Xinjiang region in China.”

Bahaa Seireg has joined the American Clean Power Association as senior director of energy storage. He was previously director of policy research at Clearloop.

Colton Hotary has joined LG as director of government affairs. Previously, he served as director of government affairs at Autos Drive America.

Bernard Fulton, Latoya Lovick, and Ryan Hecker are joining the National Multifamily Housing Council as vice president for housing policy and regulation, vice president of membership, and research assistant, respectively. Fulton was previously vice president for government relations at the Housing Policy Council.


Commonwealth Conservative Coalition (Super PAC)

State Action Fund PAC Inc. (Super PAC)

Resilient Majority PAC (Leadership PAC: Robert J. Menendez)

Mountaineer PAC (Leadership PAC: Riley Moore)

Old North Strategies, LLC: BESI

Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney Pc: Earthwalk Orthotics

Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld: Qnovia, Inc.

Venn Strategies: Compass Minerals Lithium Corp Of America Inc.

McGuireWoods Consulting (A Subsidiary Of McGuireWoods LLP): Paramount Tax & Accounting

Lone Star Consulting (FKA LS Consulting, LLC): La Salle County, Texas

Ridge Policy Group: INTAG Systems

FTI Government Affairs:

Social Current: Social Current

Peebles Kidder: Tuolumne Band Of Me-Wuk Indians

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