PIF hires Brownstein – POLITICO

PIF hires Brownstein – POLITICO

With help from Tanya Snyder and Daniel Lippman

PIF HIRES BROWNSTEIN: The heads of Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund have tapped Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck for help getting ready for next month’s Senate hearing probing the fund’s deal to partner with the PGA Tour, in the latest example of the parties adding political muscle amid the scrutiny.

— Brownstein has worked for Riyadh since 2016, and notably stuck with the kingdom following the 2018 murder of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi — which the Biden administration has since concluded was approved by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman — and which sparked a small exodus of the kingdom’s hired guns in Washington.

— The firm’s latest Saudi client, its Public Investment Fund, is overseen by a top ally of the crown prince, and bankrolled the upstart LIV Golf league and its bitter feud with the PGA Tour before this month’s shocking reversal, according to documents filed with the Justice Department.

— The two sides have yet to reach a formal agreement, according to the filings, which note that “the non verbal agreement between the parties is to begin advocacy work on behalf of the Public Investment Fund at no cost until a signed contract and fees are agreed upon.”

— Former Alaska Sen. Mark Begich, former diplomat Samantha Carl-Yoder and a crew of former Hill aides including Nadeam Elshami, a former aide to House Speaker Emerita Nancy Pelosi who now co-leads Brownstein’s D.C. office; Greta Joynes, who worked for former Rep. John Shimkus; Andrew Usyk, who worked for Sens. Bob Casey (D-Pa.) and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), will provide PIF with “education and advocacy” before the federal government involving PIF transactions, the latest of which being its multi-billion dollar investment in a joint venture with LIV, PGA and its European counterpart, the DP World Tour.

— Veteran Republican lobbyist Marc Lampkin, who hosted a big K Street fundraiser last week for Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ presidential campaign, is also working on the account, as is longtime Democratic lobbyist Al Mottur according to DOJ filings.

— The hire is the latest sign that parties to the burgeoning golf alliance are gearing up to defend the deal in Washington, where it has inspired a rare moment of bipartisan anger and faces scrutiny on a number of fronts — the most pressing of which is a Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations hearing on July 11 at which lawmakers have asked executives from PGA, LIV and PIF to testify.

— Ahead of the hearing, the PGA Tour sent its first tranche of documents to the Senate panel last night, providing lawmakers with their first look at the framework agreement and other communications between the Tour and PIF that the two sides say will form the basis of the new joint venture.

— “Following the recent resolution of litigation, we’re working toward a definitive agreement,” the Tour said in a statement provided to PI, noting that any final agreement will still require approval by the PGA Tour’s full board, including player directors.

Happy Tuesday and welcome to PI. Send K Street tips: [email protected]. And be sure to follow me on Twitter: @caitlinoprysko.

WOOING THE NEW WAYS AND MEANS BOSS: Lobbyists working for the U.S. Virgin Islands are hosting new House Ways and Means Chair Jason Smith (R-Mo.) there this week as they push to preserve the territory’s unique tax treatment in the U.S., Benjamin Guggenheim writes in Morning Tax.

— Smith held a fundraiser last night in St. Thomas, and is set to participate in a roundtable discussion, cocktail reception and dinner in St. Croix tonight. “According to an introductory memo from the planning committee responsible for organizing the event, the organizers wish to secure Smith’s support for the U.S. territory’s unique revenue and tax needs, with a focus on promoting U.S. and international investment in the islands as an alternative to offshore jurisdictions that companies might otherwise consider for their business operations,” Benjamin writes.

— Among the trip’s organizers are Kevin Callwood and Steve Gordon, who work on behalf of the territory at the lobbying firm Total Spectrum. The firm reported $50,000 in lobbying revenues for the Virgin Islands during the first quarter of 2023 and a total of $170,000 in 2022, according to disclosures.

— “Other members of the planning committee include Ari Storch, a partner at the lobbying firm Madison Group, and Marjorie Rawls Roberts, a lawyer in the territory who, according to her biography, advises on opportunity zones and helps foreign-owned companies operating in the U.S. Virgin Islands claim territory-facilitated tax breaks.”

EUROPEAN AUTO GIANT LOBBIES UP: Global auto companies have been forced to get involved in Washington politics in recent years because of geopolitical changes in the last few years, said Patrick Koller, CEO of the global auto parts company Forvia, told James Bikales and Tanya this week during his first visit ever to Washington.

— The company has existing lobbying operations in China and Europe, but is only beginning to hire its first lobbyists in the U.S., Koller said, noting that tensions between the U.S. and China grew during the Trump administration, as well as tensions with Europe.

— Those tensions accelerated during the pandemic and everybody started talking about “sovereignty” because “we discovered how dependent we were on some other regions,” he said, and now, regions are trying to “invest in our strengths and try to reduce our too-high dependencies.”

— In addition to adding lobbyists in the U.S., Forvia plans to join some of the U.S. trade associations that lobby on automotive issues — though he acknowledged that the interests of auto parts suppliers overlap in some places with other parts of the auto industry, but not always.

— He said that business contracts trump the law in the U.S., “and when you’re in an industry where your customers are powerful, it’s difficult,” he said. “We have to find ways to deal with this in order to reduce the dominant position of OEMs.”

FLYING IN: AdvaMed is bringing executives from its members in the medical tech industry to Washington this week to meet with Hill staff and officials from the Biden administration. The trade group will advocate for regulatory reforms for diagnostics, transitional coverage for emerging technologies and policies to reinforce the supply chain.

EMMER HUDDLES WITH DEFENSE LOBBYISTS: “A top House GOP lawmaker is asking defense industry executives and lobbyists to help leadership sell rank-and-file Republicans the Pentagon policy bill,” five people with knowledge of a recent meeting tell our Lee Hudson, Connor O’Brien and Joe Gould.

— “On June 15, House Majority Whip Tom Emmer (R-Minn.) called a meeting with a large contingent of defense industry executives and lobbyists, as he seeks to corral Republican votes for the fiscal 2024 National Defense Authorization Act. Five people who attended the briefing were granted anonymity to freely discuss the closed-door meeting.”

— The meeting’s premise was “to go over procedural items such as the new process lawmakers will use to submit amendments and electronic voting, two lobbyists who attended the meeting said. Attendees included executives from large defense contractors Boeing, General Dynamics, Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, Raytheon Technologies, and lobbyists who represent multiple companies.”

— But Emmer “also used the briefing to tamp down hopes of a supplemental, echoing what Speaker Kevin McCarthy has said publicly” but which the defense industry has been wishing for due to defense spending caps agreed to as part of the bipartisan deal to raise the debt limit.

Cogent Strategies has added Taylor McCarty Hoover and Katie Sansone as vice presidents. McCarty Hoover was most recently communications director of the House Agriculture Committee and Sansone was most recently associate director of digital media and public policy at S&P Global and is a Will Hurd and John Curtis alum.

Lilly Gillespie has joined The RXN Group as a senior research analyst. She was previously a research analyst at Public Opinion Strategies.

Jack Long has joined the National Association of Wheat Growers as a government relations representative. He’s a recent graduate of Oklahoma State University.

John Carlson has joined the Clean Air Task Force as senior northeast regional policy manager. He was most recently a senior manager at Ceres.

Jennifer Wieroniey is now director of federal government affairs at Michelin. She was previously the executive director of the American Association of Settlement Consultants.

Gary Baise is rejoining Baise & Miller, the firm he helped launch in 1996.

John Noonan has joined Polaris National Security as a senior adviser. He is a former national security adviser to Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.).

Stephen Ferrara is now the president of the American Association of Nurse Practitioners, succeeding April Kapu, per Morning Pulse. He previously served as the executive director of the Nurse Practitioner Association New York State.

Brian Krebs is now senior vice president of paid media at Precision Strategies. He most recently was head of elections and advocacy at Flytedesk, a college campus media tech startup, and is a Rising Tide Interactive and DCCC alum.

Kathy Reding Bergren is joining Gevo Inc. as director of federal government relations. She most recently was director of public policy for renewable fuels at the National Corn Growers Association, and is a Hill alum.

Kate Warren Barnes will be vice president of policy and government relations at Jumpstart for Young Children. She most recently was director of government affairs at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.


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